New Give for Non-proliferation? Part III

New Give for Non-proliferation? Part III

In Iran, according to, there is no solution in sight. Obama’s invitation to dialogue and negotiations has not yielded results. The Iranians are committed to mastering the entire nuclear cycle, and the enrichment program has come a long way. Thus, the road to weapons becomes short, if they choose to go that way. The split in the Iranian leadership complicates the situation both for the Iranians themselves and for their international counterparts. The Iran issue will receive a great deal of attention at the oversight conference.

7: Peaceful exploitation

Article IV on peaceful exploitation was deliberately shaped to avoid attempts to limit the peaceful, civilian use of nuclear energy. The only condition is that the civilian programs must comply with Articles I and II, which prohibit procurement for weapons purposes. The right to peaceful use includes the right to enrich uranium and recover plutonium.

However, national facilities for such purposes are undesirable from a non-proliferation point of view, because they can also be used to produce bomb material. A number of proposals have therefore been put forward to regionalise and internationalize such activities, including the establishment of international fuel banks that the countries can draw on instead of producing reactor fuel themselves. To avoid further discrimination between those who have and those who do not have advanced nuclear technology, international solutions must also include existing facilities.

The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has laid down a number of rules for international nuclear transactions. As they are set unilaterally, ie by the sellers, they have limited legitimacy. Negotiations between buyers and sellers with a view to agreed rules would be preferable, because such rules would have a greater chance of being universally accepted. But as long as the conflict and mistrust between West and South goes so deep, it is difficult to make it happen.

8: Leadership and bridge building

In recent times, interest in nuclear power has increased in almost all parts of the world. Thus, the questions of peaceful exploitation – of how best to prevent nuclear power from leading to nuclear weapons – are on the agenda. These issues will be addressed at the supervisory conference.

No international regime can function well without someone exercising leadership. At the previous audit conference in 2005, no one did, and the conference was a failure. This time, the United States is in the driver’s seat again.

In a world with several centers of power, it is important that other great powers also come into play. China, India and others must participate in the work of disarmament and the nuclear-weapon-free states alike, because according to Article IV, everyone is obliged under international law to work for a world free of nuclear weapons. Nowhere is this more important than in the Middle East, where US policy is inadequate due to the unilateral support for Israel.

In order for the negotiations to be business-like and constructive, bridges must be built between west and south. The United States’ allies are freer than before to take part in it because the Obama administration wants a stronger NPT, and bridge-building is important to make it happen. Several NATO countries – including Norway – can take advantage of that opportunity.


Supervisory Conference under the NPT

Holding an inspection conference every five years is part of the agreement in the NPT. The eighth takes place in the period 3 May – 28. May 2010 in New York. In 1995, the contracting parties decided to expand to also have preparatory conferences (prepcon) in the last three years before a new supervisory conference. The purpose of oversight conferences is to monitor and strengthen the NPT regime – to ensure that it works in line with the agreement.

The probation agreement

In 1996, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty – hereinafter referred to as the Non-Proliferation Treaty alone – was signed by a number of countries. This agreement is a very important part of the non-proliferation regime.

In Norwegian, the agreement also bears the name Treaty on a total ban on nuclear test explosions. The agreement prohibits all tests that lead to a nuclear chain reaction, whether this is underground, in the atmosphere or in the ocean.

An earlier probation agreement from 1963, for example, allowed underground tests. Among the countries that signed the Compliance Test Agreement in 1996 were the nuclear powers France, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Without a full ceasefire agreement, all countries are free to test nuclear weapons. The agreement is therefore an important step in the work to limit the spread of nuclear weapons to new states and to stop the nuclear arms race. In the autumn of 1999, however, the US Senate refused to ratify the full ceasefire agreement. The United States doubts whether it can really be checked whether an agreement on probation is complied with. The country also believes that it may be necessary to test nuclear weapons in the future.

The US decision to reject the agreement makes implementation very uncertain. The agreement will not enter into force until 44 selected countries have ratified it. In April 2010, the following ratifications are missing among the 44: China, North Korea, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States.

As of April 2010, 181 countries had signed the agreement; 151 of these had also ratified (approved) it. The nuclear powers Russia, France and Britain have ratified it. Norway ratified the agreement in 1999.

Nuclear Suppliers Group