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- To extend the NPT indefinitely
- Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament to guide member states
- Enhanced review process for future review conferences
- To endorse the establishment of a WMD free zone in the Middle East.
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons...
Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes...not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices
Articles I and II, Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
The NPT is signed by Walter Wodak, Austrian Ambassador to the USSR, on 1 July 1968.
The NPT is the most widely accepted nuclear arms control treaty with 187 parties today. The almost-universal Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, referred to as the NPT, requires the five declared nuclear weapons states (US, Russia, UK, France, China) to not transfer nuclear weapons technoligies to any non-nuclear state. In turn, non-nuclear states pledge not to acquire or produce any nuclear explosive devices on their own. They must accept safeguards to detect diversions of nuclear materials from peaceful activities, such as power production, to the production of weapons.
Safeguards and monitoring compliance are overseen by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). All nuclear materials in civilian facilities must be declared to the IAEA. The IAEA's inspectors have routine access to a state's nuclear facilities for inspections.
The Treaty's three primary goals are:
1. Nonproliferation - Prevent the further spread of nuclear weapons
The nuclear weapons states (NWS) agree not to transfer nuclear weapons technology to other states. Non-NWS states agree not to pursue nuclear weaponss. In addition, the NWS states pledge not to use their nuclear weapons against non-NWS states except in response to a nuclear attack, or a conventional attack when allied with a NWS.
However, the U.S. has said it may use nuclear weapons in response to a non-conventional attack by a "rogue state." The former UK Secretary of State for Defense, Geoff Hoon, has also indicated the same position of the UK. In January 2006, President Jacques Chirac of France said that a state-sponsored terrorist attack on France could lead to small-scale nuclear retaliation targeting critical areas of the "rogue state" sponsor.
The leaders of states who would use terrorist means against us, as well as those who would envision using . . . weapons of mass destruction, must understand that they would lay themselves open to a firm and fitting response on our part."French President Jacques Chirac, January 19, 2006
However, if a nation judges that it is within its supreme interest to withdraw from the NPT, it is permitted under Article X(1).
Each Party shall in exercising its national sovereignty have the right to withdraw from the Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interest of its country.Article X, Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
According to Mohamed ElBaradei, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency and recipient of the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize, at least 40 countries have the capacity to produce nuclear weapons if they wanted to. The only restraints on them are their own good intentions to comply with international pressure.
Some estimates indicate that 40 countries or more now have the know-how to produce nuclear weapons... We are relying primarily on the continued good intentions of these countries, intentions, which ... could ... be subject to rapid change.Mohamed ElBaradei, Director-General, International Atomic Energy Agency, 20 Sept 2004
2. Peaceful use of nuclear technology - Facilitate international cooperation in the peaceful uses of atomic energy under the careful watch of the IAEA
The NPT allows enrichment of uranium for energy purposes. The treaty gives every state the right to utilize nuclear energy for peaceful ends. The IAEA is responsible for conducting inspections and safeguards to ensure that states do not abuse this right to enrich uranium with the intention of constructing nuclear weapons.
Popular light water nuclear reactors use enriched nuclear fuel, which states may purchase on the international market. The more controversial heavy water reactors result in products which can be used as weapons grade fuel for a nuclear explosive device. Iran's heavy water reactor at Arak has caused considerable debate in the international community.
A satellite photograph showing construction of a heavy water reactor at Arak, Iran
3. Disarmament - Encourage negotiations on nuclear weapons arms control
At the signing of the NPT, there existed an understanding that the nuclear weapons states would undertake to reduce their arsenal sizes and ultimately disarm entirely. Many non-nuclear weapons states are not happy with the nuclear weapons states efforts to fulfill this obligation.
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.Article VI, Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
As of 2006, 187 nations were parties to the NPT. Cuba, Isreal, India, Pakistan, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) are the only countries that are not members of the NPT.
Iran is accused of violating the NPT and the associated IAEA safeguards agreement. On February 4, 2006 the IAEA Board of Governors voted to refer Iran to United Nations Security Council over concern that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons.
The Treaty was opened for signature on July 1, 1968. It was immediately signed by the US, the UK, the Soviet Union, and 59 other nations. The Treaty entered into full legal force upon US ratification on March 5, 1970. China joined the NPT on March 9, 1992, and France joined August 3, 1992. The Soviet Union was succeeded by the Russian Federation in 1996.
On May 11, 1995, more than 170 nations attended the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference at the site of the UN headquarters in New York. The nations agreed to the following:
To view the full text of the treaty, click here.
- "ISIS Imagery Brief: Update on Construction Activities at Arak 40 MW Heavy Water Reactor." Institute for Science and International Security. 4 Mar 2005. 6 Apr 2006. <http://www.isis-online.org/publications/iran/arakconstruction.html> Used with permission.
- "Signing of the NPT." International Atomic Energy Agency. 2004. 6 May 2006. <http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Magazines/Bulletin/Bull462/what_next.html> Released into Public Domain.
- Anderson, John Ward. "Iran To Face Security Council." Washington Post. 5 Feb.
2006. 2 Mar. 2006 <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/
- Moore, Molly. "Chirac: Nuclear Response to Terrorism Is Possible." Washington
Post. 20 Jan. 2006. 2 Mar. 2006 <http://www.washingtonpost.com/
- “Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. 8 Mar. 2006 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Non-Proliferation_Treaty>
- Sherman, Robert. "Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT]." FAS. 28 Feb. 2006
- Sherman, Robert. "Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT] Chronology." FAS. 28 Feb. 2006 <http://www.fas.org/nuke/control/npt/chron>
- "U.N.'s ElBaradei: 40 Nations Can Make Nuclear Weapons." NewsMax. 24 Sept. 2004.
3 Mar. 2006 <http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/9/20/