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Old Sunday, February 13, 2011
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Default Nuclear Prolefration


Nuclear proliferation is one of the gravest threats
to international security in the post-Cold War world. A
nation acquiring nuclear weapons could menace
neighbouring nations and - by acquiring suitable missile
technology - could pose a far more widespread threat.
During 1994, the dangers of nuclear proliferation have
been vividly highlighted by three particular

North Korean nuclear activities and the crisis
arising from North Korea's refusal to permit
international inspection of its nuclear facilities.
Evidence of "leakage" of nuclear-related materials
from Russia and other former Soviet states.
The assertion by Pakistan's former Prime Minister,
Mr. Nava Sharif that his country had indeed created and
deployed nuclear weapons.

2. Events of this kind have underlined the importance
of dealing with nuclear proliferation and have focused
even more attention on the Non- Proliferation Treaty
(NPT) Renewal Conference which will take place in
New York in April and May 1995. At the last NPT Review
Conference in 1990, many differences emerged among the
participants to the extent that the conference closed
without producing an agreed text. Although several of
the sources of disagreement in 1990 have subsided,
renewal of the NPT is certainly not assured. And failure
to renew the NPT would be a major blow to efforts to curb
nuclear weapons proliferation.

3. The purpose of this Report is to survey recent
regional developments in nuclear proliferation and to
assess the challenges to the non-proliferation regime.
The Report concludes with recommendations for
improving the likelihood of NPT renewal and for
strengthening the non-proliferation regime.


The Middle East

The Middle East has long been regarded as a key
problem area for the non-proliferation regime. The
region's volatile combination of tension, hostility and
activity related to weapons of mass destruction poses
many serious challenges.


Israel is thought to have begun developing nuclear
weapons in the early 1970s, allegedly in co-operation
with South Africa. According to some estimates, Israel
could very rapidly make up to 100 nuclear warheads
operational. Israel maintains that it will not be the
first state in the region to introduce nuclear weapons.
This is usually taken to mean that weapons are held one
step short of final assembly. The military nuclear
programme is centred on the Dimona nuclear research
centre in the Negevdesert.
Israel has not admitted that it has a military
nuclear programme since this would no doubt lead to an
adverse international political reaction. On the other
hand, it has not sought to deny its existence too
vigorously, thereby making any potential aggressor
cautious about military confrontation.

The Iraqi nuclear programme, uncovered by United
Nations inspectors after the war to liberate Kuwait from
Iraqi occupation, showed the inadequacy of existing
international measures to control nuclear proliferation.
Iraq's progress towards building nuclear weapons
surprised the international community and was one of the
main reasons for reappraisals of proliferation controls.

Despite acceding to the Non-Proliferation Treaty in
1970, Iran is believed to have pursued a limited military
nuclear programme since the 1970s, with only a brief lull
after the 1979 Islamic revolution. There were reports in
1993 about Iranian efforts to recruit nuclear weapons
scientists and purchase nuclear weapons from the former
Soviet Union but these allegations remain

Syria has long been cited as posing a proliferation
risk. It allegedly began a military nuclear programme in
1979 and has not provided the IAEA with full information
on its nuclear activities. In 1991, China reported to
the IAEA the potential sale of a 30 KW research reactor
to Syria. The IAEA blocked the sale and Syria
subsequently reduced its nuclear activities. Economic
difficulties also seem to have played a part in the
scaling down of Syria's nuclear programme.

Libya operates a small Soviet-built research
reactor at Tadzhura about 25 kilometres from Tripoli.
Since 1980, Libyan nuclear activities have been under
IAEA safeguards. Concern about Libya, however, does
not centre on its small indigenous programme but rather
on its alleged desire to obtain a complete nuclear weapon
and to fund the development of an "Islamic bomb" by other
nations. Over the years, Libya is rumoured to have
approached China, Pakistan and India with offers to
purchase nuclear weapons. More recently, there have been
indications that Libya has been behind efforts to obtain
nuclear weapons material from the former Soviet Union.

India and Pakistan jointly pose one of the most
serious and immediate proliferation threats. Their
nuclear activities combined with political and
territorial disputes give rise to grave concern. In
testimony before the American Congress, the Director of
the Central Intelligence Agency James Woolsey said that
the arms race between India and Pakistan represents "the
most probable prospect for the future use of weapons of
mass destruction, including nuclear weapons". Both
India and Pakistan are believed to have the capacity to
build nuclear weapons in a very short space of time. As
with Israel, their denials of actual possession of
weapons are probably based on the weapons being held just
short of final assembly.

