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former IAEA Director-General

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

The Nonproliferation Treaty Review Process: Major Milestones and the Way Forward

The nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation regime is facing stress and pressure from all sides.


September 2018
By Thomas Markram

My first encounter with the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) was 30 years ago when I joined a meeting held in August in Vienna between the South African foreign and mineral affairs ministers and the Soviet Union, United Kingdom, and United States. The purpose of that meeting was to explore how South Africa could join the NPT. The answer from the depositaries was simple: South Africa could join without nuclear weapons.

Thomas Markram, deputy to the UN high representative for disarmament affairs, briefs the Security Council April 4 on the situation in Syria. (Photo: Manuel Elias/United Nations)Much has been written on the reasons why South Africa joined the NPT in July 1991. Most acknowledge there were in fact a combination of factors.

Geopolitically, under the 1988 Brazzaville Protocol, the Soviet-aligned Cuban forces withdrew from Angola, thereby ending what had been the security rationale for a nuclear deterrent. The top levels of the South African apartheid government had accepted that long-term security would be better assured through the abolition of nuclear weapons. South African President F.W. de Klerk had in fact regarded nuclear weapons as a “rope around our neck.” The years between the dismantlement of the program in 1991 and its disclosure in 1993 were marked by a delicate balancing act by the political leadership in South Africa, seeking to prevent a conservative backlash while undertaking serious fundamental reforms in a transition to a full democracy and obtaining reacceptance into the international community.

Important voices in the African National Congress and anti-apartheid movement had long campaigned against the regime’s nuclear weapons program. The new democratic government in 1994 was keen to demonstrate that South Africa was a responsible possessor of advanced technologies. Its disarmament and nonproliferation policy thus was integral to its commitment to democracy, human rights, sustainable development, social justice and environmental protection. These dynamics also shaped South Africa’s position within the NPT.

Another critical dynamic was the international environment, which, at the time when the treaty was negotiated, was very different than when South Africa joined, in the same review cycle that the treaty was due to expire. According to an account of the negotiations and early implementation, the 1.0 version of the NPT was primarily an affair between the nuclear blocs and about managing the dynamics of the Cold War. It put a brake on further proliferation to give political space for negotiations among the major powers on the arms race and disarmament. This version of the treaty featured a weak safeguards regime, as was eventually discovered in 1991 in Iraq, and a permissive arrangement for nuclear weapons cooperation among allies.

Nonproliferation was never meant as an end in itself, but rather the treaty was conceived as a partial measure for nuclear disarmament and for general and complete disarmament. Between 1970 and the mid-1990s, UN bodies and bilateral negotiations produced a substantial range of agreements aimed at halting the arms race, reducing nuclear arsenals, and strengthening nonproliferation. The treaty’s review process served to support progress in these various efforts.

Beginning in 1995, the review process took on a very different function. NPT version 2.0 became a framework for disarmament and nonproliferation. The negotiations that South Africa joined in 1995 regarding the extension of the treaty were very much between the nuclear-weapon states and the non-nuclear-weapon states.

It was in this context that South African Foreign Minister Alfred Nzo proposed at the review and extension conference the “Principles for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament” and “Strengthened Review Process.” These proposals provided the means through which progress toward achieving nuclear disarmament could be achieved and provided yardsticks to accomplish the goals of the treaty. They formed an integral part of the package deal of three decisions and resolution adopted in 1995 and formed the basis on which the treaty was extended indefinitely.

Under the strengthened review process, the NPT evolved into a de facto negotiating forum for nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation. Its function in this regard has only been reinforced by the long stalemates in the Conference on Disarmament and the Disarmament Commission. Subsequent review conferences reached agreement on specific steps designed to lead to the full implementation of the treaty, especially Article VI.

In this sense, the review conferences have functioned as more than a mere safety valve designed to vent pressure from parties disgruntled over the pace of progress. They have served as the primary multilateral body within the framework of the United Nations for elaborating agreement between the nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states.

The agreed outcomes in 1995, 2000, and 2010 were quite distinct from the political declarations of 1975 and 1985. From 1995 onward, states-parties viewed NPT outcomes as politically binding agreements that should be fully and faithfully implemented, which is where the strengthened review process of the treaty has run into real difficulty. In a sense, the 13 “practical steps” of 2000 simply gave substance to the principles and objectives of 1995.

Yet, there continued to be a sense among many parties that too little had been done to implement these agreements in the 15 years following the indefinite extension of the treaty. The 2010 action plan was a remarkable achievement by providing a well-articulated road map for implementation, albeit mostly of past commitments, and the 2015 review conference ultimately failed at continuing this scenario because the parties were unable to agree on benchmarks and timelines.

Nevertheless, 25 years after the indefinite extension, we have perhaps reached a point where even successful efforts to describe old commitments in more granular levels of detail cannot make up for divisions resulting from perceptions of insufficient implementation and their pace. This is perhaps the largest political factor that led nearly two-thirds of member-states to conclude the nuclear weapons prohibition treaty last year.

Ultimately, this leaves us with the question, What is next for the strengthened review process?

The nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation regime is facing stress and pressure from all sides. Unlike when the NPT was negotiated, we now have to contend with multiple spheres of power and influence; a growing multiplicity of interests, conflicts, and asymmetries; and disarmament machinery hobbled by archaic rules and practices. Rapid technological progress is also lowering political costs for the use of force, tempting states and nonstates to conduct hostile and malicious acts in circumstances that they regard as a grey area in the law and blurring the line between strategic and nonstrategic weapons.

These trends point to a real risk that norms of disarmament, nonproliferation, and common security may give in to what seems like a growing acquiescence for military solutions to international problems. These dynamics are also serving to increase the nuclear risks we face and should compel the pursuit of new measures with a sense of urgency.

So do we need an NPT version 3.0? If so, what would that look like, and how would it function?

On its surface, nothing appears to be wrong with the mechanism, especially as review conferences have succeeded in forging agreements even where less inclusive bodies such as the Conference on Disarmament have continuously failed. Thankfully, the current crossroads at which the NPT finds itself do not reflect any waning commitment to the objective of nonproliferation. It appears that the NPT will remain indispensable and its historical significance at being nothing less than the system of international security at the heart of the United Nations will continue in ensuring no conflict can escalate to the level of an existential threat to humanity.

In this sense, I have no doubt that the legacy of the NPT can continue to endure long into the future. It is the most universal body seized with elaborating effective measures relating to disarmament. It also contains the only treaty-based obligation to negotiate in good faith to this end. Thus, it represents the only forum where non-nuclear-weapon states have any effective leverage in bargaining directly with the nuclear-weapon states.

Although many characterize the 2015 review conference as a failure, I see it instead as a watershed because its result reinforced the perception among a majority of non-nuclear-weapon states that they can bring pressure to bear through various means in the absence of demonstrable steps by the nuclear-weapon states to implement previous commitments.

Reversing this trend will necessitate a return to the traditional conception of the role of disarmament as the ultimate security assurance. This will require states to come back to treating the obligation to pursue negotiations on nuclear disarmament as an obligation to achieve a result, not as an open-ended invitation to retain nuclear weapons. This is the distinction between making progress “in” disarmament, as opposed to progress “toward” disarmament.

It will require, at a minimum, an unequivocal recommitment by the nuclear-weapon states to their obligations and a serious demonstration of serious progress in implementing past commitments. I think this will be a key factor in ensuring the legacy of the NPT can be preserved for another 50 years.


Thomas Markram is director and deputy to the high representative for disarmament affairs, UN Office for Disarmament Affairs. This article is adapted from remarks at the U.S. Department of State conference titled “Preserving the Legacy: NPT Depositary Conference on the 50th Anniversary of the Opening for Signature of the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons,” held June 28 in Washington. The views expressed are those of the author.

Posted: September 1, 2018

U.S. Touts Sanctions Success as EU Announces Iran Package | The P4+1 and Iran Nuclear Deal Alert, August 24, 2018

U.S. Touts Sanctions Success as EU Announces Iran Package During an Aug. 19-22 trip to Israel, National Security Advisor John Bolton said U.S. sanctions reimposed on Iran are having economic effects “even stronger than we anticipated” and that the United States expects that Europeans will see that the “choice between doing business with Iran or doing business with the United States is very clear.” Iran figured prominently in discussions between Bolton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. At a joint Aug. 20 press conference , Netanyahu again thanked the Trump administration for...

ACA Board Chair on Pathways to a Nuclear Weapon Free World

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Remarks by Thomas Countryman to the International Symposium for Peace in Nagasaki, Japan

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Pathways to a Nuclear Weapon Free World

Remarks by Thomas Countryman
Chairman of the Arms Control Association
to the International Symposium for Peace 
Nagasaki, Japan
July 28, 2018

Introduction

Panelists discuss working toward sustainable peace at the International Symposium for Peace “The Road to Nuclear Weapons Abolition” held on July 28 in Nagasaki. (Photo: Kengo Hiyoshi/Asahi Shimbun)Let me thank the organizers of today’s conference for bringing me again to Japan. In my current focus outside the government of the United States, continuing to push for real progress on nonproliferation and arms control measures, it's always a special pleasure to come to Japan. The Japanese role in leading the international diplomatic challenge to create the highest standards in arms control and nonproliferation is unparalleled. Not only as a partner of the United States but in its own leadership role, Japan has done much to create the modern nonproliferation regime that has greatly reduced but not yet eliminated the threat that weapons of mass destruction pose to all of us.

It is especially moving to be here in Nagasaki. Visiting the memorial yesterday, a sacred place, brought back to me what President Abraham Lincoln said at the site of the bloodiest battle America ever witnessed: that those who have fallen on this site “have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract”. I sensed on this spot what no book can convey: the enormous challenge and the risk that humanity continues to face in the presence of 15,000 nuclear weapons in this world. Here I want to commend the very special role the hibakusha have played in preserving vital lessons for the memory of humanity. For 70 years, they have spread the simple truth that a human being is not just a statistic. They will touch future generations long after their own has passed from this world. I wish that every American and every world leader would have the opportunity to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki as I have.

Current Challenges

It is much easier to talk about the challenges to nuclear disarmament than it is to describe a simple path to a world free of nuclear weapons. So let me dwell first on the current challenges that we face.

First, the two major nuclear powers, the United States and the Russian Federation, have passed a turning point in their nuclear doctrines and nuclear arsenals. After about 40 years of a steady decrease in the size and diversity of their nuclear arsenals and the mission that each assigned to their nuclear weapons, both Washington and Moscow have turned a corner towards expanding the size and variety of arsenals and the circumstances for their use.

U.S. 2018 Nuclear Posture Review

The U.S. administration’s Nuclear Posture Review from this February is not a radical change from the previous nuclear posture but it is a significant change in direction. In calling for the development of new low-yield nuclear weapons, the United States is thinking more actively and – in my view - making more thinkable the use of low-yield nuclear weapons in the context of a conventional conflict. As so many have pointed out, there is no such thing as a limited nuclear war once that threshold has been crossed. “A nuclear weapon is a nuclear weapon," George Shultz, who served as President Ronald Reagan's top diplomat, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in January. "You use a small one, then you go to a bigger one. I think nuclear weapons are nuclear weapons and we need to draw the line there."

Secondly, the Nuclear Posture Review describes with more specificity than before circumstances under which the United States would consider the use of nuclear weapons to encompass not only first use by an opponent but also a response to a devastating attack by cyber or other means. Just two years ago, the Obama administration considered carefully the possibility of proclaiming a no-first-use doctrine for U.S. nuclear weapons. That U.S. policy has now shifted towards a broader definition of possible first use is of deep concern to me.

