Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,(NPT) is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weaponspromote cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and further the goal of achieving nuclear (and general) disarmament. 
Signed: 5 March, 1970
Non-Parties:   IndiaPakistanIsraelNorth Korea, and South Sudan

(Article I) - NWS
The five
 Nuclear Weapons States (China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, and the United States) agree: not to transfer ”nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices” and “not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce” a Non-Nuclear Weapon State (NNWS) to acquire nuclear weapons. 

(Article II) - NNWS
NNWS parties to the NPT agree: not to ”receive,” “manufacture” or “acquire” nuclear weapons or to “seek or receive any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons”. 

(Article III) - NNWS agree to IAEA Safeguards
NNWS parties also agree: to accept safeguards by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to verify that they are not diverting nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other 
nuclear explosive devices.

(Article IV) - peaceful nuclear energy & exchange of equip/mater/inf
1. Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes...

2. All the Parties to the Treaty undertake: to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

(Article VI)  - “Good Faith”
The states undertake to pursue “negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament”, and towards a “Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control”.


Article VI
 does not strictly require all signatories to actually conclude a disarmament treaty. It only requires them "to negotiate in good faith." July 1996 - The International Court of Justice (ICJ), in its opinion interprets Article VI: ”There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.”

Christopher Ford, US Special Rep. for Nuclear Nonproliferation) warned in 2007: Disarmament could make the possession of nuclear weapons more attractive by increasing the perceived strategic value of a small arsenal: ”logic suggests that as the number of nuclear weapons decreases, the ‘marginal utility’ of a nuclear weapon as an instrument of military power increases. At the extreme, which it is precisely disarmament’s hope to create, the strategic utility of even one or two nuclear weapons would be huge.”

As the commercially popular light water reactor nuclear power station uses enriched uranium fuel, it follows that states must be able either to enrich uranium or purchase it on an international market. Mohamed ElBaradei, former Director General of the IAEA, has called the spread of enrichment and reprocessing capabilities the “Achilles’ Heel” of the nonproliferation regime. As of 2007 13 states have an enrichment capability.

ENR (Uranium Enrichment and Plutonium Reprocessing):
     Major emphasis of U.S. policy in 2004 was to prevent the spread of uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing technology (a.k.a. “ENR”). Countries possessing ENR capabilities have (in effect) the option of using this capability to produce “fissile material” for weapons use on demand; what has been termed a "virtual nuclear weapons program". The degree to which NPT members have a “right” to ENR technology (& its potentially grave proliferation implications) is at the cutting edge of policy and legal debates surrounding the meaning of Article IV.



India is one of the few countries to have a no first use policy, a pledge not to use nuclear weapons unless first attacked by an adversary using nuclear weapons. Consider the treaty: “flawed”

2011 - Australia overturned a ban against exporting Uranium to India. They have not done so yet. Australia is one of the top three Uranium producing nations in the world.

2008 - the IAEA approved the India Safeguards Agreement, and extended a waiver to India at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) meeting. President signed, congress ratified. Unprecedented. 

2006 - United States Congress approved the United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation ActUnder the deal India has committed to classify 14 of its 22 nuclear power plants as being for civilian use and to place them under IAEA safeguards.


2010 - China reportedly signed a civil nuclear deal with Pakistan claiming that the deal was “peaceful” but still it’s in direct violation of NPT.

2009 - IAEA inspection and non-proliferation treaty resolution on “Israeli nuclear capabilities,” passed by a narrow margin (49-45 with 16 abstentions). The Israeli delegate stated: “Israel will not co-operate in any matter with this resolution.”


North Korea:
2007 - reports from Washington suggest that the 2002 CIA reports stating that North Korea was developing an enriched uranium weapons program (which led to North Korea leaving the NPT) had overstated or misread the intelligence. North Korean First Vice Minister (Kang Sok Ju) admitted the existence of a uranium enrichment program, Pakistan’s then-President (Musharraf) revealed that the A.Q. Khan proliferation network had provided North Korea with a number of gas centrifuges designed for uranium enrichment. Libya also may have received materials from N. Korea.

Iran’s uranium enrichment program at Natanz—and its continuing work on a heavy water reactor at Arak that would be ideal for plutonium production— Iran’s continued development of fissile material production capabilities distinctly worrying. Iran states it has a legal right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes under the NPT.

South Africa:
 In 1994 the IAEA completed its work and declared that the country had fully dismantled its nuclear weapons program.

2003, Libya announced that it had agreed to eliminate all its WMD programs, and permitted U.S. and British teams (as well as IAEA inspectors) into the country to assist this process and verify its completion