Pakistan's military nuclear programme is believed
to have begun in 1962 at the Kahuta uranium enrichment
facility. It is now thought able to assemble 5 to 10
nuclear devices, which would make it the third largest
unofficial nuclear power after Israel and India.
Pakistan claims that it has the ability to manufacture
nuclear weapons but it has made the political
decision not to do so. Shortly after her election in
1993, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto confirmed that
Pakistan would continue with its nuclear programme but
later issued a directive banning all public statements on
nuclear power.In August 1994, Navaz Sharif, who was the Prime
Minister of Pakistan for 30 months until July 1993,
declared that Pakistan had acquired a nuclear weapons
capability. He was quoted as saying "I confirm Pakistan
possesses an atomic bomb" at a rally in the disputed area
of Kashmir. He declared that any attack against Kashmir
could trigger a nuclear holocaust. Pakistan's present
Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, denounced this assertion
as a "highly irresponsible statement" but declined to
elaborate further.Other Pakistani officials then
restated the position that Pakistan had acquired the
ability to manufacture nuclear weapons but had taken a
policy decision not to do so and that the use of
nuclear technology was confined to peaceful purposes.The end of the Cold War had a substantial effect on
Pakistan's relations with nations outside South Asia.
The withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan combined
with heightened international concern about nuclear
proliferation led to increased pressure on Pakistan to
abandon its military nuclear programme and join the
Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear state. One
important factor in this process was American legislation
known as the Pressler amendment. This blocked
American military and economic assistance unless the
President certified that Pakistan did not possess nuclear
weapons. In 1990, president Bush was unable to certify
this so aid was cut off, the most significant effect
being the freezing of a delivery of F-16 aircraft which
Pakistan has partly paid for. This block is still in
place.Regarding international agreements on
non-proliferation such as acceding to the NPT or
supporting prohibitions on the production of fissile
material, Pakistan's position is that it will only
support such moves if India does likewise.

North Korea

12. On 12 March 1993, North Korea announced that it
would withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Having
acceded to the NPT in 1985, North Korea cited Article X
of the Treaty which allows a party to withdraw at three
months notice if extraordinary events jeopardize a
party's supreme national interests. That decision
followed an IAEA demand to mount a special inspection at
the Yongbyon nuclear complex that was suspected of -
among other things - housing an undeclared reprocessing
plant from which nuclear materials were being diverted
for military uses.

The Former Soviet Union

The break-up of the Soviet Union posed several
extremely important problems related to the fate of its
nuclear arsenals and extensive nuclear infrastructure.
Although only Russia among the new republics can sustain
a military nuclear weapons programme, the transition to
non-nuclear weapons status by the other republics is not

Following the break-up of the Soviet Union at the
end of 1991, former Soviet nuclear weapons remained in
Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine. In May 1992,
these republics signed the Lisbon Protocol which was
added to START I, the nuclear weapons reduction agreement
reached by the United States and the Soviet Union in July
1991. Under the Lisbon Protocol, Belarus, Kazakhstan and
Ukraine agreed to transfer all former Soviet nuclear
weapons to Russia. These republics also agreed accede to
the Non-Proliferation Treaty as non-nuclear weapons
states "in the shortest possible time".

The transfer of tactical nuclear weapons was
completed by the middle of 1992 despite disagreements
between Ukraine and Russia. It rapidly became evident
that dealing with the former Soviet Union's nuclear
legacy would severely strain the resources of the new
republics, so several Western nations began to provide
assistance. The most significant assistance is that
provided by the United States which, under its "Nunn-
Lugar" programme, allocates $400 million per year to
assist with demilitarization of all kinds. So far, $1.2
billion has been allocated. In addition, the United
States agreed to purchase the highly enriched uranium
from dismantled nuclear warheads. The proceeds of this
sale - possibly $12 billion over 20 years - are to be
distributed among the former republics according to a
formula agreed among themselves.

