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Nuclear Cooperation Agreements

Pressure Builds on Saudi Nuclear Accord

Lawmakers call for suspending talks on nuclear cooperation agreement following the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.


December 2018
By Shervin Taheran

In the wake of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi columnist for The Washington Post who was critical of the Saudi government, Democratic and Republican members of Congress called on President Donald Trump to suspend negotiations on a U.S.-Saudi civil nuclear cooperation agreement, especially because the kingdom is seemingly unwilling to accept a ban on uranium-enrichment and reprocessing capabilities.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shakes hands with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during an October 16 visit to Riyadh amid international outrage over the Saudi murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. The crown prince's alleged role in ordering the killing and his threat to have Saudi Arabia produce nuclear weapons if Iran does so pose new hurdles to concluding a long-delayed U.S.-Saudi civil nuclear cooperation agreement. (Photo: Leah Millis/AFP/Getty Images)Republican Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Todd Young (Ind.), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Rand Paul (Ky.), and Dean Heller (Nev.) wrote to Trump on Oct. 31 urging that he suspend negotiations on a cooperation accord, known as a 123 agreement, “for the foreseeable future.” They noted that their prior reservations, given Saudi unwillingness to accept the “gold standard” of no uranium enrichment or reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel, have been “solidified” in light of the Khashoggi murder, as well as “certain Saudi actions related to Yemen and Lebanon.”

Further, the senators threatened to advance a joint resolution of disapproval as provided for by the 1954 Atomic Energy Act, from which section 123 agreements gets the name, to block any such agreement.

On the same day, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) released his own letter calling on Trump not only to suspend the 123 agreement negotiations but also to revoke existing Saudi “Part 810” authorizations, which allow for the transfer of nuclear services, technology, and assistance, and to indefinitely suspend any further considerations of Part 810 authorizations for the kingdom.

Complicating matters, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who the U.S. intelligence community reportedly concluded was responsible for the Khashoggi killing, said earlier this year that Saudi Arabia would produce nuclear weapons if regional archrival Iran does so. (See ACT, April 2018.) For that, the Saudis likely would need uranium-enrichment and reprocessing capabilities.

A U.S. State Department official told Arms Control Today that the two governments “have been in negotiations on a 123 agreement since 2012,” but declined to comment on the substance of negotiations. The Energy Department did not respond to multiple requests for comment. (See ACT, January/February 2018.)

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is seeking to ensure Congress is able to keep any 123 agreement with Saudi Arabia at the highest nonproliferation standards. He has been working on legislation that would require positive action by Congress to approval a U.S.-Saudi 123 agreement, and a similar measure is being developed in the Senate.

Under the current process, the president submits a 123 agreement to Congress for automatic approval after 90 days unless Congress objects with a veto-proof majority. Sherman’s bill would require instead that Congress vote in favor of an agreement for it to be implemented. The legislation also would require any accord to include the gold standard provisions and increased inspections authorization for the International Atomic Energy Agency, as well as for the White House to produce reports on Saudi Arabia’s state of human rights and its investigations into the Khashoggi murder.

Trump has repeatedly stressed the importance of maintaining financial and diplomatic ties to the Saudis, but has not, at least recently, specifically addressed the potential civil nuclear cooperation agreement, which supporters say could be a boost to U.S. companies in the civilian nuclear energy field, such as bankrupt Westinghouse Electric Co. Complicating matters is the fact that Westinghouse was recently acquired by a Canadian asset management company, and Saudi Arabia has a recent edict prohibiting business with Canada as a result of Canadian criticism of Saudi human rights abuses.

Even if the United States does sign a 123 agreement, there is no guarantee the Saudis would go with U.S. companies. For example, the United Arab Emirates, after reaching an accord with the United States, still chose to go with a South Korean company for nuclear-reactor construction. But the agreement is useful to the UAE because it allows for easier transfer of sensitive technology and information.

