Proposals to Strengthen the NPT: Resource Guide for the 2010 Review Conference

For immediate release: March 30, 2010

Media contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, (202) 463-8270 x107; Peter Crail, Nonproliferation Analyst, (202) 463-8270 x102; Cole Harvey, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (202) 842-3100 x309

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the nonpartisan research and policy advocacy organization Arms Control Association (ACA) released a detailed study of major government and nongovernmental proposals designed to bolster the 40-year old nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

In just over one month, more than 100 states parties to the NPT will gather at the United Nations in New York for a pivotal, once-every-five-year review conference at which they will consider and debate measures to update the treaty.

The report was written by former Herbert Scoville Peace Fellow Cole Harvey with support from the ACA research staff. It is now available online from Copies of the report will be made available tomorrow at a joint ACA-Carnegie Endowment for International Peace briefing on the NPT Review Conference featuring the Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation, Ambassador Susan Burk. See:

"A majority of NPT states support practical measures to update and strengthen the treaty to meet the evolving dangers posed by nuclear weapons and nonproliferation," said ACA executive director Daryl G. Kimball.

"The upcoming NPT review conference provides an important opportunity for responsible states to demonstrate the leadership and cooperation necessary to reaffirm the basic purpose of the treaty and to pledge their support for a package of proposals that would recognize past commitments and advance the treaty's core nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation, safeguards, and compliance goals," Kimball suggested.

  • The 75-page report, "Major Proposals to Strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty," outlines the major points of debate and proposals for moving forward in key areas including:
  • verification and safeguards;
  • the nuclear fuel cycle;
  • nuclear export controls and peaceful nuclear cooperation;
  • nuclear disarmament;
  • fissile material production and nuclear material security;
  • nuclear testing and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty;
  • assurances to nonnuclear weapon states against nuclear attack;
  • nuclear-weapon-free-zones;
  • treaty withdrawal and responses;
  • strategic nuclear weapons policy; and
  • universalizing the treaty.

The report also includes a detailed pictorial timeline reviewing the history of the NPT, as well as key treaty-related documents.

President Barack Obama's support for a comprehensive plan of action to reduce nuclear arsenals, permanently end nuclear testing, strengthen international safeguards, and penalize states that fail to comply with their obligations has rejuvenated hopes that the conference will come together around a package of proposals to strengthen the treaty.

However, friction over Iran's controversial nuclear activities and a lack of progress toward one NPT-related goal-the pursuit of a Middle East nuclear weapon free zone-threaten to overshadow the broad degree of support for the treaty, among other issues.

"U.S. support for steps toward a Middle East nuclear weapon free zone, such as the naming of a special envoy to convene states to discuss the matter, could help lead to agreement at the NPT conference," Kimball said.

"The study makes it clear that U.S. leadership by example is critical but not sufficient. Updating the successful NPT for its next 40 years requires strong leadership and action by other nuclear-armed states, as well as the nonnuclear weapons majority," said the report's author Cole Harvey, now a Research Associate with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Washington, D.C.

Additional ACA Resources on the NPT

Further analysis and perspectives on the NPT review conference are available through and ACA's monthly journal Arms Control Today.