Finally, I am most disappointed in the Nuclear Posture Review in that it effectively renounces the traditional leadership that the U.S has exercised on non-proliferation and arms control issues. It makes no mention of America’s binding legal obligation under Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to pursue a reduction in arsenals. It makes no new proposals for how the U.S. will move forward in negotiations with Russia and others. And it defers any meaningful action until security conditions in the world have improved. This retreat from global leadership, whether in arms control, in climate policy or in free trade agreements is unworthy of a nation that claims to be a superpower.

Russia

As concerned as I am about the direction of U.S. policy, I am even more concerned about the continuing development by Russia of new weapons and new delivery methods. Russia seems driven by an exaggerated fear, in fact, a paranoia, about the future capabilities of U.S. missile defense. I call these fears exaggerated because I believe that missile defense can never provide an impenetrable shield. Russia is building not only new generations of ICBMs but even more dangerous weapons systems that seem to step out of the pages of a science fiction comic book, including a nuclear torpedo of unlimited range and a nuclear-powered cruise missile. Russia seems intent on probing the boundaries of existing arms control agreements, particularly the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty which laid the basis for the next 25 years of successful arms limitations. Even more than the uninformed statements by the U.S. president, the rhetoric of the Russian president - increasingly defining Russia’s national power as a function of its nuclear arsenal - erodes both the prospect of future arms control and the moral taboo against initiating the use of nuclear weapons. The 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is due to expire in 2021 and although President Putin has raised the prospect of extending the treaty, President Trump has so far rebuffed such proposals.

Joint Comprehensive Program Of Action

In the shorter term, I am especially concerned about the U.S. decision to withdraw from, that is to violate, the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action with Iran. This agreement is unprecedented, both in its inspection and verification requirements, and it prevented the risk of a tenth state breaking into the nuclear weapons club. I do not believe that Iranian development of a nuclear weapon is imminent but I am deeply concerned about the follow-on effects of this decision, that is the undermining of U.S. credibility and commitment to any agreement, the creation of a serious dispute between the U.S. and its best allies in Europe and Asia, the erosion of the international rules-based order and a resurgent radicalism in Iran.

North Korea

I am less pessimistic but still deeply concerned about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. President Trump did the right thing, trading in violent rhetoric for an opportunity for dialogue. There are dozens of reasons to distrust North Korea’s approach to negotiations and to doubt the capability of the Trump administration to negotiate a meaningful, verifiable denuclearization of North Korea. But the pursuit of negotiation is far preferable to simply sleepwalking towards war, as we seemed to be doing a year ago.

Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT)

The nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty remains central to our shared global ambition to prevent the development of new nuclear weapons and to reduce existing arsenals. On the surface, the deliberations at NPT conferences often seem utterly divorced from the real world. In fact, all the concerns I’ve just listed have a real effect on the degree of consensus you can reach among NPT parties and on the commitment that other parties show to the treaty.

For the 2020 Review Conference, I can foresee the worst but I am determined to work for the best. The RevCon can easily be upset either by the U.S. and Russia sniping at each other or by the continued inability of the states in the Middle East to sit down together and begin the process of discussing a nuclear-weapon-free-zone in the Middle East. But the most severe threat to the unity of states-parties is the growing frustration of non-nuclear weapon states with the pace of nuclear disarmament. Seeing no new U.S.-Russian agreements since 2010 and the new threatening developments in Washington and Moscow that I’ve already described, the majority of the world’s non-nuclear weapon states have made clear that they will demand more urgent progress in 2020.

Moving Towards a Nuclear Weapon Free World

So what can we do to move towards a world free from nuclear weapons?

Near-Term Steps

There are a number of steps that the United States and Russia could take right now that would change the current trajectory. First and most simply, to hear President Trump and President Putin repeat what Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan said in 1985 - that a nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought - would be of value, would provide some reassurance that these two leaders understand their responsibilities to humanity. Secondly, the United States and Russia need to extend New START. Third, they need to make a political decision to work harder on resolving the dispute about compliance with the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty. And fourth there needs to be a more regular dialogue between Moscow and Washington on both the military and political level, to pursue risk reduction measures that would prevent a conventional conflict from escalating to a nuclear one and to explore other steps that would allow each to maintain security at a lower level of armament. Finally, the United States should reassert the leadership it showed after 2010 when it led an intensive dialogue among the P5 nuclear-weapon states to give the world greater transparency, to reduce nuclear risks, and to lay the groundwork for future multilateral arms control.

It’s not easy to get either Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin to do something that reminds them of Mikhail Gorbachev or Barack Obama. In fact, it’s not easy to get them to do something unless you can convince them that it was their own brilliant idea. But it is an obligation of the rest of the world to continue to press for this. I know from my own experience with bilateral diplomacy that meetings with either Russian or American leaders always have an agenda filled with urgent items and that concerns about long-term items such as arms control simply fall out of the conversation. It is crucial that not only Japanese leaders but all world leaders press both Presidents to take serious action.

Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Beyond Moscow and Washington, what can non-nuclear weapon states do for themselves to move us towards a nuclear-weapon-free world? Many non-nuclear weapon states have sought to answer that question by negotiating a new treaty banning nuclear weapons, adopted last July.

The drafting of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons last year was historic. Some would like to see it as simply an expression of frustration on the part of the non-nuclear weapon states. It’s a lot more than that. It is a strong moral and ethical statement. And more than that, it is something tangible, something that can be touched by the hibakusha and the citizens of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. It is a statement of reality that the risk of nuclear war is not born only by the nuclear-weapon states but by the entire world. And it is intended to serve as an impulse for further action globally on nuclear disarmament. I’m well aware of its limitations. The TPNW will not by itself immediately eliminate any nuclear weapons. And it does not provide a pathway for Washington and Moscow to overcome their current impasse.

I don’t see the discussion between advocates and skeptics of the TPNW as being an argument about practicalities or about whether this treaty can work. It is - or it should be - a respectful discussion about deterrence. Nations that face no immediate military threat tend to underestimate the importance that military alliances and military deterrence play for those states that do face actual military threats. Similarly, those states whether in Europe or in Asia that feel reassurance under the nuclear umbrella of the United States tend not to appreciate how strongly concerned other states are about the disastrous humanitarian effects that a nuclear war would cause.

What is needed now is a multi-sided discussion on a topic that is easy to define and extremely difficult to resolve: how to guarantee the security of the world and of each nation without resort to nuclear deterrence. This is a discussion that has to bring together not only the idealists and social activists who helped to bring about the TPNW but also the security experts and military leaders who have the responsibility of providing for their nations’ security. It has to bring together not only nuclear-weapon states but those who are allies of nuclear-weapon states and those who feel themselves to be far from any military threat. Given my own experience with the ineffectiveness of the United Nations as a place to discuss such difficult issues, I think it has to start smaller than a conference of 190 countries.

UN Secretary-General’s Disarmament Agenda

Washington and Moscow are not going to lead this discussion. What can the rest of the world do? The UN Secretary General has laid out a comprehensive blueprint on what needs to be done on disarmament issues to provide genuine security for our citizens. I love the document. I’d like to focus in particular on what he says about nuclear disarmament.

He calls on the United States and Russia to resolve INF compliance concerns, extend New START and pursue additional reductions. He encourages all states to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, to negotiate a fissile material cutoff treaty, establish a zone free of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, pursue nuclear risk reduction measures, and develop nuclear disarmament verification standards and techniques. He warned that the international community is moving backward on disarmament. “Let us all work together to bring new urgency to achieve the universal goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world,” he said while unveiling his agenda at the University of Geneva in late May.

So how do we take forward an idea on which not only everyone in this room but most of the world is united upon?

Joint Enterprise

Now is the time to convene a high-level summit approach to help overcome the impasse on nuclear disarmament. Leaders from a core group of states can invite their counterparts - 20 to 30 heads of states of nuclear weapon and non-nuclear weapon countries - to join a one or two day summit on steps to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. This could be a starting point for ongoing regular disarmament discussions at the expert and ministerial level. As the former foreign minister Kishida argued, this dialogue must be based both on a clear understanding of the devastating impact of nuclear weapon use and an objective assessment of the security concerns of states.

This is not a new idea. Four of the best American thinkers on such issues - George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn - have been arguing for several years for a Joint Enterprise, a new multilateral effort that would take concrete, practical steps to create the conditions that would make possible genuine nuclear disarmament. As outlined by the “four horsemen,” a Joint Enterprise summit would be supplemented by a joint communique from all participating states and national commitments to work towards disarmament. Unfortunately, the leadership of such an effort will not come from either Washington or Moscow. When the long-time ‘leader of the free world’ is deliberately stepping away from leadership, the other democratic nations of the world must take up the challenge. It’s up to Japan, to Germany, to Canada, to other nations that still believe in multilateralism to get this effort started.

Discussion of the conditions that would help achieve a nuclear weapons-free world must become as common among world leaders as discussions about tariffs or immigration. The constant raising of this topic is the responsibility of Presidents and Prime Ministers, and it is the duty of citizens of all nations to remind their leaders of this responsibility.

It is written in Pirkei Avot, a well-known Jewish text, that “you are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” Here in Nagasaki, we say again that all of us – elected leaders, civil society organizations, and ordinary citizens – “we will not desist from this duty.”

Thank you and God bless you!

 

 

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Posted: July 28, 2018

IAEA Safeguards Agreements at a Glance

June 2018

Contact: Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, (202) 463-8270 x102

Updated: June 2018

Introduction

Safeguards agreements ensure that all nuclear activity a state undertakes is for peaceful purposes and that a state is not engaging in illicit nuclear activities. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is the independent organization charged with applying safeguards.

The IAEA and Canada concluded the first safeguards agreement in 1959 and in 1961, the IAEA’s Board of Governors approved a document outlining the principles of safeguards. Since 1961, both the scope and application of safeguards have evolved.

Under Article III of the 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), all non-nuclear weapons states-parties are required to conclude a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), known as a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA or INFCIRC/153 corrected). Given the near-universal membership in the NPT, safeguards are now widespread.

These agreements allow for states to exercise their right under the NPT to peaceful nuclear energy without causing concern that they may actually be developing nuclear weapons in violation of the treaty.

The five NPT nuclear weapons states (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) are not required to have IAEA safeguards agreements under the NPT. All five, however, have signed voluntary offer safeguards agreements that permit the IAEA to apply safeguards to material in select eligible facilities. This covers civilian nuclear material and sites. All five nuclear weapon states have also concluded additional protocols to the voluntary offer safeguards agreements.

States with minimal or no nuclear material may sign a small quantities protocol, abstaining them from some of the obligations under the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement as long as they meet certain criteria. The small quantifies protocol was revised in 2005, and now contains fewer exemptions.

Non-states-parties to the NPT may also sign safeguards agreements with the IAEA known as item-specific safeguards agreements.  India, Pakistan and Israel for instance, have placed civil nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards and India has an Additional Protocol in force.

IAEA safeguards measures do not prohibit additional bilateral or multilateral safeguards measures. For instance, Brazil and Argentina reached an agreement on bilateral safeguards inspections in 1991 (ABACC) and Euratom’s safeguards, which predated the NPT requirement, and contribute to its member states’ safeguards agreements negotiated with the agency. 

Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA)

The Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) is required for non-nuclear weapon states under the NPT and is an option for non-NPT members. In concluding a CSA with the IAEA, states must declare the type and quantity of material subject to safeguards in an initial report. The IAEA verifies that a state’s declaration of nuclear material is correct and complete. A CSA also gives the IAEA the authority to independently verify that all nuclear material in the territory or jurisdictional control of a state is not diverted for nuclear weapons or explosives purposes and that nuclear facilities are not misused. 

