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Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

Brazil to Consider Joining the NPT

Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso submitted the nuclear NonProliferation Treaty (NPT) to the Brazilian congress for ratification on June 20, nearly 20 years after the treaty was opened for signature. Should Brazil accede to the NPT, only four nations (Cuba, India, Israel and Pakistan) would remain outside of the regime. In 1990, Brazil renounced the nuclear weapons program it had been pursuing since the 1970s, and, in 1991, it signed an agreement with Argentina to establish a bilateral nuclear accountancy and control system to verify that each state's nuclear activities would be for peaceful uses only.

Brazil followed Argentina in joining the Treaty of Tlatelolco (a nuclear-weapon-free-zone accord covering Latin America and the Caribbean) in May 1994, but continued to resist joining the NPT on the basis of the treaty's discrimination between nuclear "haves" and "have-nots." Argentina acceded to the NPT in 1995.

Neither house of Brazil's bicameral legislature is likely to act on the treaty before fall 1997. Currently in extraordinary session to conclude its normal business, neither the Chamber of Deputies nor the Senate has been able to include the treaty in its agenda. Little domestic opposition to the NPT is expected, since Brazil has already accepted the principle of nuclear nonproliferation through its bilateral agreement with Argentina and the Treaty of Tlatelolco.

IAEA Approves '93+2' Protocol; Awaits Adoption by Member-States


Howard Diamond

THE INTERNATIONAL Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors approved a program of enhanced nuclear safeguards during a special session in Vienna May 1516, the first major expansion of the agency's monitoring and inspection powers in 25 years. The new measures are embodied in a model protocol that will need to be adopted by each of the 131 states (along with Taiwan) that has a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA. The protocol will substantially expand IAEA access to information and facilities, thereby improving the agency's ability to verify that non-nuclear-weapon states that are parties to the nuclear NonProliferation Treaty (NPT) are not conducting clandestine nuclear weapons programs.

The new protocol represents the second part of the IAEA's "Program 93+2," initiated in 1993 as a result of the confirmation in 1991 that Iraq—an NPT signatory—had been clandestinely pursuing a nuclear weapons program by utilizing undeclared facilities not covered by existing safeguards. The name "93+2" refers to the initial goal of completing a plan of action in two years, in time for the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference.

The IAEA began implementing Part 1 of Program 93+2 in January 1996, by adopting new monitoring techniques (such as environmental sampling and use of no-notice inspections at key measurement points within declared nuclear facilities) that did not require any new legal authority for their implementation. Some methods for analysis and monitoring, field tested during Part 1, have subsequently been incorporated into Part 2, which aims to close the undeclared facilities loophole. The agency determined that Part 2 would require the addition of a protocol to current safeguards agreements. The IAEA has said it anticipates the program will lead to "more cost-effective use of its safeguards resources."


The Model Protocol

Incorporating lessons learned in Iraq and North Korea, the new protocol represents a significant expansion of the scope of IAEA safeguards from a narrow focus on detecting the misuse of declared facilities or diversion of declared material, to broad oversight of the totality of a nation's nuclear activities. Specifically, the protocol makes four major changes that will significantly reduce the likelihood of a nation with a comprehensive safeguards agreement successfully concealing a nuclear weapons program:

First, in addition to the current requirement to provide nuclear fuel and fuel cycle activity data, states will now have to furnish an "expanded declaration" on a broad array of nuclear-related activities such as "nuclear fuel cycle-related research and development activities—not involving nuclear materials" and "the location, operational status and the estimated annual production" of uranium and thorium mines. All trade in items on the Nuclear Suppliers Group trigger list will also have to be reported to the IAEA.

Second, the number and types of facilities the IAEA will be able to inspect and monitor will substantially increase beyond the present level. To resolve questions or inconsistencies in the information a state has provided about its nuclear activities, the new inspections regime provides the IAEA with "complementary," or pre-approved, access to "[a]ny location specified by the Agency," as well as all of the facilities specified in the "expanded declaration." States accepting the model protocol, in effect, guarantee the IAEA access on short-notice to all of their declared, and if necessary, undeclared facilities "to assure the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities."

Third, the agency's ability to conduct short notice inspections is augmented by streamlining the visa process for inspectors and guaranteeing them, with one month's notice, "appropriate multiple entry/exit" visas that are valid for at least a year.

Fourth, the model protocol confirms the agency's right to use environmental sampling techniques—not previously specified as a valid and objective method in the "scope of inspections,"—throughout its monitoring and inspections activities.

