Head over to the Center’s website to see the new factsheet Kingston and I co-authored on the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT).
The proposed FMCT is one of the many nonproliferation initiatives that languished during the Bush years. It was first discussed in the 1946 Acheson-Lilienthal Report on the international control of atomic energy and the Baruch Plan. President Obama breathed new life into the idea in his Prague speech on April 5.
In short, the FMCT would ban the production of all fissile material suitable for use in nuclear weapons. It could also address existing stockpiles earmarked for blend-down or for use in nuclear powered subs. All five Nuclear Weapons States stopped production of weapons-grade fissile material by 1996, and all five support a verifiable FMCT.
Discussions on the FMCT are carried out through the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD). The initiative has been stalled several times since the official resumption of talks in 1995. Israel has said that it opposes any FMCT that doesn’t address the Iranian nuclear threat. Pakistan opposes an FMCT without limits on stockpiles because it is concerned that India’s current stockpile is larger than its own.
With so many seemingly immovable roadblocks, agreement on the FMCT is a ways off. But it has been a fixture in nonproliferation circles since the inception of nuclear weapons technology and efforts to bring it to fruition will continue, particularly now that Obama is in charge.