The IAEA notes four main processes for the implementation of safeguards. 

  1. Collection and evaluation of safeguards-relevant information: The IAEA collects safeguards-relevant information to determine if a state’s declarations about its nuclear program are correct.
  2. Development of a safeguards approach for a state: A safeguards approach indicates which safeguards measures are needed to verify a state’s declarations.
  3. Planning, conducting and evaluating safeguards activities: The IAEA then develops a plan to conduct the safeguards activities based on the safeguards approach and identifies areas that may need to be followed up.
  4. Drawing of a safeguards conclusion: Upon completing the safeguards implementation cycle, the IAEA issues safeguards conclusions, which provide credible assurances to the international community that states are abiding by safeguards commitments.

According to the IAEA, there are 174 states with Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements, as of June 2018. Each year the IAEA reports on safeguards implementation to the agency’s Board of Governors, which is comprised of IAEA member states.

Strengthening Safeguards

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) began an effort in 1993 to better constrain NPT member-states' ability to illicitly pursue nuclear weapons after secret nuclear weapons programs in Iraq and North Korea exposed weaknesses in existing agency safeguards.

Program 93+2

Iraq, an NPT state-party, successfully circumvented IAEA safeguards by exploiting the agency's system of confining its inspection and monitoring activities to facilities or materials explicitly declared by each state in its safeguards agreement with the agency. To close the "undeclared facilities" loophole, the IAEA initiated a safeguards improvement plan known as "Program 93+2." The plan's name reflected that it was drafted in 1993 with the intention of being implemented in two years.

Putting "Program 93+2" into effect, however, took more time than expected, and the program has subsequently been implemented in two parts. The IAEA, within its existing authority, initiated the first part in January 1996. This first step added new monitoring measures, such as environmental sampling, no-notice inspections at key measurement points within declared facilities, and remote monitoring and analysis.

Modified Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements to a Safeguards Agreement

Modified Code 3.1 requires countries to submit design information for new nuclear facilities to the IAEA as soon as the decision is made to construct, or authorize construction, of the facility. Modified Code 3.1 was introduced in the early 1990s to replace the 1976 code, which only required states to inform the IAEA of new facilities not later than 180 days after the beginning of its construction. States that implement Modified Code 3.1 provide the IAEA with additional time to respond to a state’s expansion of its nuclear program and to adjust safeguard agreements as needed. 

The Model Additional Protocol (AP)

The second part of "Program 93+2" required a formal expansion of the agency's legal mandate in the form of an additional protocol to be adopted by each NPT member to supplement its existing IAEA safeguards agreement. The IAEA adopted a Model Additional Protocol on May 15, 1997. The essence of the Additional Protocol is to reshape the IAEA's safeguards regime from a quantitative system focused on accounting for known quantities of materials and monitoring declared activities to a qualitative system aimed at gathering a comprehensive picture of a state's nuclear and nuclear-related activities, including all nuclear-related imports and exports. The Additional Protocol also substantially expands the IAEA's ability to check for clandestine nuclear facilities by providing the agency with authority to visit any facility, declared or not, to investigate questions about or inconsistencies in a state's nuclear declarations. NPT states-parties are not required to adopt an Additional Protocol, although the IAEA is urging all to do so.

The model protocol outlined four key changes that must be incorporated into each NPT state-party's Additional Protocol.

  1. Expanded amount and type of information to be provided to the IAEA
  • In addition to the current requirement for data about nuclear fuel and fuel-cycle activities, states will now have to provide an "expanded declaration" on a broad array of nuclear-related activities, such as "nuclear fuel cycle-related research and development activities—not involving nuclear materials" and "the location, operational status and the estimated annual production" of uranium mines and thorium concentration plants. Thorium can be processed to produce fissile material, the key ingredient for nuclear weapons.
  • All trade in items on the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) trigger list will have to be reported to the IAEA as well. The NSG is a group of 48 nuclear supplier countries that seeks to voluntarily prevent the use of peaceful nuclear technology for military purposes by restricting nuclear and nuclear-related exports.
  1. Increased number and type of facilities the IAEA can inspect
  • In order to resolve questions about or inconsistencies in the information a state has provided on its nuclear activities, the new inspection regime provides the IAEA with "complementary," or pre-approved, access to "any location specified by the Agency," as well as all of the facilities specified in the "expanded declaration."
  • By negotiating an additional protocol, states will, in effect, guarantee the IAEA access on short notice to all of their declared and, if necessary, undeclared facilities in order "to assure the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities."
  1. Streamlining the visa process for inspectors
  • The agency's ability to conduct short notice inspections is augmented by streamlining the visa process for inspectors, who are guaranteed to receive within one month's notice "appropriate multiple entry/exit" visas that are valid for at least a year.
  1. Increased right to use environmental sampling
  • The Additional Protocol provides for the IAEA's right to use environmental sampling during inspections at both declared and undeclared sites.
  • It further permits the use of environmental sampling over a wide area rather than being confined to specific facilities.

Credit: International Atomic Energy Agency

As of June 2018, 132 countries and Euratom have concluded Additional Protocols that are now in force. Another 16 states have signed Additional Protocols but have yet to bring them into force. Iran applies its Additional Protocol pending its pursuit of ratification as part of the nuclear deal reached between Iran and the P5+1. 

Although the Additional Protocol is widely accepted as a standard safeguards practice, several states have opposed the expansion of safeguards to include it.

Integrated Safeguards

In addition to strengthening safeguards through the adoption of the Model Additional Protocol, in the late 1990s and 2000s, the IAEA also developed methods to improve the efficiency and efficacy of safeguards implementation for states with both CSAs and APs in force. The IAEA began using a “state-level concept” to evaluate a state’s compliance with safeguards agreements comprehensively, instead of on a facility-by-facility basis. It also began issuing “broader conclusion” determinations for states in order to ease safeguards implementation burdens by applying the state-level approach.

Broader Conclusion

The IAEA began issuing a “broader conclusion” designation for certain states with both the CSA and AP in force as part of a continuing effort to improve the efficiency and efficacy of safeguards and to cut costs. The IAEA must recertify a broader conclusion each year, verifying that a state’s declaration is both correct and complete. In other words, its nuclear material must remain in peaceful purposes with no indication of diversion.

If the IAEA derives a broader conclusion for a state, it may implement “integrated safeguards,” which are tailored to each individual state. Therefore, the resulting safeguards enforcement for that state becomes less burdensome and less costly.

The first state with a broader conclusion was Australia in 1999. The IAEA drew broader conclusions for 69 states in June 2017. 

State-Level Concept

Over the years, the IAEA has also developed the state-level concept, which has become the designation for an integrated safeguards approach. Under the state-level concept, the IAEA considers each state as a whole when implementing and evaluating safeguards, including nuclear-related activities and capabilities, instead of examining each facility in a given state separately. Based on the broader range of information, the agency can then tailor a safeguards approach to the specific country.

The term “state-level concept” was first used in an IAEA document in 2005 although the IAEA had been following the practice since the early 1990s. The state-level concept is used for all states with a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, an Additional Protocol in force, and a broader conclusion finding.  In a 2013 report, the Director-General of the IAEA indicated his intent to continue to develop state-level approaches for safeguards implementation for additional states.

Note: This factsheet was previously titled “The 1997 IAEA Additional Protocol at a Glance.”

Nuclear/Ballistic Missile Nonproliferation

Fact Sheet Categories:

Posted: June 25, 2018

THE NPT AT 50: A Staple of Global Nuclear Order

Why the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty remains important and relevant today.


June 2018
By Sara Z. Kutchesfahani

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the bedrock of the international nuclear nonproliferation regime. Although the accord is far from perfect, its many accomplishments should be recognized.

The NPT was created at a time when the world was confronted with the bipolar threat of annihilation driven by the nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union. During that period, the superpowers clashed politically and ideologically, dividing the world between East and West and between democracy and communism. A half-century later, the NPT endures, even though the East-West divide has morphed into a multipolar world era in which the new security risk of nonstate actors has added to the nuclear threat.

At the Palais des Nations in Geneva, diplomats from more than 100 countries participate April 30 at the international conference to prepare for the 2020 review of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. (Photo: Alicia Sanders-Zakre/Arms Control Association)During those 50 years, periods of tension arose between the treaty and its signatories. Yet, consider its accomplishments: an overwhelming number (185) of non-nuclear-weapon states, a dramatic 85 percent reduction in the global nuclear weapons stockpile, a lower number of states possessing nuclear weapons than predicted, and the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones, which have made the entire Southern Hemisphere devoid of nuclear weapons.

Still, divisive issues remain, including the NPT’s universality, the extent and pace of nuclear disarmament, the measures to advance the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and the NPT’s inability to prevent nonsignatories India, Israel, and Pakistan from crossing the nuclear threshold and to prevent former NPT signatory North Korea from becoming a nuclear-armed state. Nevertheless, the NPT played an instrumental role in creating the foundation of the international nuclear nonproliferation regime, which remains today.

Why the NPT?

By 1968, there was a broad consensus that a greater number of states possessing nuclear weapons would be detrimental to international peace and security. With five nuclear-weapon states and the Cold War arms race in full swing, the pressure to prevent proliferation was growing. Worried about the spread of nuclear technology, U.S. President John Kennedy predicted in 1963 that an additional 21 countries might develop nuclear weapons in a decade.1 From the perspective of the nuclear-weapon states, a greater number of states possessing nuclear weapons would not only end their small and exclusive nuclear club, but would result in a less stable and secure world. These concerns provided sufficient motivation to create a treaty to prevent more countries from developing a nuclear weapons program.

The creation of the NPT involved a fairly tumultuous nine-year process, starting with an Irish initiative in November 1959. The main source of tension came from nuclear-weapon states that opposed a disarmament clause (China, France, Russia, and the United States), while the non-nuclear-weapon states were simultaneously insisting on one. The process culminated in a treaty negotiated by the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Committee by July 1968. A disarmament clause was accepted, but the time frame for disarmament was left unspecified, a source of continuing dispute today. The treaty opened for signature in London, Moscow, and Washington on July 1, 1968.2

What Is in the NPT?

U.S. President Lyndon Johnson described the NPT as “the most important international agreement since the beginning of the nuclear age.”3 Indeed, the NPT has helped prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons technology, while providing non-nuclear-weapon states access to peaceful uses of atomic energy. The NPT is one of the most widely signed international legal treaties. Since it opened for signature in 1968 and entered into force in 1970, 190 out of 194 UN-recognized states have signed. In fact, between 1968 and 1998, there was at least one signatory per year.

The NPT established a two-tier bargaining system between the five recognized nuclear-weapon states (the nuclear haves) and the other signatories (the nuclear have-nots). The nuclear-weapon states would work toward nuclear disarmament and help the non-nuclear-weapon states acquire peaceful nuclear technology. In exchange, the non-nuclear-weapon states agreed never to seek a nuclear weapons program. At the time, such a promise led many of the non-nuclear-weapon states to openly criticize the NPT, denouncing it as unfair, discriminatory, and insufficient in providing appropriate security guarantees. One particularly relevant critique came from the Argentines, who described it as “the disarmament of the disarmed” treaty.4

The 11 NPT articles comprise its three essential pillars: nonproliferation, disarmament, and the peaceful use of nuclear energy. A cursory glance at its articles may suggest that the NPT is fair and unbiased and that the grand bargain was upheld. For example, the “inalienable right of all Parties to the Treaty” to pursue peaceful uses of nuclear energy has its own article (Article IV), as does the commitment to disarm (Article VI).