According to Gary Samore, National Security Council senior director for nonproliferation, "The protocol substantially strengthens the ability of the IAEA to detect clandestine nuclear programs by giving it access to additional information and locations." The shift in the IAEA's focus from strict material accountancy to a more comprehensive approach to a state's nuclear activities should considerably deter "rogue" states' secret pursuit of nuclear weapons programs. A senior administration official said, "Nations attempting to conceal their nuclear weapons programs will be in a Catch22' position, that is, with heavy pressure to sign [the protocol] but serious concern they'll get caught."

Unlike the non-nuclear-weapon states, which are required by the NPT to accept IAEA safeguards on their nuclear activities, the five nuclear-weapon states (the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia), because they are entitled to manufacture nuclear weapons, are free from this requirement. However, to augment the acceptability of the new protocol and to show they are not seeking a commercial advantage, all five countries have announced their intention to apply some of the new safeguards to their commercial nuclear facilities. On May 16, the White House announced that it would accept the new measures "in their entirety except where they involve information or locations of direct national security significance," and promised to seek legislation to make the protocol legally binding. Britain and France have said they will accept almost all of the new measures, while Russia and China are expected to adopt fewer parts of the model protocol on the grounds of national security concerns.

Enhanced NPT Review Process Gets Underway at First PrepCom Session

Enhanced NPT Review Process Gets Underway at First PrepCom Session


Sami Fournier

DELEGATES FROM 148 countries met at the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) first session in New York, April 7-18 to lay groundwork for recommendations to the nuclear NonProliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference in 2000. The session, the first meeting of NPT statesparties since their 1995 indefinite extension of the treaty, ironed out procedural issues and heard substantive statements on ways to strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime. Chaired by Pasi Patokallio of Finland, the PrepCom produced a largely procedural final report with two annexes, including a set of general recommendations for future sessions.

The annexed "Chairman's Working Paper" lists three areas for which discussion time will be allotted in upcoming sessions. At least two and possibly three annual PrepCom sessions will be held in the runup to 2000. This list, termed "the recommendation on quality time" by U.S. negotiators, attempts to balance demands of various groups of states which wanted to cite specific areas in need of greater attention.

For example, the nonaligned states, led by South Africa, insisted that the list include a commitment by the nuclearweapon states to discuss giving binding assurances not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any nonweapon state NPT party. Egypt led a call for inclusion on the list of a Middle East resolution, a leftover point of contention from the 1995 Review and Extension Conference. Germany and Canada promoted listing the fissile material production ban, which had dropped out of the PrepCom agenda.

When Mexico raised the objection that this list neglected disarmament measures, many countries countered that nuclear disarmament was at the heart of the entire process. Nevertheless, in response mainly to the Western states' unwillingness to put disarmament discussions on the agenda of the 61nation Geneva Conference on Disarmament (CD), a Mexican statement of dissent is included in the final report.

The five nuclearweapon states issued a joint statement affirming disarmament progress, including the START process and the achievement of the Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty. Members of the nonaligned group urged the nuclearweapon states to begin discussing the elimination of nuclear weapons in a subgroup of the CD. But the nonaligned were not generally organized in their efforts. "A lot of countries were not prepared when [the PrepCom] took off as dramatically and substantively as it did," according to Susan Burk of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.

The chairman's paper contains substantive issues presented at the PrepCom such as Canadian proposals, supported by several states including Ireland and New Zealand, for prohibiting nuclear testing prior to entry into force of the CTB Treaty and securing commitments by the nuclearweapon states not to produce new types of weapons of mass destruction. A Belarussian proposal for a Central and Eastern European nuclearweaponfree zone was also presented.

Though the meeting did not resolve any of these outstanding questions, it managed to orient the future agenda toward substantive issues. Initiating the enhanced review process was part of the 1995 agreement to indefinitely extend the NPT, and procedures which were agreed to at the meeting, such as the "rolling report" format for review conference recommendations will help shape progress at the next session, tentatively set for April 1998 in Geneva.

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)


This treaty is the basis of international cooperation on stopping the spread of nuclear weapons by promoting disarmament, nonproliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.


The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) is the only multilateral treaty with the goal of creating a binding commitment of disarmament by nuclear-weapon states. NPT seeks to promote cooperation in the field of peaceful nuclear technology and prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology. More states have ratified the NPT than any other treaty on arms limitation and disarmament. Every five years, the Treaty’s operations are reviewed. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verifies compliance with the Treaty.

Opened for Signature: 1 July 1968

Entry into force: 5 March 1970

Official Text: http://disarmament.un.org/treaties/t/npt/text

Status and Signatories: http://disarmament.un.org/treaties/t/npt

ACA Backgrounder: https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/nptfact


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