In its accord, the UAE, the only other Arab nation in the Persian Gulf to have a 123 agreement with the United States, agreed to abide by the gold standard provisions. If the United States relaxes its standards for the Saudis, the UAE could seek to renegotiate a comparable easing of its 123 agreement.

China, France, Russia, South Korea, and the United States are currently vying to build two nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia, the first of what the Saudis have said could be as many as16 reactors in a multibillion-dollar program over 20 years.

Companies were supposed to be selected by this month, but South Korea said in July that the winner would likely be selected by the Saudis during 2019. That date could slip further in light of Khashoggi’s murder and U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s comments in September that the 123 agreement negotiations were going more slowly than desired. (See ACT, November 2018.)

Saudi Arabia’s state-run press agency announced on Nov. 6 that the crown prince had “laid the foundation stone” for several strategic projects, including Saudi Arabia’s first nuclear research reactor. Although not providing details about the construction timing, purpose, or cost of the “low-energy” research reactor, the statement marked an important milestone as the oil-dependent kingdom aims to diversify its energy mix.

Posted: December 1, 2018

High Standards at Issue for Saudi Nuclear Pact

High Standards at Issue for Saudi Nuclear Pact

 

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry told reporters Sept. 26 that negotiations between Saudi Arabia and the United States on a civil nuclear cooperation agreement have slowed but are continuing. More recently, the diplomatic repercussions from the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi may impact U.S. policy and the complicate the ambitions of companies such as Westinghouse Electric for a U.S. role building nuclear power plants in the kingdom. State Department officials have said that the administration is pressing Saudi Arabia to commit to forgoing the ability to make nuclear fuel and to ratify stricter verification under the International Atomic Energy Agency’s additional protocol. The United Arab Emirates committed to this so-called gold standard in 2009 to obtain its civil nuclear pact with Washington. Perry, who is leading negotiations with Saudi Arabia, has not been so firm in his public statements, and Saudi Arabia has resisted these restrictions. (See ACT, April 2018.). Members of Congress continue to encourage the strictest standards for any agreement with Saudi Arabia, including pushing State Department officials on this issue at a Sept. 18 hearing, and have pressed for a floor vote on a bipartisan-approved Senate Foreign Relations Committee resolution calling for the “gold standard.” (See ACT, September 2018.)—SHERVIN TAHERAN

Posted: November 1, 2018

U.S., Japan Extend Nuclear Agreement

U.S., Japan Extend Nuclear Agreement


The United States and Japan automatically extended a 1988 civilian nuclear pact on July 17 as Japanese officials pledged to address concerns about Japan’s substantial plutonium stockpile. The agreement allowed either side to request a review of the deal, but neither side chose to do so. Under its terms, the pact remains in force in perpetuity but each side, if it chooses, is able to terminate the agreement by giving six months’ written notice. Japan’s civilian nuclear cooperation agreement, known as a 123 agreement setting U.S. terms for sharing nuclear energy technology, is unique and controversial due to the blanket consent that it provides Tokyo to enrich uranium and extract plutonium from U.S.-origin spent nuclear fuel. Enrichment and reprocessing activities are considered sensitive because they can be used to make fuel for power reactors and produce the explosive material for nuclear weapons.

Japan had more than 47 tons of plutonium as of 2016, enough to produce around 6,000 nuclear warheads. Ten tons of this material are stored in Japan while the remainder is held in France and the United Kingdom. Critics fear that these materials could be used to build nuclear weapons, thereby granting Japan a latent nuclear weapons capability. The Nikkei Asian Review reported that prior to the pact’s extension, the United States demanded Japan make efforts to reduce the stockpile. On July 31, Japan’s nuclear energy commission adopted a guideline to cap plutonium production and eventually reduce the stockpile, but it provided no timeline or specifics on a plan to do so.—MONICA MONTGOMERY

Posted: September 1, 2018

U.S.-Saudi Talks Begin on Nuclear Pact

Will the administration prioritize jobs or measures to prevent nuclear proliferation?