A closer look, however, reveals a different conclusion. For example, the NPT does not have an article that offers the non-nuclear-weapon states negative and positive security assurances, in spite of the non-nuclear-weapon states insistence on these clauses throughout the negotiations. Such assurances would provide guarantees to the non-nuclear-weapon states that they would be protected against a nuclear attack and so would not be tempted to become nuclear-weapon states themselves. In addition, while Article VI commits the nuclear-weapon states to disarm, it does not outline when disarmament will begin, who will verify it, and what the repercussions might be for the nuclear haves to not disarm and therefore maintain their nuclear stockpiles.5 The same section requires negotiations, rather than results, without imposing any conditions or a timeline. Understanding that timing is relative, is it fair to ask whether 50 years later is still within the parameters of an “early date”?

Finally, Article X does not outline any repercussions of a state withdrawing from the NPT and subsequently proliferating. It is not new or different for a treaty to have a withdrawal clause. Article X outlines the conditions for a state-party intending to withdraw from the treaty: it must give the UN Security Council three months’ notice of its intention and provide the council with its reasons for withdrawal. This provision was intended to give the Security Council an opportunity to deal with any withdrawal that might produce a threat to international peace and security.6

Yet, who might have thought back in the 1960s, when the NPT was being drafted, that any country would invoke Article X, provide the required notice, and leave the treaty? It was not until 2003 when North Korea claimed that it was within its national sovereign right to withdraw and to withdraw “effective immediately.”7 Three years later, it tested its first nuclear weapon.

Not a Disarmament Treaty

The above clarifies what the NPT is not. It is not a disarmament treaty. It has a disarmament article, but there is a reason it is not called the Nuclear Disarmament Treaty. Article VI was negotiated largely at the insistence of non-nuclear-weapon states, particularly Brazil, India, Mexico, and Sweden.8 India and Sweden separately wanted a “package solution” that linked nonproliferation to a variety of measures, including a freeze on nuclear weapon production.9 Other states, such as Romania, favored a provision by which the nuclear-weapon states would undertake to adopt “specific nuclear disarmament measures.”10 Because neither of these recommendations were acceptable to the United States or the Soviet Union, Mexico proposed an alternative, which was an obligation to “pursue negotiations in good faith” to achieve nuclear disarmament, and this obligation made it into the NPT.11 Yet, what does “good faith” mean?

During the 1960s, as the treaty was being drafted and negotiated, most of the nuclear-weapon states categorically dismissed all proposals committing them to any specific measures of disarmament or to any time limits, hence the vague language in the NPT. Had the non-nuclear-weapon states insisted on specifics, the NPT might never have been completed. France and China—both latecomers to the NPT, having signed it in 1992—were also opposed. France believed that the only solution to Article VI was the total destruction of all existing arsenals while banning the ability to manufacture new nuclear weapons, which is why it chose not to sign the treaty in 1968. China believed that Article VI was unfair to the non-nuclear-weapon states, given the unlikelihood that the nuclear-weapon states would disarm. Only the United Kingdom seemed to approve. UK Foreign Minister Fred Mulley remarked in 1968 that Article VI was “certainly the most important by-product of the treaty and one of its most important provisions.”12



Regardless of the vague language, Article VI mandates the NPT nuclear-weapon states to reduce their nuclear stockpiles and to work toward global zero. Even though they are not close to zero, all except China have drastically reduced their nuclear weapons stockpiles over the years. (fig. 1). Russia and the United States show the largest reductions, of 89 percent and 85 percent respectively (table 1). Even though the nuclear-weapon states except for China have decreased their nuclear weapons stockpiles, the NPT does not prohibit modernizing existing nuclear weapons. So although they have reduced their nuclear stockpiles, they are “modernizing” their arsenals at the same time, investing in nuclear weapons for generations while making them more reliable.

Not Designed for Withdrawal

In addition to not being a disarmament treaty, the NPT is restricted from acting against a country that withdraws from the treaty and subsequently develops nuclear weapons. The 90-day provision outlined in Article X is intended to provide the Security Council an opportunity to address any withdrawal that might produce a threat to international peace and security. In 2003, however, North Korea provided the council with only a single day’s notice, leaving the council essentially powerless to act.13



It is impossible to determine whether the Security Council would have acted if North Korea had provided the full 90-day notice, but it could have. In fact, according to the UN Charter, if the council finds that the withdrawal might foreshadow a threat to international peace and security, it has the authority to take action.14 A withdrawal from the NPT that might produce a threat to peace would give the council jurisdiction to prohibit or condition the withdrawal. Yet, it seems unlikely that the council could have done anything, short of further sanctions and perhaps even war, that would have stopped North Korea from developing nuclear weapons, given their intent and subsequent actions in developing nuclear weapons.

North Korea is the only state to withdraw from the NPT in its 50 years of existence. Although North Korea was sanctioned heavily, ostracized, and granted pariah status after withdrawing, the NPT was unable to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.

Contribution to Peace and Security

In spite of its flaws, the NPT has made a significant contribution to overall stability. Lead proponents contend it has been a force of good over the past half-century. The NPT can be credited for curbing the number of states with nuclear weapons because it created an international norm against nuclear proliferation, which can be explained through three examples.

The first is the sheer number of signatories and the relatively low number of states with nuclear weapons. It is a remarkable accomplishment that only nine states have nuclear weapons, five of which are formally considered nuclear-weapon states under the NPT, given that more than 50 states could have pursued a nuclear weapons option but decided against it. Similarly, the NPT has contributed to the existence of fewer nuclear weapons today. At the height of the Cold War, there were about 64,000 nuclear weapons worldwide. Even though the NPT entered into force in 1970, the number of nuclear weapons did not start to decrease until 1988 (fig. 2). Still, the dramatic 85 percent reduction in the global nuclear weapons stockpile can be attributed at least in part to the NPT, given the sharp decline in stockpiles since 1970.



The second example of the international norm involves Switzerland, which was dissuaded from pursuing a nuclear weapons program because of the nonproliferation norm. Switzerland signed the NPT in 1969 and clarified that it would wait until other countries ratified before it did.15 Switzerland ratified the NPT in 1977, by which time 99 states had ratified it and the nuclear nonproliferation norm had become significant.

The third example is nuclear rollback, the unilateral and voluntary dismantling by a country of its nuclear weapons. The only such case to date is South Africa. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the countries of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine inherited and ultimately removed former Soviet nuclear weapons. Their rollback, however, occurred under entirely different circumstances, mainly because all three countries for the most part were eager to remove them.16

When the South African government moved to end apartheid, newly elected President Frederik de Klerk announced in 1989 that he wanted to make South Africa a respected member of the international community. He believed political reform and accession to the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon state were prerequisites for such an outcome.17 To rejoin the international community and end economic sanctions imposed against apartheid South Africa, it had to remove suspicions surrounding its nuclear weapons status. Acceding to the NPT and becoming a proponent of a nuclear-weapon-free zone covering the entire African continent was a clear indication that subscribing to the global nuclear nonproliferation norm was an effective way to reintegrate with the international community.

The NPT can also be credited with the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, a regional approach that strengthens global nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation efforts. These zones restrict areas on the ground and in space where nuclear weapons may be freely produced, moved, tested, stationed, and used. They serve to gradually limit and denuclearize at a regional level in order to move toward a nuclear-weapon-free world. States are encouraged to establish zones in their respective territories through Article VII of the NPT. In most zones, the NPT nuclear-weapon states sign protocols to the treaty pledging their support toward the zone by agreeing to not test, store, or use nuclear weapons in the designated area.

There are currently five areas in the world that are not covered by a nuclear-weapon-free zone: North America, Europe, South Asia, East Asia, and the Middle East, areas in which states with nuclear weapons are housed. Everywhere else around the world, encompassing approximately 115 countries, is protected by a zone.18 These zones are one of the most important and effective ways to advance nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament. They are an inherent part of the global nuclear order, contributing not only to regional and world peace
but also to regional and global security and stability.

Even though countries within the five areas of the world that are not protected by a nuclear-weapon-free zone are faced with an existing nuclear threat based on the mere existence of nuclear weapons on their territory, there have been limited efforts in turning these regions into zones. There have been discussions over the years about creating a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and a denuclearized Korean peninsula, but political tensions and difficulties stalled both endeavors.

In the context of the difficulties affecting the NPT and wider disarmament and nonproliferation negotiations, nuclear-weapon-free zones provide a glimmer of hope. Important lessons can be learned from their formation because they were negotiated not only during the tensions of the Cold War but also during the complex politics and conflicts of the post-Cold War period. In general, these zones evolve out of a regional perception of an existing or imminent nuclear threat, thereby requiring regional groups to create binding treaties to ban the use, storage, and testing of nuclear weapons in their region.

Nuclear-weapon-free zones have been successfully implemented in regions with major nuclear rivalries (e.g., Argentina and Brazil) and where nuclear weapons have already been developed or deployed (e.g., Africa and Central Asia). They are arguably one of the largest yet most underexplored success stories of the NPT and a significant contributor to international peace and stability.

Most importantly, the NPT is here to stay. Article X called for its signatories to convene a conference to be held 25 years after the treaty’s entry into force in order to determine whether the treaty would remain in force indefinitely or for other additional periods of time. At its review and extension conference held in May 1995, the NPT signatories agreed to the treaty’s indefinite extension, even though the non-nuclear-weapon states expressed disappointment with the lack of progress toward nuclear disarmament and feared that a decision to extend the treaty indefinitely would enable the nuclear-weapon states to continue to maintain their nuclear arsenals in perpetuity and avoid any accountability in eliminating them.19

Next 50 Years

The NPT is not without flaws, but it has played an instrumental role in maintaining international peace and security. Skeptics may justifiably ask, “When a treaty’s only nonsignatories are states with nuclear weapons, what is the point of effectively prohibiting non-nuclear-weapon states from crossing the nuclear threshold when many of them have no desire to develop nuclear weapons?” From an international peace and security perspective, there is great value in having a treaty that prevents further nuclear proliferation, and it is a blessing that the international community’s efforts in pursuing the creation of such a treaty were not in vain. Fifty years on, its legacy continues.

In a time during which nuclear threats and hostilities are on the rise, with uncertainty in the relationship between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the pledge in the 2018 U.S. “Nuclear Posture Review” to add new nuclear capabilities, and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unveiled “invincible” nuclear weapons, the NPT’s successes stand out. Look forward to another 50 years, by which time perhaps the international community will gather to commemorate the complete and verifiable disarmament of all nuclear weapons.

ENDNOTES

1. Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1964), p. 280.

2. For the definitive work about the negotiation and the first decade of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), see Mohamed Shaker, The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: Origins and Implementation, 1959-1979 (London: Oceana Publications, 1980).

3. President Lyndon Johnson made this remark on July 3, 1968, and again at the signing of the NPT on July 19, 1968. “Remarks at the Signing of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty,” American Presidency Project, n.d., http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=28970 (accessed May 12, 2018).

4. “Disarmament of the disarmed” was first articulated in 1968 by José María Ruda, Argentine ambassador to the United Nations. Jorge Aja Espil, “Argentina,” in Non-Proliferation: The Why and the Wherefore, ed. Jozef Goldblat (London: Taylor and Francis, 1985), pp. 73-74.

5. Article VI of the NPT states, “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

6. George Bunn and John B. Rhinelander, “NPT Withdrawal: Time for the Security Council to Step In,” Arms Control Today, May 2005.

7. North Korea’s stated reasons for withdrawing were that the United States was threatening its security through its perceived hostile policy toward North Korea. According to North Korea, the United States had singled it out as a target of a pre-emptive nuclear attack and had threatened it with a blockade and military punishment. See Frederic L. Kirgis, “North Korea’s Withdrawal From the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty,” Insights, Vol. 8, No. 2 (January 24, 2003).

