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.

RECENT ANALYSIS

Apr 1, 2014

Mother Jones Story on Nuclear Non-Proliferation Funding Cuts Quotes Center Spokesman

"It's misplaced priorities across the board," says James Lewis, communications director for the Center For Arms Control And Non-Proliferation. The nation's nuclear weapons complex "is just such a massive behemoth that there really isn't money for anything else."

Apr 1, 2014

Global Security Newswire Story on Nuclear Security Cooperations with Russia Quotes Kingston Reif

Kingston Reif, a policy analyst with the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, said in an email that the decision to rescind the request for the laser technology "raises questions" about whether Pentagon and NNSA officials are reconsidering moving forward with other nonproliferation projects in Russia.

Mar 31, 2014

Roll Call Publishes OpEd on Nuclear Material Security by Gen. George A. Buskirk & Board Member, Alexandra Toma

"Preventing one of the major threats of our time currently relies on a voluntary mishmash of security arrangements — we can and should do much better. Bolder action is needed to strengthen the persistent weak links in the chain to prevent the world’s most dangerous materials from falling into the wrong hands. Congress must now rise to the challenge. There is much work to be done," writes Gen. George A. Buskirk & Alexandra Toma for Roll Call.

Kingston Reif

CENTER EXPERTS

Kingston Reif

Director of Nuclear Non-Proliferation
202-546-0795 ext.2103
kreif AT armscontrolcenter DOT org


Duyeon Kim

Duyeon Kim

Deputy Director of Nuclear Non-Proliferation
202-546-0795
dkim AT armscontrolcenter DOT org


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