April 2018
By Kingston Reif

As the Trump administration begins negotiating a nuclear cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia, a growing number of lawmakers are expressing concerns that the administration is not seeking sufficiently strong nonproliferation safeguards.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry led an interagency delegation to London in late February to discuss a pact, known as a 123 agreement, with a Saudi delegation led by Saudi Arabian Minister of Energy and Industry Khalid Bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih.

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry reviews a carbon management accord with Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih during a December 4, 2017 visit to Riyadh.  (Photo: FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)A 123 agreement, named after the section of the 1954 Atomic Energy Act that requires it, sets the terms for sharing U.S. peaceful nuclear energy technology, equipment, and materials with other countries.

The Trump administration has not commented on the status of the talks, and no agreement was announced during the visit to Washington last month by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

Saudi Arabia says that it is seeking nuclear power for peaceful purposes to diversify its energy sources. Yet, Prince Mohammed raised concerns about the kingdom’s intentions by stating in a March 15 interview with CBS News that Saudi Arabia will quickly follow suit if Iran acquires nuclear weapons.

Saudi Arabia has ambitious plans for nuclear power, but currently has no nuclear power plants. The kingdom plans to construct 16 nuclear power reactors over the next 20 to 25 years at a cost of more than $80 billion, according to the World Nuclear Association. It has solicited bids for the first two reactors and hopes to sign contracts by the end of this year.

A key issue in the negotiations is whether the United States will insist that Saudi Arabia agree to forgo uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing as part of a 123 agreement. (See ACT, January/February 2018.) These activities are considered sensitive because they
can be used to make fuel for nuclear power reactors and produce nuclear explosive material.

In testimony at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on March 22, Perry refused to say whether the United States was pushing such a prohibition. But he warned that if Washington does not sign an agreement with Riyadh, then Russia and China would be chosen instead and would demand less stringent nonproliferation and security standards than the United States.

To date, Saudi Arabia has resisted a ban and suggested that it seeks to make its own fuel. Al-Falih told Reuters in a March 22 interview that “it’s not natural for us to bring enriched uranium from a foreign country to fuel our reactors.” Saudi Arabian officials say the country has natural uranium deposits to mine while critics say it is more practical and economic to import uranium enriched for civil power reactors.

Opposition to an agreement that does not block Saudi fuel-making appears to be mounting.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told U.S. President Donald Trump in a March 5 meeting at the White House that the United States should insist on a Saudi commitment not to enrich and reprocess.

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, told Perry at the March 22 hearing that he “and many others" would oppose a nuclear deal with Saudi Arabia that does not include a fuel-making ban. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) expressed a similar view at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on March 21 on the implications of nuclear cooperation with Riyadh.

“The idea of Saudi Arabia having a nuclear program with the ability to enrich is a major national security concern,” she said. “Unfortunately from the little we do know from the administration, it is looking at this deal in terms of economics and in terms of commerce, and national security implications only register as a minor issue if at all.”

Ros-Lehtinen and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) introduced legislation March 21 that would strengthen congressional oversight by requiring that lawmakers vote to approve any agreement that does not include a legally binding prohibition on enrichment and reprocessing.

Under current law, most nuclear cooperation agreements can enter into force after 90 days of so-called continuous session unless Congress enacts legislation blocking the pact.

Posted: April 1, 2018

U.S.-Saudi Nuke Pact Talks to Begin

The Trump administration is poised to begin negotiating a nuclear cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia amid concerns of some lawmakers about whether the administration will seek sufficiently strong nonproliferation safeguards.

January/February 2018
By Kingston Reif

The Trump administration is poised to begin negotiating a nuclear cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia amid concerns of some lawmakers about whether the administration will seek sufficiently strong nonproliferation safeguards.