8. Thomas Graham Jr., “NPT Article VI Origin and Interpretation,” in Rebuilding the NPT Consensus, ed. Michael May, April 8, 2008, http://cisac.fsi.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/RebuildNPTConsensus.pdf.

9. Shaker, Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, p. 508.

10. Ibid., p. 570.

11. Ibid., p. 571.

12. Conference of the Eighteen-Nation Committee on Disarmament, “Final Verbatim Record of the Three Hundred and Fifty-Eighth Meeting,” ENDC/PV.358, January 23, 1968, para. 23.

13. North Korea provided its notice of withdrawal from the NPT in 1993. This notice was suspended shortly thereafter due to its ongoing negotiations with the United States.

14. United Nations, Charter of the United Nations, October 24, 1945, 1 U.N.T.S. XVI, ch. 7, arts. 39, 41, and 42.

15. The declaration made in separate notes dated November 27, 1969, addressed to the UK and U.S. governments.

16. For a comprehensive overview of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine’s nuclear weapons dismantlement, see Sara Z. Kutchesfahani, Politics and the Bomb: The Role of Experts in the Creation of Cooperative Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreements (London: Routledge, 2014).

17. David Albright, “How South Africa Abandoned Nuclear Weapons,” Stimson Center Occasional Paper, No. 25 (1995).

18. Marc Finaud, “The Experience of Nuclear Weapon Free-Zones,” BASIC, May 2014, http://www.basicint.org/sites/default/files/finaud_nwfz-fin_1.pdf.

19. Arms Control Association, “Timeline of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT),” May 25, 2015, https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/Timeline-of-the-Treaty-on-the-Non-Proliferation-of-Nuclear-Weapons-NPT.


Sara Z. Kutchesfahani is a senior policy analyst at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and senior program coordinator for the Fissile Materials Working Group. This piece draws on material from her forthcoming book tentatively titled Global Nuclear Order (Taylor & Francis/Routledge, 2019).

 

Posted: June 1, 2018

THE NPT AT 50: Successes, Challenges, and Steps Forward for Nonproliferation

The treaty has, to a good extent, achieved its objectives. Very few states have remained outside the treaty and have gone on to develop nuclear weapons.


June 2018
By Jackie O’Halloran Bernstein

Fifty years after the opening for signature of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty [NPT], there are many reasons to celebrate, not least among them is the continued salience and importance of this treaty.

Now, there is the addition of a new and exciting legal instrument, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which will make a strong contribution to the NPT's Article VI obligation for states-parties to pursue nuclear disarmament. The new treaty is truly groundbreaking, not only in its prohibitions on the weapons but also in its acknowledgment of the role of the hibakusha, its provisions on victim assistance and cooperation on the environment, and its commitments to disarmament education and the full and equal participation of men and women in the work of the treaty.

Irish Foreign Minister Frank Aiken (center) listens to the debate at the First Committee of the General Assembly on October 8, 1958. Also shown in the photo are (front row, left to right): L. Vitetti (Italy); Abba Eban (Israel); H. Jawad (Iraq); and D. Abdoh (Iran).  (UN Photo/MB)In 1958, Ireland's foreign minister, Frank Aiken, introduced at the United Nations the first of the Irish resolutions that would eventually lead to the adoption of the NPT a decade later. At that time, the prospect was very real of a world where many actors, state and nonstate, would eventually acquire the means and the technology to build their own nuclear arsenals. In his speech, which remains as prescient and true today as it was 60 years ago, Aiken spoke of how weapons that are the monopoly of the great powers today become the weapons of smaller powers and revolutionary groups tomorrow. He made clear that, while abolition of the weapons and permanent disarmament was Ireland's goal, the immediate pragmatic need was to prevent further dissemination of the weapons.

As we assess the NPT at 50, we can, I believe, agree that the treaty has, to a good extent, achieved its objectives. Very few states have remained outside the treaty and have gone on to develop nuclear weapons. It is indeed one of the most participated-in UN treaties. The five nuclear-weapon states have all joined and therefore are bound by the commitment to nuclear disarmament contained within Article VI, which remains the core legal obligation binding the nuclear-weapon states to disarm. This is also evidenced by the unequivocal undertaking that they gave in 2000 to accomplish the total abolition of their nuclear weapons.

Additionally, the states of many regions of the world have chosen to be part of nuclear-weapon-free zones in strong demonstration of their commitment to the objective of a world without nuclear weapons. Some of the strongest voices in the room at the prohibition treaty negotiations came from these regions and brought the strength of their convictions and experience to the treaty negotiations.

The NPT itself is a slim treaty, its preamble and 11 articles fitting easily on six standard letter-size pages. But the international community has built around it a strong framework of supporting institutions. The International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] in particular, though predating and independent from the NPT, has built up an impressive structure of expertise and an enabling framework to facilitate that use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes while implementing strict safeguards that prevent diversion to nonpeaceful uses.

With the development of supporting export control regimes including the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime, states have been successfully assisted in preventing and inhibiting proliferation of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technology without preventing transfer of technology and materials for peaceful uses. This aspect of the treaty is also an essential one to which states parties need to continue to give careful support and attention.

The NPT has also, through the strengthened review process agreed at the 1995 review and extension conference, helped to promote and give impetus to many far-reaching agreements and understandings aimed at preventing further proliferation and enabling bilateral nuclear disarmament. The bilateral accords between Russia and the United States have also been greatly supportive of the NPT aims, with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces [INF] Treaty, the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks treaty, and the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty [New START] contributing to a welcome and significant reduction in the large stockpiles of nuclear warheads that had built up during the Cold War.

Equally, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty [CTBT] must also be counted among the NPT successes. While it hasn't entered into force, the strength of the global norm, which has been established against nuclear testing, and the development of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization’s International Monitoring System rank among the great achievements of the international community in nuclear disarmament.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons represents the NPT's latest success story. The first new legal instrument on nuclear disarmament to be adopted in over 20 years, it is a success story not only because of its groundbreaking content but also because of what it entails in terms of progress toward the fulfillment of the NPT's disarmament provisions. NPT Article VI expressly envisaged a separate and complementary treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.

Jackie O’Halloran Bernstein speaks at the annual meeting of the Arms Control Association on April 19 in Washington. (Photo: Allen Harris/Arms Control Association)The prohibition treaty is not founded on a grand bargain whereby states agree to give up the possible military advantages and the status attached to being nuclear weapons possessors in exchange for an agreement that the nuclear-weapon states will disarm. Instead, the states who adopt the treaty agree to an unambiguous and unconditional commitment that they will never under any circumstances develop, test, produce, manufacturer, otherwise acquire, possess, or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

I think Frank Aiken, 50 years after the entry into force of the NPT, would be pleased that the prohibition treaty finally implements and gives effect to the NPT's disarmament provision, that almost two-thirds of the UN membership are committed to the complete prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons, and that this took place from an appreciation of the elevated risk and catastrophic consequences that would result from a nuclear weapons detonation, accidental or deliberate.

For the security of all humanity and the future of our fragile planet, our states are making this choice. It is our great hope that, in time, all others including the nuclear weapons possessor states and their allies will join us.

Aiken was a strong supporter of the idea of the sovereign equality of all states and a firm believer in the equalizing power of the United Nations. He would, I think, have approved of the inclusive and respectful nature of the deliberations that led to the adoption of the treaty, both in the 2016 open-ended working group so ably chaired by Ambassador Thani Thongphakdi of Thailand and also at the prohibition negotiations where Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gómez of Costa Rica played such a strong role in bringing the deliberations on the treaty to a successful conclusion.

In addition to the prohibition treaty, there have been other welcome advances in disarmament and arms control in recent years, including the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty [ATT] in 2014, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran in 2015, and the agreements at the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons to establish a group of governmental experts to address the challenges raised by autonomy in weapons systems. These achievements show that the international community, states, and civil society can achieve our goals when we can agree and focus on a common purpose.

But huge challenges confront us. Growing urbanization has led to massive increases in civilian casualty rates and damage to civilian infrastructure in our cities from the use of conventional explosive weapons. The Iran nuclear accord, negotiated with such effort and attention and despite careful and positive implementation assessment by the IAEA, is under threat. The ATT is experiencing significant challenges in universalization and in implementation, while 100 years on from the Battle of Ypres, chemical weapons are again being used in war and to assassinate, despite the universal prohibition on their use.

Meanwhile, nuclear disarmament by the NPT nuclear-weapon states has stalled. Bilateral nuclear disarmament between the United States and Russia, undertaken following the successes of [the] INF [Treaty] and New START, has halted. After the successful outcome of the NPT's 2010 review conference with its ambitious but achievable action plan, including an innovative approach to progress on a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction, the 2015 conference did not agree on an outcome. The CTBT, despite the previously mentioned successes, has still not lived up to its promise of an end to the damage and destruction caused by nuclear testing by entering into force.

Modernization and investment in nuclear arsenals is rising in all nuclear-weapon states, and efforts to reduce the salience of nuclear weapons in military doctrines and in nuclear alliances has receded. Proliferation threats are increasing, with North Korea’s nuclear program representing a particular dangerous development. Against this background, the norm against the threat of use of nuclear weapons has been seriously eroded. The world's citizens, after decades of post-Cold War complacency, are awakening to the harsh reality that, yes, nuclear weapons do still exist and that the hands of the Doomsday clock are yet again at two minutes to midnight.

So what to do amid this somewhat grim background when we have seen disarray and lack of agreement at the UN Security Council on an issue in which there should be overwhelming global agreement and abhorrence—chemical weapons use? It seems utopian to suggest that NPT states-parties should renew their efforts to engage with each other and genuinely find ways forward to overcome the divisions on approaches to nuclear disarmament that have become evident in recent years.

But that is exactly what we need to do. If the NPT could be negotiated and adopted at the height of the Cold War, then a renewed commitment to its implementation and the establishment of dialogue among its states-parties is more than possible. I am not going to list here the 13 steps or the actions from the 2010 NPT action plan on which all are agreed. Neither am I going to set out the steps put forward by the proponents of the progressive, or step-by-step, approach to nuclear disarmament.

Ireland and the other delegations to the prohibition treaty are all committed to making progress on these measures, and many of our countries have engaged actively in the work to make them happen. There is, however, one issue to address in more detail, the question of the Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. As we reach the midpoint of the NPT's 2020 review cycle with little or no progress, it is time for serious stocktaking and reassessment of how to achieve some progress on this issue despite the challenges and difficulties. Otherwise, the risk that the 2020 review cycle will also fail to agree on an outcome is strong, with a resulting strongly negative impact on the treaty.

Ireland proposed at last year's preparatory committee that a dedicated resource should be provided possibly within the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs to assist the co-conveners and other interested states and civil society actors to develop creative and innovative proposals and, in particular, confidence-building measures that could begin to move the process forward. Trust and confidence are key to the success of any negotiation, and this is what we need most of all.

Recently, Ireland celebrated an auspicious moment in our history, 20 years of the Good Friday agreement and the success of the Northern Ireland peace process. The agreement has had many challenges. It hasn't always lived up to its promise as a beacon of hope and reconciliation, but it has endured, and the hard-earned peace that is represented has lasted in spite of all the difficulties, including those that confront it today.

