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HOME > TOPICS > The Nonproliferation Regime      
The Nonproliferation Regime

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons or Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) represents three basic bargains. The first is encapsulated in Articles One and Two of the treaty. They prohibit states with nuclear weapons from transferring them or the means to make them to states that lack nuclear weapons, and ban nonweapons states from acquiring them. The second NPT bargain is set forth in Articles Three, Four, and Six. These articles stipulate that the nuclear weapons states will negotiate in good faith to disarm and will share the benefits of peaceful nuclear energy with nonweapons states. In exchange, the nonweapons states pledge not to acquire nuclear weapons and to allow international inspections of their civilian nuclear facilities and materials to verify whether non-nuclear weapons states are in compliance with the treaty and are not diverting peaceful nuclear activities or materials to make nuclear weapons.

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Sep 20, 2012 Gold Standard Letter to the President
NPEC signed a letter with other notables to President Obama expressing concern that the U.S. will not pursue the "Gold Standard" in negotiations for civil nuclear cooperation agreements with Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Jordan, Vietnam, and other non-nuclear-weapon states. The letter urges President Obama to require the "Gold Standard" in all future nuclear cooperation agreements with states that lack nuclear weapons.
Official Docs & Letters
Aug 02, 2012 Susan Voss: Tracking Nuclear Proliferation within a Commercial Power Program
As speculation rises about if and when Israel might strike Iran's nuclear program, it's worth considering how Iran got to where it is now with its program. Iran started in earnest with its nuclear efforts by initiating a nuclear power reactor construction program at Bushehr. Such "peaceful" projects are "bomb starter kits" in a number of ways. First, the reactors themselves can be used to make significant quantities of nuclear weapons-usable plutonium. Second, and easily as important in Iran's case, they can be used as covers to acquire the training, equipment, material, and technologies needed to do far more than boil water. This latter point is one that President Bill Clinton and Ambassador John Bolton both emphasized. Specifically, though, what does it mean? Attached is an NPEC working paper by Susan Voss, "Tracking Nuclear Proliferation within a Commercial Power Program," which tells the tale in critical detail. Ms. Voss, who was an analyst at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and is currently the President of the Global Nuclear Network Analysis, LLC, is one of the nation's top experts on Iran's civilian nuclear program and how Iran used it to acquire all that it needed to edge ever closer to acquiring nuclear weapons. It's quite revealing how brazen Iran was in using its program to secure Russian nuclear fuel and nuclear weapons-related technology and training in relative plain sight. By revealing and analyzing these transactions, Ms. Voss also spotlights what the intelligence requirements must be for any serious nonproliferation effort. This is an area we still need to work on.
Working Papers & Monographs
Jul 23, 2012 How Much Tighter Must the NPT Be?
When it comes to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), it is fashionable to argue that it needs "strengthening." The question, after the nuclear crises in Iran and North Korea and the opening of civilian nuclear trade with India, which never signed the NPT, is how much? Is the treaty in its current form sufficient to stem the proliferation threats of the next 10 to 30 years? If not, what reforms, if any, must it and its implementation undergo? NPEC and the Foreign Policy Initiative co-hosted a lunch seminar on Capitol Hill to present the answers from Victor Gilinsky, who authored "Serious Rules for Nuclear Power without Proliferation" with Henry Sokolski; Jamie Fly of the Foreign Policy Initiative, who worked on nuclear proliferation issues as a member of the Bush 43 National Security Council; and George Perkovich, who directs the Nuclear Policy Program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. NPEC released the preliminary findings of its two-year project on nuclear nonproliferation policy, Nuclear Nonproliferation: Moving Beyond Pretense at the event.
Audio & Video
Jul 20, 2012 Victor Gilinsky: The NPT's Checkered Past: What Does it Suggest?
Victor Gilinsky's presentation for NPEC's July Dinner Seminar.
Jun 14, 2012 Patrick Roberts: Can IAEA Safeguards Work if Nuclear Power Grows?
NPEC recently commissioned a study, "How Well Will the IAEA Be Able to Safeguard More Nuclear Materials in More States?" by Patrick Roberts of Virginia Tech to examine the assumption that if the IAEA has proper access, it should be able to safeguard against diversions. Dr. Roberts has been studying the workings of the IAEA both here and overseas for nearly two years. His conclusion is that in many cases, IAEA safeguards may not be up to the task, and that the number of these occasions is likely to increase as nuclear plants are built in a larger number of countries unless fundamental reforms to the agency are made. Among his key recommendations are that the IAEA develop clearer performance metrics for its safeguards system, that the agency's authorities to inspect be increased, and that its safeguards efforts be backed not just with more resources, but with more predictable, firm enforcement measures by the United Nations Security Council.
Working Papers & Monographs
May 29, 2012 NPEC's Executive Director Speaks at a May 16 Hill Event on the Gold Standard
Ambassador John Bolton, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, & a panel of experts back the Gold Standard at a Hill Event.
Audio & Video
May 23, 2012 Olli Heinonen: IAEA Inspections in Perspective
 Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow, the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, presented this paper at a conference, "Reassessing the Assumptions Driving Our Current Nuclear Nonproliferation Policies," hosted by NPEC on May 21, 2012.
Working Papers & Monographs
Apr 04, 2012 François Heisbourg: How Bad Would the Further Spread of Nuclear Weapons Be?
François Heisbourg, chairman of IISS, presented a preliminary version of this paper at a conference, "Reassessing Nuclear Nonproliferation's Key Premises," cohosted by NPEC and the Legatum Institute in London, Great Britain, November 3-4, 2011.
Working Papers & Monographs
Feb 14, 2012 NPEC's Executive Director Signs Letter to Urge Obama to Back Gold Standard
The Nonproliferation Policy Education Center and the Foreign Policy Initiative worked together on a letter to the President asking him to reconsider his decision to abandon the "Gold Standard" in favor of a case-by-case review. The Gold Standard requires non-nuclear weapons states to forgo uranium enrichment as well as spent-fuel reprocessing, and open themselves up to intrusive international inspections. NPEC and FPI argue that dropping the gold standard approach undermines global non-proliferation efforts and emboldens Iran because if the U.S. is willing to allow Vietnam and Jordan to make nuclear fuel, how will it convince Iran to refrain from doing this?
Official Docs & Letters
Feb 07, 2012 Obama Turns Bush's Nonproliferation Gold Standard into Lead
In an op-ed published by the National Review, NPEC's Executive Director looks into Obama's policy reversal and argues that leading and leaning on key nuclear suppliers to adopt the Gold Standard is our only option. Moreover, if the U.S. allows Jordan, Vietnam, South Korea, or Saudi Arabia to make nuclear fuel, it can forget about preventing any other country, including Iran, from doing so.
Op-Eds & Blogs
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The Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC), is a 501 (c)3 nonpartisan, nonprofit, educational organization
founded in 1994 to promote a better understanding of strategic weapons proliferation issues. NPEC educates policymakers, journalists,
and university professors about proliferation threats and possible new policies and measures to meet them.
1600 Wilson Blvd. | Suite 640 | Arlington, VA 22209 | phone: 571-970-3187 |