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry (L) and Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih (R) shake hands after a signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding on carbon management, on December 4, 2017 in Riyadh. (Photo: FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)During a visit to Saudi Arabia in early December, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said that formal talks will begin soon on a civilian nuclear pact, known as a 123 agreement. Such an agreement, named after the section of the 1954 Atomic Energy Act that requires it, sets the terms for sharing U.S. peaceful nuclear energy technology, equipment, and materials with other countries.

In a Dec. 13 briefing for Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff members, officials from the State and Energy departments said that the administration has yet to determine whether it will insist that Saudi Arabia agree to forgo uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing should talks begin, according to a Reuters report. These activities are considered sensitive because they can be used to make fuel for nuclear power reactors and produce nuclear explosive material.

Saudi Arabia has ambitious plans for nuclear power, but currently has no nuclear power plants. The kingdom plans to construct 16 nuclear power reactors over the next 20 to 25 years at a cost of more than $80 billion, according to the World Nuclear Association.

On Nov. 28, Christopher Ford, then-special assistant to the president and senior director for weapons of mass destruction and counterproliferation on the National Security Council staff, told the committee in testimony that a ban on enrichment and reprocessing in an agreement with Saudi Arabia “is not a legal requirement, it is a desired outcome.” He said the preliminary talks with the Saudis on a nuclear deal had begun but that he could not provide details in public.

Ford was confirmed by the Senate in December as assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation.

Supporters of a ban on enrichment and reprocessing say that such an approach is critical to nonproliferation efforts and that the United States should demonstrate leadership in this area. They note that the Middle East is an unstable region and some current and former Saudi officials and members of the royal family have warned of matching Iran’s nuclear capability.

Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said at the Nov. 28 hearing that a 123 agreement with Saudi Arabia should include the same nonproliferation standards as those contained in the agreement the United States negotiated with the United Arab Emirates in 2009.

In that agreement, the UAE made a legally binding commitment not to pursue an indigenous enrichment or reprocessing program. (See ACT, June 2009.) “[I]f we don't draw a line in the Middle East,” Cardin said, “it's going to be all-out proliferation.”

An aide to Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) told Arms Control Today that “if the Trump administration is negotiating a 123 agreement with Saudi Arabia, Congress must be notified and involved.” “We should not compromise on important nonproliferation controls before even being asked to do so in an attempt to conclude an agreement that could enable commercial cooperation,” the aide added.

Opponents of a ban on enrichment and reprocessing argue that such a policy would likely be unacceptable to Riyadh, stymie prospects for U.S. companies to sell nuclear goods, and drive potential buyers to nuclear supplier countries such as France and Russia, which have less rigorous nonproliferation requirements than the United States.

President Donald Trump has pledged to revitalize the U.S. nuclear industry by allowing it to better compete with other supplier countries. The administration is currently conducting a review of U.S. policy toward civil nuclear power.

After the Indian nuclear test explosion in 1974, Congress amended the Atomic Energy Act in 1978 to mandate that nuclear cooperation agreements include tougher bulwarks to prevent U.S. nuclear assistance from being diverted to military uses. The amendment put in place nine provisions, including the requirement that recipients of U.S. civil nuclear cooperation have in place full-scope international safeguards and may not conduct activities such as uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing unless Washington first consents. The Atomic Energy Act has not been updated since 1978.

In a May 2008 memorandum of understanding with the United States on nuclear energy cooperation, Saudi Arabia committed “to rely on international markets for nuclear fuel and to not pursue sensitive nuclear technologies.” The Obama administration beginning in 2012 engaged in periodic talks with Riyadh on a 123 agreement, but was unable to strike a deal, in part due to Saudi Arabia’s unwillingness to stick to that 2008 pledge.

Saudi Arabia ratified the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1988 and concluded a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 2009. But Riyadh has neither signed nor ratified an additional protocol, which provides the IAEA with expanded rights of access to nuclear information and locations.

The United States has not in recent years negotiated a 123 agreement with a state that had not signed an additional protocol.