That achievement wasn't built in a few weeks of negotiations and only through the dedication and preparedness to take risks of some leaders, though that wasn't lacking either. But rather, it was built through decades of work within communities, schools, churches, within labor movements, business associations, political parties, academics, think tanks, working together or as individuals to establish lines of communication, to start a conversation, to build bridges instead of walls, to have a cup of coffee instead of shouting across the barricades. Mostly it was built by starting conversations and by listening to the other’s viewpoint. It was also built by women reacting to the loss and devastation within their communities and determined to end the violence once and for all.

Within the NPT process, there often is talk of needing to identify the bridge builders. Those states, groups of states, civil society actors, leaders who can find a way forward to bridge the divisions between those who seek immediate and nonconditioned implementation of the NPT's disarmament provisions and related commitments and those who believe that, while nuclear disarmament is the ultimate goal of the NPT, the conditions are not yet right for it to happen.

With the second NPT preparatory committee, we can all be bridge builders, those who believe that nuclear disarmament is essential to creating the conditions for a peaceful and secure world and those who believe we must create a peaceful and secure world before nuclear disarmament can happen.

When speaking of the Good Friday agreement and the need for renewed commitment to its implementation and objectives, Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney said renewal does not demand perfection. It demands leadership, courage, and hard work. For the NPT, we also need leadership, courage, and hard work. Most of all, we need to begin a dialogue to find what works and what can bring us nearer to the realization of our mutual goal, a world without nuclear weapons and a successful outcome to the 2020 NPT review cycle.

There are already some promising green shoots in the chairman's draft summary from last year's preparatory meeting, including the recognition of gendered impacts of nuclear weapons and the need to increase women's participation in nuclear disarmament forums. As Pope Francis has said, a world without nuclear weapons will not be this world just without nuclear weapons, it will be a different world. For those of us who want that different world, it's time to begin both imagining and creating it.


Jackie O’Halloran Bernstein recently completed her posting as director for disarmament and nonproliferation at Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This is adapted from her keynote address to the annual meeting of the Arms Control Association on April 19 in Washington.

Posted: June 1, 2018

THE NPT AT 50: A Historical Timeline

Major nuclear nonproliferation developments


June 2018
By Daryl G. Kimball

The nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) was opened for signature on July 1, 1968. Under Articles I and II of the treaty, the nuclear‑weapon states agree not to help non-nuclear-weapon states to develop or acquire nuclear weapons, and the non-nuclear-weapon states permanently forswear the pursuit of such weapons.

William Foster, chief U.S. negotiator on the NPT, director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and later Chair of the Arms Control Association Board, signs the NPT July 1, 1968, as President Lyndon Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson look on. U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk is seated next to the president, and a number of ambassadors are seated at the far end of the table, including Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin (fifth from right among those seated). Photo courtesy of Larry WeilerArticle VI commits each of the states‑parties “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.” Acknowledging the necessity of intermediate steps in the process of nuclear disarmament, Article VII allows for the establishment of regional nuclear-weapon-free-zones.

With its near-universal membership, the NPT has the widest adherence of any arms control agreement. Every five years, the 190 states-parties meet to assess progress on achieving key objectives and provide opportunities to discuss new measures to strengthen the treaty.

The negotiation and the indefinite extension of the NPT was not inevitable. Its future viability depends on continued leadership and action to realize its lofty objectives.

1950s

July 29, 1957: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) comes into existence with the mission of promoting and overseeing the peaceful use of nuclear technology. October 17, 1958: Ireland proposes the first resolution at the United Nations to prohibit the “further dissemination of nuclear weapons.”

1960s

December 4, 1961: The UN General Assembly unanimously approves Resolution 1665, which is based on the earlier Irish draft resolution and calls for negotiations to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to additional states. March 21, 1963: In a press conference, President John Kennedy warns, “I see the possibility in the 1970s of the president of the United States having to face a world in which 15 or 20 or 25 nations may have [nuclear] weapons. I regard that as the greatest possible danger and hazard.” February 14, 1967: The Treaty of Tlatelolco, the first of five nuclear weapons free zones is negotiated. August 24, 1967: The United States and Soviet Union separately introduce identical draft treaties to the Eighteen- Nation Committee on Disarmament on preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. June 12, 1968: The UN General Assembly adopts Resolution 2373, endorsing the draft text of the NPT. The vote was 95 to 4 with 21 abstentions. July 1, 1968: The NPT is opened for signature and is signed by the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. China and France would not join the treaty until 1992.

1970s

March 5, 1970: The NPT enters into force with 46 states-parties. September 3, 1974: The IAEA publishes the “trigger list” developed by the Zangger Committee, identifying nuclear items that require IAEA safeguards as a condition of export. May 30, 1975: The 91 states-parties to the NPT hold the treaty’s first review conference. The treaty members decide to hold such conferences to review the implementation of the treaty every five years. January 11, 1978: States participating in the voluntary Nuclear Suppliers Group provide the IAEA with a common set of guidelines they will follow in making nuclear exports.

1980s

India, Pakistan, North Korea, and South Africa advanced their nuclear weapons efforts in relative secrecy. Iran began to secretly acquire uranium-enrichment-related technology from Pakistani suppliers. Taiwan’s covert nuclear weapons program was shut down under U.S. pressure. Argentina and Brazil jointly declare they will pursue nuclear technology only for peaceful purposes. Thirty more states join the NPT during the decade.

1990s

April 3, 1991: The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 687 requiring Iraq to eliminate its secret nuclear weapons program, which was revealed after the Iraqi defeat in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. July 10, 1991: South Africa accedes to the NPT. May 23, 1992: Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine sign the Lisbon Protocol committing Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty states-parties vote to extend the treaty indefinitely May 11, 1995 at UN Headquarters in New York. (Photo: Jon Levy/AFP/Getty Images)to join the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon states and relinquish the nuclear weapons they inherited from the Soviet Union. April 1, 1993: The IAEA declares North Korea in noncompliance with its safeguards obligations and refers Pyongyang to the UN Security Council. April 11, 1995: The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 984 acknowledging the unilateral pledges by the five nuclear-weapon states not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states-parties to the NPT. May 11, 1995: At the fifth NPT review conference, the states-parties agree to the treaty’s indefinite extension and a package of principles and objectives on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament to hold NPT states-parties, particularly the nuclear-weapon states, accountable to their commitments. September 24, 1996: The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is opened for signature. May 15, 1997: The IAEA adopts the Model Additional Protocol to enhance inspection authorities to guard against clandestine nuclear weapons activities.

2000sPresident Barack Obama reaffirms U.S. support for the NPT and steps to achieve “the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons” on April 5, 2009 in Prague. (Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

May 22, 2000: The NPT states-parties agree to a final document at the sixth review conference that outlines the so-called 13 steps for progress toward nuclear disarmament, including an “unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals.” January 10, 2003: North Korea announces its withdrawal from the NPT. June 6, 2003: The IAEA issues a report detailing Iranian clandestine nuclear activities that Tehran failed to report to the agency, in violation of its safeguards agreement. December 19, 2003: Libya announces that it will dismantle its WMD programs, including a secret nuclear weapons program, and agrees to IAEA inspections and adherence to an additional protocol. September 19, 2005: North Korea commits to abandoning its nuclear weapons and programs and returning to the NPT and to IAEA safeguards in an agreement of the six-party talks on North Korean denuclearization. September 6, 2008: The Nuclear Suppliers Group agrees to permit trade in nuclear material and technology with India, despite that country’s status as a nonparty to the NPT and de facto nuclear-weapon state.

2010s

May 2010: The eighth NPT review conference agrees to 64-point action plan to strengthen implementation of the treaty. February 5, 2011: The New START agreement between the United States and Russia to cut strategic and offensive arms enters into force. It will expire in 2021 unless extended by mutual agreement. November 2012: The conveners (Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the UN) of a conference to establish a weapons of mass destruction free zone in the Middle East announce that the conference will be postponed because not all states in the region agree on an agenda for the conference. March 2013: Norway hosts the first of three Conferences on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, with participation from more than 120 states. The conferences focused on scientific findings on the impact of nuclear weapons use on humans, the environment, and global climate.

April 27–May 22, 2015: The ninth Review Conference for the NPT fails to reach consensus on a final conference document over differences about convening a conference on a WMD-free zone in the Middle East and disagreements over the pace of implementation of Article VI. A group of 107 states join the “Humanitarian Pledge,” which calls on states “to identify and pursue effective measures to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.” July 14, 2015: Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) conclude the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to curtail Iran sensitive nuclear fuel cycle activities under strengthened safeguards. November 2016: UN General Assembly First Committee approves a resolution for a negotiating conference on a treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons by a vote of 123-38 with 16 abstentions. July 7, 2017: The second and final round of negotiations on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons concluded with states voting 122-1-1 to adopt the treaty. September 20th, 2017: The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is opened for signature.

Posted: June 1, 2018

Nuclear-Weapon States Spar at NPT Meeting

Talks prepare for the major review of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 2020.


June 2018
By Alicia Sanders-Zakre

The international conference to prepare for the 2020 review of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) was marked by quarreling among nuclear-weapon states and revised U.S. positions put forward by the Trump administration.

Tensions among Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States about chemical weapons use in attacks in Syria and the UK, although not part of the NPT agenda, bled into the debate. An April 24 meeting among the five NPT nuclear-weapon states was unable to produce a consensus statement, but the states were united in opposition to assertions by non-nuclear-weapon states that the nuclear powers have not adequately complied with their NPT Article VI obligations to pursue nuclear disarmament negotiations in good faith.

U.S. officials brief reporters April 26 at the 2018 NPT preparatory conference. The speakers (left to right) were Christopher Ford, assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation; Anita Friedt, acting assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification and compliance; and Robert Wood, U.S. ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament. (Photo: Eric Bridiers/U.S. Mission)The Trump administration said that U.S. disarmament measures would depend on changes in the international security environment. A U.S. working paper, “Creating the Conditions for Nuclear Disarmament,” presented at the conference contends that the “easing of international tension,” “strengthening of trust,” and other specific conditions are prerequisites for progress on global disarmament.

Some of the specific conditions identified include the denuclearization of North Korea; Iran’s verified compliance with its nonproliferation commitments; the recognition of the right of Israel to exist; adherence by all states to the Model Additional Protocol established by the International Atomic Energy Agency; a moratorium on the production of fissile material; a halt to the increase and diversification of Russian, Chinese, and North Korean nuclear weapons arsenals; an improvement in the transparency of nuclear policies; the development of nuclear disarmament verification technologies; and compliance by all states with all international agreements, particular by Russia with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and by “some” states with the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The preparatory talks, held from April 23 to May 4 in Geneva, were divided into three thematic sections: disarmament, nonproliferation, and nuclear energy. At the conclusion, Adam Bugajski of Poland, the conference chairman, presented a factual summary that was not voted on or adopted by the conference as a consensus document.

Many nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states did agree on supporting several interim measures toward nuclear disarmament, including risk reduction efforts, negative security assurances, extension of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, and the resolution of U.S.-Russian compliance disputes involving the INF Treaty.

Dozens of states emphasized their support for the Iran nuclear agreement, subsequently abandoned by U.S. President Donald Trump; advocated for the entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), including calling for North Korea to sign and ratify the treaty; and supported the negotiation of a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT). The United States announced that it will officially support work toward an FMCT.

Many states welcomed recent developments, including the diplomatic moves between North and South Korea and the July 2017 adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Although France and Russia condemned the prohibition treaty, which is opposed by all the nuclear-weapon states, it was not a major point of contention at the conference.

NPT signatory states agreed on the right of all treaty parties to peaceful uses of nuclear energy and on the importance of nuclear security and nuclear safety. Many highlighted national initiatives to advance these goals.