Russia, as the successor state to the former Soviet
Union, is a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty as
nuclear weapons state. Russia and the United States are
implementing START I and START II which will reduce their
strategic nuclear warheads to 3,500 each by the year
2003. While Russia has an impressive nuclear weapons
infrastructure, it was never intended to cope with
nuclear disarmament on the present scale. Storage
facilities for nuclear warheads and fissile material are
stretched and coping with plutonium will be especially
difficult. A Russian-American joint venture is
investigating a plutonium-burning nuclear reactor and
Japan has offered to help in this area too but such
projects will not come to fruition quickly enough to
circumvent the need for large-scale plutonium storage.

In deciding how to deal with Russia's plutonium
stockpile, a central problem is that Russia tends to
regard plutonium as an asset which has been expensive to
develop and which should therefore be used in some
way. The United States, on the other hand, tends to view
it as a liability which should be rendered unusable and
disposed of as soon and as safely as possible. In June
1994, Russia and the United States signed an
agreement on plutonium production whereby Russia agreed
to close its "dual-use" plutonium manufacturing reactors
(located in Tomsk-7 and Krasnoyarsk-26) by the year 2000.
Both nations also agreed that their military reactors
which have already been closed - this covers all
American weapons reactors - will not resume operations at
any time. The United States also agreed to help Russia
develop alternatives for producing the heat and
electricity now generated by its plutonium producing

Nuclear Smuggling

In recent months, nuclear smuggling from the former
Soviet Union has caused great concern. For several
years, there have been warnings that nuclear materials
might be smuggled out of the former Soviet Union.
Declining living standards combined with instances of lax
security provided motives and opportunities for criminal
sales of nuclear materials. In 1992, for instance, Mr.
Gennadi Novikov, head of the nuclear safety service at
the Chelyabinsk-70 nuclear plant, warned of the declining
security standards. In addition, the Russian media have
provided accounts of breaches in security at military and
civil nuclear installations. For example, the Russian
press reported in March 1993 that eleven kilograms of
uranium 238 were stolen from the Arzamas-16 nuclear
research and development centre and that local law
enforcement authorities were investigating "dozens" of
similar cases. Police in St.Petersburg reportedly
recovered several kilograms of highly enriched uranium
and several journalistic investigations left little doubt
about the existence of a nuclear black market


The Non-Proliferation Treaty is the foundation upon
which all other efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear
weapons are based. It was opened for signature on 1 July
1968 and entered into force on 5 March 1970. So far, 164
nations have acceded to the Treaty and only 28 have not
done so. The NPT is reinforced by a variety of
regional arrangements such as Euratom, the Antarctic
Treaty, the Treaty of Tlatelolco, and the South Pacific
Nuclear Free Zone. There are also bilateral agreements
such as those between Argentina and Brazil, and India and
There is also the Nuclear Suppliers Group - also known as
the London Club - which has harmonized export controls on
nuclear materials and technologies. Finally, there is
the International Atomic Energy Agency which operates
safeguards on the use of nuclear material and technology
to which parties to the NPT are committed.

IAEA safeguards include: an accounting system to
reveal, within a conversion period (i.e. before the state
concerned has had time to assemble a nuclear weapon), any
diversion of "significant quantities" of nuclear
materials; a containment system for sensitive materials
to limit the possibility of access; and a monitoring
system, comprising cameras, radiation detectors and
closed-circuit television able to detect illegal
traffic in materials, equipment or technologies.
Safeguards can be applied in two ways. Non-nuclear
weapons states who are party to the NPT have a
"full-scope" or comprehensive safeguards agreement with
the IAEA. This means that all nuclear material in the
nation concerned is monitored by the IAEA. Nations who
are not party to the NPT can purchase materials and
technologies from other nations who are party to
the NPT, but these items must be placed under IAEA

Since the Gulf war, the IAEA has been given the
freedom to act on information supplied by outside sources
such as national intelligence agencies. It has also
determined, after a legal reappraisal of its rules,
that it can mount special inspections in nations which
have signed full-scope (also known as comprehensive)
safeguards agreements with the IAEA. These inspections
can take place at locations chosen by the IAEA,
whether or not the inspected state has declared them to
the IAEA. Essentially, full-scope safeguards give the
IAEA the right to verify all nuclear material in the
relevant state and to apply safeguards to all
nuclear activities within the state. The inspected state
has the right to be consulted but, in the final analysis,
it is obliged to permit an inspection to take place. If
the objection is maintained or if inspections are
frustrated, the IAEA can refer the matter to the United
Nations Security Council, as happened with North Korea.