Posted: January 10, 2018

Mapping Nuclear Security and Nonproliferation Efforts

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This new resource aims to inform policymakers, scholars, and the general public on the role that overlapping multilateral initiatives play in nonproliferation efforts.

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New Online Resource Maps Efforts to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and Curb the Spread of Nuclear Weapons

For Immediate Release: December 6, 2016

Media Contacts: Tony Fleming, director of communications, 202-463-8270 ext. 110

(Washington, DC)—The Arms Control Association today launched a new online resource in mapping and tracking the objectives and key activities of five major nuclear nonproliferation regimes.

The Nuclear Nonproliferation Initiatives Mapping Project aims to inform and update nuclear policy experts, scholars, students, and the general public, on the role that overlapping multilateral initiatives play in bolstering the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) by securing weapons-usable materials, regulating the spread of dual-use nuclear ballistic missile technologies, and blocking the illicit transfer of weapons-related items.

The Arms Control Association is launching a New Online Resource Maps Efforts to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and Curb the Spread of Nuclear WeaponsProject information and resources are available online at NuclearNonProMap.org
 
The five initiatives examined in this project include

  • the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism,
  • the Missile Technology Control Regime,
  • the Nuclear Suppliers Group,
  • the Proliferation Security Initiative, and
  • the G7 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

"Each of these initiatives plays a critical role in reinforcing governments' efforts under the NPT, which entered into force in 1970, to combat the threat of nuclear terrorism, prevent the rise of new nuclear-armed actors, and strengthening the global nuclear security architecture," noted Kelsey Davenport, director of non-proliferation policy, who developed the site. 

In addition to displaying the geographic scope and providing a brief background of each initiative, this project provides general recommendations that could improve the effectiveness of each in the years ahead. These recommendations are based on open source information about the work of each initiative.

The project also presents options for collaboration amongst these voluntary groups to amplify impacts and results. These recommendations are meant to spur creative thinking about how these voluntary initiatives can adapt and evolve to better address future threats and challenges.
 
By consolidating references and recommendations, the project serves as a resource to better understand the role that voluntary intergovernmental initiatives play in bolstering nonproliferation and nuclear security efforts. The project was made possible by the generous support of the MacArthur Foundation.

The site will be updated periodically to reflect the changing membership and priorities of each initiative, developments related to the challenges they address, as well as additional recommendations for strengthening multilateral efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and combat nuclear terrorism.

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The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

Author:

Posted: December 2, 2016

The Nuclear Nonproliferation Initiatives Mapping Project

Visit the full Project site at NuclearNonProMap.org

Table of Contents

Posted: November 21, 2016

Progress on Nuclear Disarmament, Nonproliferation Inadequate to Meet Threats, New Study Finds

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A new study suggests that President Obama, failed to make progress in key nuclear disarmament areas during his second term.

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For Immediate Release: July 15, 2016

Media Contacts: Tony Fleming, communications director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 110; Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 107

(Washington, D.C.)—President Barack Obama failed to make progress in key nuclear disarmament areas over the course of his second term, but did achieve important steps to improve nuclear materials security and strengthen nonproliferation norms, namely the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, according to a new study released by the Arms Control Association, which evaluates the recent records of all the world’s nuclear-armed states.

The report, "Assessing Progress on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament, 2013-2016," is the third in a series that measures the performance of 11 key states in 10 universally-recognized nonproliferation, disarmament, and nuclear security categories over the past three years. The study evaluated the records of China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, India, Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea—each of which possess nuclear weapons—as well as Iran and Syria, which are states of proliferation concern.

“The United States is investing enormous resources to maintain and upgrade nuclear weapons delivery systems and warheads and is keeping its deployed nuclear weapons on ‘launch-under-attack’ readiness posture. The lack of U.S. leadership in these areas contributes to the moribund pace of disarmament,” said Elizabeth Philipp, the Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellow at the Arms Control Association, and a co-author of the report.

“Obama should use his remaining months in office to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. strategies and mitigate the risks of inadvertent use. Obama could consider declaring that Washington will not be the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict,” said Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association and co-author of the report.