The United States sparked a debate by stating in a working paper that “the NPT review cycle cannot be the primary mechanism for progress” on a zone free of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the Middle East but that regional states should work to establish the conditions needed to make progress on the initiative. At the 2015 NPT Review Conference, disagreement on this subject blocked agreement on a final consensus document.

The Arab Group and the Non-Aligned Movement were among those to reject the U.S. approach, stating that the decision during the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference to indefinitely extend the NPT would not have been possible without the resolution on the Middle East calling for a WMD-free zone.

Two nonproliferation statements were circulated for members to sign during the conference. One statement, distributed by Russia and China, expressed support for the Iran nuclear accord. Another denounced North Korea’s nuclear and missile developments and welcomed the recent diplomatic overture. Some states did not sign that document because it did not include a call for North Korea to join the CTBT.

The day before the conference’s end, Bugajski released his factual summary. Nuclear-weapon states largely accepted the document and did not point out changes to be made in the document.

Other countries suggested revisions to better reflect the views expressed at the conference. New Zealand, speaking on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition, recommended adding a reference to maintaining the moratorium on nuclear testing pending the CTBT’s entry into force and removing the word “some” when describing nuclear modernization programs that are not consistent with NPT obligations. Several states argued that the document should assert that states had “welcomed” the nuclear weapons prohibition treaty instead of “noting” it.

The conference selected Shahrul Ikram of Malaysia to be chairman of next year’s preparatory meeting, to be held in New York.

 

Posted: June 1, 2018

Diplomats Urge Unity Ahead of NPT Meeting

Representatives seek practical steps to uphold the nonproliferation regime ahead of the treaty’s 50th anniversary.


April 2018
By Alicia Sanders-Zakre

Representatives to the second preparatory committee meeting for the 2020 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference will seek to focus on shared goals in the face of daunting obstacles to a successful outcome.

Adam Bugajski, Poland’s permanent representative to the UN Office and international organizations in Vienna, will chair the meeting, which is scheduled to be held April 23-May 4 in Geneva. Bugajski previously served as security policy director at the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Poland’s deputy permanent representative to NATO.

Participants at the first preparatory committee meeting for the 2020 review conference for the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in May 2017 in Vienna. (Photo: United Nations Information Service Vienna / Agata Wozniak)As chair of the conference, Bugajski said he intends to stress that “there is no single road toward disarmament and that disarmament is not only about reductions.”

Bugajski began consulting with member states and civil society representatives shortly after the first preparatory committee meeting in May 2017, he told Arms Control Today in a March 14 email. The consultations included regional seminars in Mexico City, Addis Ababa, and Jakarta and regional group consultations in Geneva, Vienna, and New York. Bugajski also established a task force for the conference at the Polish Foreign Ministry.

Other representatives highlighted the need for practical steps to uphold the NPT regime ahead of its 50th anniversary in 2020 and in light of mounting challenges.

“Our main objective is really quite straightforward, and one hopefully shared by the vast majority of NPT members,” Carl Magnus Eriksson, director and deputy head of the Department for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation at the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Arms Control Today in a March 12 email. “It is to demonstrate the continued vitality and indispensable role of the NPT framework despite many challenging circumstances.”

Jamie Walsh, Ireland’s deputy director for disarmament and nonproliferation, said in a March 16 email to Arms Control Today, “In order to remain relevant and effective it is critical that the treaty, which has long been at the center of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, doesn’t become stagnant. Simply reiterating commitments is not enough; there must be momentum and progress.”

Diplomats cited a number of challenges that could inhibit progress at the meeting, including a lack of trust among member states, the global security environment, and North Korea’s illegal nuclear and missile programs.

Given these challenges, several disarmament representatives encouraged member states to concentrate on areas of common interest.

Robert Wood, the U.S. ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, chided those pursuing “unrealistic agendas that cannot gain consensus” in a March 26 email to Arms Control Today. The United States will continue to remind states that “that disarmament efforts cannot be divorced from the broader international security environment,” he wrote.

Eriksson suggested focusing on “practical measures to reduce risks, enhance transparency and build confidence.” Other officials echoed the need for practical measures. Both Nobushige Takamizawa, Japanese permanent representative to the Conference on Disarmament (CD), and an official in the German foreign ministry, who commented on a nonattribution basis, recommended member states include a focus on implementing previously agreed steps, including the 2010 action plan.

States are already considering how to bridge divides, such as the advancement of disarmament, which could threaten conference unity. The committee will be the first gathering of NPT states-parties since the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in September 2017, which is opposed by nuclear-weapon states. (See ACT, October 2017.)

Walsh, whose government was one of leading negotiators of the 2017 treaty, stated that, at the committee meetings, Ireland would “continue to emphasize the synergies that exist” between the prohibition treaty and the NPT and hopes that the sessions “will offer an opportunity to dispel any suggestion that states that were actively to the fore in negotiating the [prohibition treaty] are somehow disengaging from the NPT.”

Takamizawa encouraged all nuclear-weapon states to take “concrete disarmament measures, even small
steps that they can accomplish on a voluntary basis.”

Hans Brattskar, permanent representative of Norway to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, pointed to the success of cooperative measures between nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states, such as on nuclear disarmament verification. “From a Norwegian perspective, it is essential to foster the confidence needed for balanced, mutual, irreversible and verifiable reductions of nuclear arsenals in the future,” he said.

Meanwhile, another disarmament body, the long-stalled CD, agreed on Feb. 16 to create subsidiary bodies to take forward a substantive program of work. The 65-member body, which operates on consensus, last agreed to programs of work in 2009 and in 1998.

Five subsidiary committees were established to address the cessation of the nuclear arms race, the prevention of nuclear war, the prevention of an arms race in outer space, effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon states against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, new types of weapons of mass destruction, a comprehensive program of disarmament, and transparency in armaments.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in a Feb. 16 statement, welcomed the move and urged CD members to “redouble their efforts and forge a new consensus for disarmament.” In his email, Bugajski also praised the development, but recommended “caution and patience,” given the failure of the body to implement the program of work adopted in 2009.

On March 15, the CD deadlocked over the coordinators for the five bodies, but after intensive consultations, the matter was resolved by adjusting the program of work.

“As a former French delegate to the CD, I can confirm that, oftentimes, procedural issues are a fig leaf for substantive differences,” wrote Marc Finaud, senior program adviser at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, in a Feb. 16 email to Arms Control Today.

 

Posted: April 1, 2018

Timeline of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)

February 2018

Contact: Daryl KimballExecutive Director, (202) 463-7280 x107; Kingston ReifDirector for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy, (202) 463-7280 x104

Updated: February 2018

The nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) which entered into force in March 1970, seeks to inhibit the spread of nuclear weapons. Its 190 states-parties are classified in two categories: nuclear-weapon states (NWS) consisting of the United States, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom—and non-nuclear-weapon states (NNWS). Under the treaty, all states-parties commit to pursue general and complete disarmament, and the NNWS agree to forgo developing or acquiring nuclear weapons. These are the first two “pillars” of the treaty. The third pillar ensures that states-parties can access and develop nuclear technology for peaceful applications.
 
With its near-universal membership, the NPT has the widest adherence of any arms control agreement, with only South Sudan, India, Israel, and Pakistan remaining outside the treaty. The treaty, which was indefinitely extended in 1995, calls for a review conference every five years to assess progress on achieving the treaties key objectives and provide opportunities to discuss new measures to strengthen the treaty. For more information on the NPT, see The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty at a Glance.
 
The following timeline provides a brief history of events related to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty from the 1950s to the present.

 


Skip to:  1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s

1950s

Franz Matsch, Austria’s permanent representative to the UN and Paul Robert Jolles, executive secretary of the 18-nation Preparatory Commission for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), sign a conference agreement to secure facilities for the first General Conference of the IAEA on July 24, 1957 in Vienna. (UN Photo/MB)July 29, 1957: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) comes into existence with the mission of promoting and overseeing the peaceful use of nuclear technology. President Dwight Eisenhower had called for the creation of such an agency in his December 1953 “Atoms for Peace” proposal. 

October 17, 1958: Ireland proposes the first resolution at the United Nations to prohibit the “further dissemination of nuclear weapons.” Back to Top

1960s

December 4, 1961: The UN General Assembly unanimously approves Resolution 1665, which is based on the earlier Irish draft resolution and calls for negotiations to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to additional states. The resolution says that countries already having nuclear weapons would “undertake to refrain from relinquishing control” of them to others and would refrain “from transmitting information for their manufacture to States not possessing” them. Countries without nuclear weapons would agree not to receive or manufacture them. These ideas formed the basis of the NPT.

President John Kennedy addresses the press in March 1963 in Washington, D.C. (National Archive/Newsmakers)March 21, 1963: In a press conference, President John Kennedy warns, “I see the possibility in the 1970s of the president of the United States having to face a world in which 15 or 20 or 25 nations may have [nuclear] weapons. I regard that as the greatest possible danger and hazard.” Kennedy made this statement a month after a secret Department of Defense memorandum assessed that eight countries—Canada, China, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Sweden, and West Germany—would likely have the ability to produce nuclear weapons within 10 years. The study also calculated that, beyond 10 years, the future costs of nuclear weapons programs would diminish and that several more states would likely be able to pursue nuclear weapons, especially if unrestricted testing continued. The risks of such proliferation, which the existing nuclear powers sought to curtail or prevent, largely served as an impetus for drafting the NPT. Today the IAEA assesses that nearly 30 states are capable of developing nuclear weapons, but only nine states are known to possess them.

August 17, 1965: The United States submits to the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Committee its first draft proposal to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. The Soviet Union submits its first draft a month later.

February 14, 1967: The Treaty of Tlatelolco, establishing Latin America and the Caribbean as a nuclear-weapon-free zone, is opened for signature. It is the first of five such regional zones to be negotiated. The other zones cover Africa, Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, and Central Asia. For more information, see Nuclear Weapons Free Zones at a Glance.

August 24, 1967: The United States and Soviet Union separately introduce identical draft treaties to the Eighteen Nation Committee on Disarmament on preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. Circa 1967: Israel secretly acquires the capability to build a nuclear explosive device. 

June 12, 1968: The UN General Assembly adopts Resolution 2373, endorsing the draft text of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). The vote was 95 to 4 with 21 abstentions. The four no votes were Albania, Cuba, Tanzania, and Zambia.

July 1, 1968: The NPT is opened for signature and is signed by the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Article IX of the treaty established that entry into force would require the treaty’s ratification by those three countries (the treaty’s depositories) and 40 additional states. China and France, the other two recognized nuclear-weapon states under the treaty, do not sign it. China argued the treaty was discriminatory and refused to sign or adhere to it. France, on the other hand, indicated that it would not sign the treaty but “would behave in the future in this field exactly as the States adhering to the Treaty.” Both states acceded to the treaty in 1992. Back to Top

1970s

March 5, 1970: The NPT enters into force with 46 states-parties.

A crater marks the site of India’s May 18, 1974 underground nuclear test at Pokhran in the desert state of Rajasthan. (Punjab Photo/AFP/Getty Images)

September 3, 1974: The IAEA publishes the “trigger list” developed by the Zangger Committee, identifying nuclear items that require IAEA safeguards as a condition of export.

May 30, 1975: The 91 states-parties to the NPT hold the treaty’s first review conference. The treaty members decide to hold such conferences to review the implementation of the treaty every five years.

