Center for Arms Control

Non-Proliferation

Non-Proliferation



Atomic bomb explosion in the Marshall Islands. National Archives.

Since entering into force in 1970, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the NPT, has remained the cornerstone of the international nonproliferation regime. In creating a system of mutual responsibilities and an international taboo against the use or threat to use nuclear weapons, the NPT has proven largely successful in stemming proliferation.

But the nonproliferation regime faces new challenges: insufficient protections against the theft or sale of various nuclear materials in states of the former Soviet Union; nuclear black market activity such as the network operated by A.Q. Khan out of Pakistan; threats by North Korea to share nuclear technology with states or non-state actors hostile to the U.S.; and, most recently, violations of IAEA nuclear safeguard standards by Iran, a signatory of the NPT which is enriching uranium and has been accused of engaging in activities related to nuclear weapons research and design. Iran argues that it is making nuclear fuel for purely civilian purposes.

The threat of nuclear terrorism is producing additional challenges to the NPT regime, particularly in the areas of securing and safeguarding nuclear weapons material.

Many experts agree that some type of nonproliferation regime reform is necessary, particularly since certain states have interpreted the NPT as allowing them to acquire nuclear technologies that take them to the brink of acquiring an actual nuclear weapon without explicitly violating the treaty, sometimes referred to as a "breakout capability." Withdrawing from the NPT also carries no penalty, save possible ad hoc action taken by the U.N. Security Council.

CENTER EXPERT

John Isaacs

John Isaacs

Senior Fellow
202-546-0795 ext. 2222
jdi AT armscontrolcenter DOT org


RECENT ANALYSIS

Jan 14, 2015

Analysis: Funding Reductions for Nuclear Non-Proliferation

In the final appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2015, Congress made a $337 million reduction in spending on nuclear non-proliferation programs. Executive Director Angela Canterbury and Scoville Fellow Greg Terryn have provided a breakdown of the programs and the funding reductions.

Nov 4, 2014

International Business Times Cites Ed Levine's Analysis of Kirk-Menendez Bill

The International Business Times cited National Advisory Board member Ed Levine's analysis of the Kirk-Menendez bill, which could derail diplomacy with Iran over it's nuclear program by creating obstacles to relieving Iran from sanctions.

Oct 30, 2014

Finalizing the FY 2015 National Defense Authorization (NDAA): Key Issues for Congress

As the House and Senate begin to work behind the scenes to write a final bill of the National Defense Authorization Act, it should take the enclosed seven steps recommended by the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.

Oct 29, 2014

Business Insider Publishes Post by Sarah Tully on North Korea's Nuclear Program

For over a year, the U.S. has been all eyes on Iran, but is this distracting us from states that already have nuclear weapons—such as the ever-unpredictable North Korea? On the Nukes of Hazard blog, Sarah Tully suggests that the DPRK’s nuclear program is “flying under the radar” while the U.S. spends its days engaging Iran and refusing to engage North Korea. The post was most recently published in the Business Insider.

Oct 25, 2014

The Diplomat Cites Center Fact Sheet on North Korea

The Center's factsheet on North Korea's nuclear program was cited in a The Diplomat article published last week. The article was published after Gen. Curtis Scaparotti revealed his confidence in North Korea's ability to place a nuclear warhead on a missile.

Aug 19, 2014

The Washington Post publishes Letter to the Editor on Military Escalation in Iraq by Angela Canterbury

"If a U.S. military engagement had been designed as a limited strategy to rescue Yazidis and to evacuate U.S. personnel, we would have reacted differently," writes Angela Canterbury, Executive Director of CACNP. "But the open-ended nature of the stated mission was and continues to be alarming."

Aug 15, 2014

Senate Appropriators Defy Administration on Nukes

A summary and analysis of the FY 2015 Senate Appropriations Committee Energy and Water Bill and report.

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