“U.S. leadership could spur China and Russia to take positive actions and improve the prospects for further disarmament. Russia’s decision to develop a new missile in violation of its treaty commitments and Moscow’s rebuff of attempts by the United States to negotiate further nuclear reductions is very troublesome, as is the expansion of China’s nuclear arsenal and Beijing’s steps toward increasing the alert levels of its forces,” Philipp added.

“Several states did take significant steps over the past three years to strengthen nuclear security, including action by the United States and Pakistan to ratify key nuclear security treaties,” said Davenport.

“The July 2015 nuclear deal struck between six global powers and Iran was also a significant nonproliferation breakthrough that has significantly reduced Tehran’s nuclear capacity and subjected its activities to more intrusive international monitoring and verification. While the international community must remain vigilant in ensuring that the deal is fully implemented, blocking Iran’s pathways to nuclear weapons negates a serious nonproliferation concern and demonstrates the consequences of flouting the international norms and obligations,” Davenport said.

“For the third time, the United Kingdom received the highest grade of all the states assessed, while North Korea remained at the bottom of the list with the lowest overall grades. North Korea’s recent nuclear test and its ballistic missile development require the next U.S. administration to pursue more robust engagement with Pyongyang to freeze its nuclear activities,” Philipp said.

“Our review of the record indicates that further action must be taken by all 11 states if they are to live up to their international disarmament and nonproliferation responsibilities. By tracking the progress, or lack thereof, of these states over time, we hope this report will serve as a tool to encourage policymakers to increase efforts to reduce the risk posed by nuclear weapons,” Davenport said.

A country-by-country summary can be viewed here.
The full report card can be downloaded here

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The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

Posted: July 15, 2016

Experts Call on Nuclear Suppliers Group Not to Bend the Rules

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In a letter to the 48-member states of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a group of 18 leading nuclear nonproliferation experts expressed...

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For Immediate Release: June 20, 2016

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 107

(Washington, D.C.)—In a letter to the 48-member states of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a group of 18 leading nuclear nonproliferation experts expressed "deep concern and opposition to pending proposals that could grant India and Pakistan membership in the NSG on the basis of an exceptional political preference—rather than on the basis of a common, strong, and meaningful set of nonproliferation and disarmament benchmarks for NSG membership."

The Nuclear Suppliers Group is are expected to discuss the Indian and Pakistani bids for membership at its plenary meeting in Seoul during the week of June 20.

The experts warn: "It is our assessment that any further country-specific exemptions from NSG guidelines for trade and/or membership without compensating steps to strengthen nonproliferation and disarmament would increase nuclear dangers in South Asia, and weaken the NSG and the broader nuclear nonproliferation regime."

"New membership bids,” the experts write, "should be considered on the basis of whether states meet an agreed set of strong and meaningful nonproliferation and disarmament benchmarks.”

Signatories of the letter sent to the NSG participating governments include two former special representatives to the President of the United States on nonproliferation and the former U.S. negotiator for civil nuclear cooperation agreements.

"Neither India nor Pakistan meets the NSG’s membership criteria,” the letter continues, "nor does either country meet the same standards of behavior as current NSG members, nor is it clear that either state shares the NSG’s basic nonproliferation motivations, including the NSG’s efforts to stem the spread of sensitive nuclear fuel cycle technologies that could be used for nuclear weapons purposes."

Under the guidelines of the NSG, membership requires that a state is a member of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, among other considerations. In 2008, the United States pushed through an India-specific exemption from the NSG’s requirement that a state have full-scope international safeguards in order to be eligible for civilian nuclear trade.

“Unfortunately,” said Daryl G. Kimball of the Arms Control Association, "the United States has in the past month rejected consideration of proposals from some NSG participating governments for a criteria-based approach to membership. The Obama administration should adjust its irresponsible approach."

For the full list of endorsers and the text of the letter, see below.