January 11, 1978: States participating in the voluntary Nuclear Suppliers Group provide the IAEA with a common set of guidelines they will follow in making nuclear exports. The IAEA publishes the guidelines the next month. For more information, see The Nuclear Suppliers Group at a GlanceBack to Top

1980s

Kazakhstani citizens gather to demand a nuclear test ban at the Soviet nuclear test site near Semipalatinsk in August 1989. (UN Photo/MB)The decade was dominated by the Cold War superpower competition of the United States and the Soviet Union. Much of the world held its collective breath during the first years of the decade as tensions and the nuclear arms race heated up between the two rivals, leading to popular anti-nuclear protests worldwide and the nuclear freeze movement in the United States. The international community exhaled a bit in the second half of the decade as the United States and the Soviet Union earnestly sat down at the arms negotiating table and for the first time eliminated an entire category of nuclear weapons through the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The two countries also proceeded to negotiate cuts to their strategic nuclear forces, which ultimately would be realized in the landmark 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Although the U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms race was center stage, efforts to advance and constrain the nuclear weapons ambitions and programs of other countries played out in the wings, sometimes as part of the superpower drama. For instance, the United States shunted nonproliferation concerns aside in ignoring Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program because of that country’s role in fighting Soviet forces inside Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Iraq, North Korea, and South Africa advanced their nuclear weapons efforts in relative secrecy. In this decade, Iran began to secretly acquire uranium-enrichment-related technology from Pakistani suppliers. Taiwan’s covert nuclear weapons program, however, was squelched by U.S. pressure. Other nonproliferation gains included a joint declaration by Argentina and Brazil to pursue nuclear technology only for peaceful purposes, alleviating fears of a nuclear arms race between the two, and the conclusion of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the South Pacific. Moreover, the NPT added 30 new states-parties during the decade, including North Korea.

September 7, 1980: The second NPT review conference adopts its final document.

September 25, 1985: The third NPT review conference adopts its final documentBack to Top

 

1990s

The UN Security Council votes on Resolution 687 mandating intrusive inspections in Iraq on April 3, 1991 in New York. (UN Photo/Saw Lwin)

October 4, 1990: The fourth NPT review conference adopts its final document.

April 3, 1991: The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 687 requiring Iraq to eliminate its secret nuclear weapons program, which was revealed after the Iraqi defeat in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Iraq had illegally pursued the weapons program despite being an NPT state-party. Following the adoption of Resolution 687, the IAEA gained a greater understanding of Iraq’s clandestine program and dismantled and sealed its remnants. The realization that Iraq pursued such a program undetected in spite of agency inspections served as a key impetus to strengthen IAEA safeguards. That effort eventually produced the Model Additional Protocol. The IAEA maintained a presence in Iraq until its inspectors were forced to withdraw in late 1998 on the eve of U.S. and British military strikes against Iraq. 

July 10, 1991: South Africa accedes to the NPT. Two years later, the South African government admits that it had covertly built six completed nuclear devices and then dismantled them before joining the accord. The move to get rid of the weapons was seen as preparation for the coming end of apartheid rule.

March 9, 1992: China accedes to the NPT.

May 23, 1992: Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine sign the Lisbon Protocol committing to join the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon states. All three had nuclear weapons when they were Soviet republics. On December 5, 1994, Ukraine becomes the last of the three to accede to the NPT. For more information, see The Lisbon Protocol at a Glance.

August 3, 1992: France, the last of the five recognized nuclear-weapon states, accedes to the NPT.

March 12, 1993: North Korea announces its intention to withdraw from the NPT, but it suspends that withdrawal on June 11, 1993.

April 1, 1993: The IAEA declares North Korea in noncompliance with its safeguards obligations and refers Pyongyang to the UN Security Council.

April 11, 1995: The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 984 acknowledging the unilateral pledges by the five nuclear-weapon states not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states-parties to the NPT. The move is seen as a way to win greater support for the possible indefinite extension of the treaty.

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty states-parties vote to extend the treaty indefinitely May 11, 1995 at  UN Headquarters in New York. (Jon Levy/AFP/Getty Images)May 11, 1995: At the fifth NPT review conference, states-parties agree to the treaty’s indefinite extension. Article X of the NPT called for a conference of states-parties to be held 25 years after the treaty’s entry into force in order to determine whether the treaty would remain in force indefinitely or for other additional periods of time. This conference was held in 1995 and began with considerable uncertainty regarding the nature of any extension. Non-nuclear-weapon states, particularly developing countries belonging to the Nonaligned Movement, expressed disappointment with the lack of progress toward nuclear disarmament and feared that a decision to extend the treaty indefinitely would by default enable the nuclear-armed states to hold on to their nuclear arsenals in perpetuity and avoid any accountability in eliminating them. At the conference, Indonesia and South Africa proposed tying the treaty’s indefinite extension to a decision to strengthen the treaty review process. They also linked it to establishment of a set of principles and objectives on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament to hold NPT states-parties, particularly the nuclear-weapon states, accountable to their commitments. These principles and objectives include completion of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and negotiations on the cutoff of fissile material production for weapons purposes. The conference also adopted a resolution calling for establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. This resolution was intended to win support for the indefinite NPT extension from Arab states, which objected to Israel’s status outside the NPT and its assumed possession of nuclear weapons. Although only a majority of states-parties was required to approve the indefinite extension, the agreed package of decisions obtained enough support that such a vote was not required.

Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto signs the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty September 24, 1996 at UN Headquarters in New York. (Tim Clary/AFP/Getty Images)September 24, 1996: The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty outlawing nuclear explosions is opened for signature. The treaty has yet to enter into force because not all of the requisite states, including China, India, Pakistan, and the United States, have ratified it. For more information, see The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty at a Glance.

May 15, 1997: The IAEA adopts the Model Additional Protocol, a voluntary safeguards agreement for a state to give the agency greater powers to verify that illegal nuclear weapons-related activities are not taking place inside that state. The protocol was developed in response to Iraq’s and North Korea’s illicit actions under the treaty. For more information, see The 1997 Additional Protocol at a Glance. Back to Top

 

2000s

May 22, 2000: The NPT states-parties agree to a final document at the sixth review conference that outlines the so-called 13 steps for progress toward nuclear disarmament, including an “unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals.”

January 10, 2003: North Korea announces its withdrawal from the NPT. North Korea initially announced its intent to withdraw from the NPT a decade earlier following suspicions of NPT violations. After holding talks with the United States, North Korea suspended that withdrawal in June 1993, just a day before it would have come into effect. It further agreed to give up its nuclear weapons program under a 1994 agreement with the United States. Following the collapse of that agreement in 2002, North Korea declared January 10, 2003, that, with only one day remaining of its previous three-month notification requirement to withdraw from the NPT, its withdrawal would come into effect a day later. Although the legality of North Korea’s process of withdrawal remains in question, subsequent calls by the UN and the IAEA for Pyongyang to return to the NPT demonstrate a recognition that it is currently outside the treaty. Article X of the NPT recognizes the right of states to withdraw from the treaty if that party’s “supreme interests” are jeopardized by “extraordinary events.” States are required to give notice three months in advance before such a withdrawal would take effect. In light of North Korea’s withdrawal and subsequent development of nuclear weapons, the 2005 NPT review conference considered ways to ensure that states that withdraw from the treaty are not able to use technologies and materials obtained while an NPT state-party to pursue nuclear weapons. 

June 6, 2003: The IAEA issues a report detailing Iranian clandestine nuclear activities that Tehran failed to report to the agency, in violation of its safeguards agreement.

December 19, 2003: Libya announces that it will dismantle its WMD programs, including a secret nuclear weapons program, and agrees to IAEA inspections and adherence to an additional protocol. 

May 2, 2005: The seventh NPT review conference opened at the United Nations in New York.

September 19, 2005: North Korea commits to abandoning its nuclear weapons and programs and returning to the NPT and to IAEA safeguards in an agreement of the six-party talks on North Korean denuclearization.

September 24, 2005: The IAEA finds Iran in noncompliance with its safeguards obligations after nearly two years of inspections into its undeclared nuclear activities. The agency in February 2006 refers Iran to the UN Security Council, which adopts three sanctions resolutions against Iran over the next two years. IAEA investigations continue into Iran’s past and current nuclear activities.

During a May 25 press briefing in Seoul, a South Korean meteorological official displays charts that demonstrate the sudden spike in seismic activity at the time of North Korea’s nuclear test earlier that day. (Park Yeong-Dae/AFP/Getty Images)

September 6, 2008: The Nuclear Suppliers Group agrees to permit trade in nuclear material and technology with India, despite that country’s status as a nonparty to the NPT and de facto nuclear-weapon state. Back to Top

2010s

May 3-28 2010: The eighth NPT review conference takes place. For more information, see the 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference factsheet.

February 5, 2011: The New START treaty enters into force. The US and Russia agree to reduce strategic and offensive arms. The treaty’s central limits must be reached by February 5, 2018. New START reduces the number of deployed nuclear warheads that each state can have to 1,550 each. For more information, see New START at a Glance.

June 2011: The United Kingdom announces voluntary planned reductions in its deployed nuclear forces set to be accomplished by early 2015. When complete, the United Kingdom will have 120 deployed strategic warheads, with 60 warheads in reserve to support the maintenance and management of the operational force. All excess warheads will be dismantled by the mid-2020s.

November 2012: The conveners (Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and the UN) of a conference to establish a weapons of mass destruction free zone in the Middle East announce that the conference will be postponed because not all states in the region agree on an agenda for the conference.

March 2013: Norway hosts the first Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, with participation from 127 states. The conference focused on scientific findings on the impact of nuclear weapons use on humans, the environment, and global climate. The five recognized nuclear weapon states (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) all decide not to attend.

February 2013: A second conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons is held in Mexico, with 146 states in attendance. The conference called for greater efforts on disarmament and an initiative to reach new international standards and norms to prohibit the use of nuclear weapons. The nuclear weapon states do not participate in the conference. 

May 2014: All five nuclear weapon states sign the protocol for the Central Asian Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (CANFWZ) treaty. The CANFWZ applies to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

November 2014: France ratifies the CANFWZ.

December 2014: A third conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons is held in Vienna. The US and the UK decide to attend and China choses to send an observer. Over 150 countries and several international and civil society organizations participate. Over 60 countries sign a pledge to cooperate to “stigmatize, prohibit, and eliminate” nuclear weapons.

January 2015: The United Kingdom ratifies the CANFWZ.

April 27-May 22, 2015: The ninth Review Conference for the NPT is held at the UN in New York, but it ends May 22 without agreement on a final conference document as key states parties could not bridge differences on the process for convening a conference on a WMD-free zone in the Middle East and disagreements between the nuclear-weapon states and nonnuclear weapons states over the pace of implementation of Article VI of the treaty and action steps agreed at the 2010 conference. After nearly four weeks of sometimes acrimonious negotiations the conference president, Ambassador Taous Feroukhi of Algeria, presented a consolidated draft final document for adoption by consensus on the final day of the meeting. But the United States, the U.K. and Canada announced in the in final hours they could not support the formula presented in the document for pursuing a conference to discuss the Middle East zone. 

With the five nuclear weapon states either unable or unwilling to make further disarmament commitments, a group of 107 states endorsed a statement, known as the “Humanitarian Pledge,” which calls on states "to identify and pursue effective measures to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons."

July 14, 2015: Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) conclude the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to curtail Iran sensitive  nuclear fuel cycle activities under strengthened safegaurds.

November 2016: UN General Assembly First Committee approves a resolution for a negotiating conference on a treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons by a vote of 123-38 with 16 abstentions. 

July 7, 2017: The second and final round of negotiations on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons concluded with states voting 122-1-1 to adopt the treaty.

September 20, 2017: The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is opened for signature. 

February 5, 2018: Central limits on strategic nuclear forces imposed by New START take effect. Both Russia and the United States meet the limits

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Nuclear/Ballistic Missile Nonproliferation

Posted: February 4, 2018

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