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US Dept of State - The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: Promoting Non-Proliferation
Bureau of Public Affairs
April 27, 2010
"Together we will strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a basis for cooperation. The basic bargain is sound: countries with nuclear weapons will move towards disarmament, countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them, and all countries can access peaceful nuclear energy." — President Barack Obama
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) rests on three interrelated and mutually reinforcing pillars: nonproliferation, peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and disarmament.
As the only legally binding agreement that provides a global
barrier to the spread of nuclear weapons, the NPT is the cornerstone of the
global nonproliferation regime. It enhances the security of every
state, as well as
global and regional security. Articles I and II seek to prevent the further
spread of nuclear weapons. Article III requires non-nuclear-weapon
states to accept
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards to verify that nuclear
activities serve only peaceful purposes. The NPT encourages regional
groups of states to
conclude treaties to assure the total absence of nuclear weapons on their territories.
Five such treaties have been concluded.
Challenges to the NPT’s nonproliferation pillar are several and serious.
Robust verification of the NPT depends upon the IAEA having the necessary authorities
and financial resources to fulfill its obligations. The revelation of the A.Q.
Khan network’s illicit activities makes clear the potential threat of illicit
nuclear supply to states and non-state actors. Concerns are growing about the
potential for abuse of the NPT’s withdrawal clause, particularly if a Party seeking
to withdraw from the NPT is already found to be in violation of its Treaty obligations.
U.S. Actions in Support of the NPT’s Nonproliferation Pillar
* Supporting the IAEA’s safeguards program and working to ensure
that the Agency has the resources it needs to fulfill its safeguards
* Currently working with eight countries to prepare the infrastructure
necessary to effectively implement the IAEA’s model Additional Protocol, designed to require more detailed disclosure regarding a states’ nuclear
program by providing bilateral and multilateral workshops.
* Working to revitalize international safeguards technology and expertise through
the U.S. Next Generation Safeguards Initiative.
* Bringing our Additional Protocol into force in January 2009 and encouraging
all other states to do likewise.
* Addressing Iran’s non-compliance with its NPT and IAEA safeguards obligations and North Korea’s
announced withdrawal from the Treaty after violating its NPT and IAEA safeguards
* Working with concerned NPT Parties to identify effective mechanisms to dissuade
both violation of the Treaty and subsequent withdrawal.
* Implementing a comprehensive system of export controls for material, equipment,
and technology that could be used for nuclear explosive purposes.
* Meeting our^ obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1540 which,
among other things, requires all States to adopt and enforce effective laws
prohibiting proliferation, and supporting the efforts of other states to meet
* Strengthening cooperative international nonproliferation efforts such as
the Proliferation Security Initiative and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear
Terrorism, and encouraging their growth.
* Having led the initiative to amend the Convention of the Physical Protection
of Nuclear Materials to cover physical protection of nuclear materials in domestic
use, storage and transport and of nuclear facilities.
* Hosting the Nuclear Security Summit in April 2010, as part of President Obama’s
initiative to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials within four years.
* Signing and ratifying the protocols to the Latin American Nuclear-Weapons-
Free Zone (NWFZ) and having signed the protocols to the South Pacific and African
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