Don’t Bend NSG Rules Without Steps to Strengthen Nonproliferation

June 8, 2016

Ambassador Rafael Mariano Grossi
Chair of the Nuclear Suppliers Group

Dear Ambassador:

We are writing to express our deep concern and opposition to pending proposals that could grant India and Pakistan membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) on the basis of an exceptional political preference — rather than on the basis of a common, strong, and meaningful set of nonproliferation and disarmament benchmarks for NSG membership.

It is our assessment that any further country-specific exemptions from NSG guidelines for trade and/or membership without compensating steps to strengthen nonproliferation and disarmament would increase nuclear dangers in South Asia, and weaken the NSG and the broader nuclear nonproliferation regime.

Neither India nor Pakistan meets the NSG’s membership criteria, nor does either country meet the same standards of behavior as current NSG members, nor is it clear that either state shares the NSG’s basic nonproliferation motivations, including the NSG’s efforts to stem the spread of sensitive nuclear fuel cycle technologies that could be used for nuclear weapons purposes.

Since the NSG granted an India-specific exemption for India from its longstanding full-scope safeguards standard for nuclear trade in September 2008, the Indian government has not met the nonproliferation commitments it pledged it would meet in return for the exemption: its civil-military nuclear separation plan is not credible; its IAEA Additional Protocol arrangement is far weaker than those of the nuclear-armed states; and the administrative arrangements negotiated by the United States and other nuclear suppliers for tracking India’s nuclear material are insufficient.

India and Pakistan have refused to accept critical disarmament responsibilities and practices expected of all other nuclear-armed states, including a legally-binding commitment not to conduct nuclear tests (such as signing the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty), halting fissile material production for weapons, and reducing nuclear and missile arsenals. Instead they are increasing their nuclear arsenals.

Thus, there is no basis to accept the argument offered by U.S. officials that Indian membership in the NSG would give India more of a stake in the nonproliferation regime.

Pakistan, which has a history of transferring sensitive nuclear fuel cycle technology and is expanding its own nuclear weaapons capabilities, has an even weaker case for NSG membership than India.

In our view, the best way to bolster the global nonproliferation and disarmament effort is to set strong standards for new membership that reaffirm the basic objectives and purposes behind the NSG and strengthen its role as a multilateral institution.

Sincerely,

Susan F. Burk
Former Special Representative of the President of the United States for Nuclear Nonproliferation (2009-2012)

Joseph Cirincione,
President, Ploughshares Fund

John D. Holum,
former U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security

Angela Kane,
Senior Fellow, Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation,
former High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, United Nations

Daryl G. Kimball,
Executive Director, Arms Control Association

Michael Krepon,
Co-Founder, Stimson Center

Edward P. Levine
Chairman of the Board, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation*

Jeffrey Lewis,
Middlebury Institute of International Studies*

Fred McGoldrick,
Consultant, and former Director of Nonproliferation and Export Policy,
U.S. Department of State

Robert K. Musil,
Chairman of the Board, Council for a Livable World*

Dr. Willam C. Potter,
Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar Professor of Nonproliferation Studies,
Middlebury Institute of International Studies*

Randy Rydell,
former Senior Political Affairs Officer in the Office of the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs

Henry Sokolski,
Executive Director of The Nonproliferation Policy Education Center,
and former Deputy for Nonproliferation Policy, Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense

Sharon Squassoni,
Director of the Proliferation Prevention Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies*

Frank N. von Hippel,
former Assistant Director for National Security, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Leonard Weiss,
Stanford University, and
former Staff Director, U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs and chief architect of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act of 1978

Ambassador Norman A. Wulf,
Special Representative of the U.S. President for Nuclear Nonproliferation (1999-2002)

*Institution listed for identification purposes only.

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The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

Country Resources:

Posted: June 20, 2016

Third Report of the Deep Cuts Commission

June 2016

Back from the Brink: Toward Restraint and Dialogue between Russia and the West

Posted: June 20, 2016

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