Another development which should enhance
non-proliferation efforts is that the Nuclear Suppliers
Group agreed in 1992 that all significant new transfers
to non-nuclear weapons states would be conditional on the
recipient having a full-scope safeguards agreement with
the IAEA. The only exceptions would be cases where
the transfer is deemed essential for the safe operation
of existing facilities and even then safeguards must be
applied to the facilities in question.

The NPT specifies that it must be reviewed every
five years and that after 25 years, a Renewal Conference
should be held to decide whether the NPT will remain in
force "indefinitely, or shall be extended for an
additional fixed period or periods". Preparatory
meetings have already taken place for this Renewal
Conference and, so far, it appears that the indefinite
renewal sought by many nations is by no means a
foregone conclusion. Before looking further at the
prospects for renewing the NPT, it is useful to summarize
what are seen as the achievements and failures of the

NPT Achievements and Failures

The NPT has been neither a complete success nor a
complete failure. On the positive side, it has made
nuclear weapons proliferation more difficult for would-be
proliferators. In the late 1960s, it was feared
that dozens of nuclear weapons states might emerge over
the next few decades. In fact, there are now probably
only three additional de facto nuclear weapons nations;
Israel, India and Pakistan. Another nation - South
Africa - actually did produce nuclear weapons but has now
abandoned them and has committed itself to full-scope
IAEA safeguards. In addition, the NPT has successfully
promoted the peaceful use of nuclear energy by allowing
nations to develop nuclear energy under IAEA monitoring
and with IAEA and other international assistance. It has
also provided motivation for the nuclear weapons nations
to work towards nuclear disarmament, as they are obliged
to do under the NPT. Whether they have done enough has
been a subject of acrimonious debate at previous review
conferences, but the prospect of regular scrutiny at
these conferences has provided some impetus for
disarmament. Another NPT strength is that it provides
the legal basis for dealing with nations conducting
questionable nuclear activities.

On the negative side, experience with Iraq showed
that even a party to the NPT can make great progress
towards building nuclear weapons with only modest
scientific and industrial resources provided it has the
will, the ingenuity and the resources. Another problem
is that the Treaty is discriminatory in that it enshrines
the nuclear weapons status quo and places different
obligations on nuclear weapons nations and non-nuclear
weapons nations. Its crisis management and enforcement
provisions are open to criticism in that sanctions or
actions to be taken against violations are not mandatory
but instead are at the discretion of the United Nations
Security Council. Some of Treaty's definitions are
unclear. These include the definition of "manufacture"
of a nuclear weapon, so that a nation could assemble all
the key components of a nuclear weapon but would not be
deemed to have manufactured a nuclear weapon unless these
components were brought together. The definition of a
"significant quantity" of fissile material is also open
to question as are the allowable margins of error in
accounting for fissile material.

Towards Renewal

There is general agreement that modifying the NPT
is likely to be too cumbersome and attempts to do so are
likely to result in deadlock and, perhaps, a failure to
renew the Treaty. Similarly, replacing the NPT with
a new treaty has been ruled out since a new treaty is
unlikely to attract the nearly universal membership of
the NPT. The broad goal of all the NATO nations, Russia
and many other nations is therefore to seek indefinite,
unconditional renewal and to enhance non-proliferation
efforts. Not all participants are likely to support
these goals. Mexico, for instance, has proposed a
five-year extension followed by indefinite renewal only
if an agreement has been reached on banning all nuclear
weapons testing. Only Iran has declared its opposition
to indefinite renewal, but other nations are known to
feel that extension for fixed periods would be an
effective way of applying pressure on the nuclear weapons
states to disarm
Regarding nuclear safeguards, there is clearly much
scope for redirecting resources so that they reflect
proliferation risk rather than simply the scale of
national nuclear programmes. An extremely strong case
can also be made for increasing the IAEA's safeguards
budget. At the same time, inspection arrangements should
be studied further to see if it is possible to provide
the IAEA with the same sort of inspection rights that are
associated with the Chemical Weapons ConventionThere should also be detailed consideration of the
sanctions which should be imposed on nations which are
not party to the NPT and which have nuclear programmes.
At the very least, these should be excluded from
international nuclear trade unless they submit to full-
scope IAEA safeguards. For nations which violate the
NPT, a clear decision to impose specific sanctions should
be agreed. Nations who intend to violate the Treaty
should be left in do doubt that their actions will have
clear consequences.

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