Nuclear Nonproliferation, Safeguards, and Security
in the 21st Century
Course Outline- Week 1
Why We Have a Nonproliferation Regime and How it Developed
Part One: Why
Part Two: How
Part One: Why
In 1934 Leo Szilard obtained a patent on the nuclear chain reaction,
which in 1936 he assigned to the British Admiralty to protect its secrecy.
In 1939, motivated by concern about possible German development of nuclear
weapons, he convinced Albert Einstein to alert President Roosevelt to its
military ramifications. This led to the creation in 1942 of the Manhattan
Project. The immense destructive power of nuclear weapons was demonstrated
in the two nuclear attacks on Japan in 1945. Some efforts to control nuclear
energy began immediately after the World War II, but without success. The
Soviet Union tested a nuclear explosive device in 1949, the British in 1952,
the French in 1960, and the Chinese in 1964.
As nuclear weapons technology spread it became apparent that without
effective international controls the world could uncomfortably anticipate
the possibility of many more nuclear weapon states. In 1962, President John
F. Kennedy famously predicted that "by 1970, there may be 10 nuclear powers
instead of four and, by 1975, 15 or 20." But in addition to the first five
states to do so, only India (1974 and 1998), North Korea (2006), and
Pakistan (1998) have since tested a nuclear weapon.
At the same time, it was recognized that peaceful uses of nuclear energy
could be a great benefit to the world. How to prevent or limit the spread of
nuclear weapons while promoting the peaceful uses introduced the need for a
nuclear nonproliferation regime that has become increasingly complex as the
world faces evolving nuclear challenges.
- The nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear weapons
- Peaceful uses of nuclear and other radioactive materials
- Acheson-Lilienthal Report/ Baruch Plan/ Atoms for Peace
- U.S. and Soviet strategic arms control
- Nuclear testing and strategic arms control - Eisenhower through the
George W. Bush administrations
President Eisenhower's 1953 Address to the UNGA.
George Bunn and Christopher F. Chyba, "U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policies for
a New Era," chapter 8 in George Bunn and Christopher F. Chyba, editors,
U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy. (Brookings 2006).
Kathleen Bailey, "Why Do We Have to Keep the Bomb?" Bulleting of
Atomic Scientists. (January/February 1995).
Ivo Daalder and Jan Lodal, "The Logic of Zero: Toward a World Without
Nuclear Weapons," Foreign Affairs. (November/December 2008).
Mohamed ElBaradei - Nobel Lecture, Oslo, December 10, 2005:
George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry Kissinger, and Sam Nunn. “A
World Without Nuclear Weapons,” Wall Street Journal (January 4, 2007 and
January 15, 2008).
Part Two: How
Over the past 60 years the United States has used unilateral, bilateral,
and multilateral tools for addressing the spread of nuclear weapons to
additional states. The result is what we broadly refer to as the nuclear
nonproliferation regime – treaties, other multilateral arrangements,
institutions, and formal organizations. The keystone of the regime is the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The overwhelming majority of states
have decided that their interests are best served by becoming party to the
NPT and forgoing the option of building nuclear weapons. Why have they done
so? And why has a small but notable group of countries remained outside the
- National measures
- Treaties - eg., NPT, Nuclear Weapons Free Zones, Test Ban, Fissile Material
- Organizations - IAEA, UN Security Council
- Multilateral arrangements - Zangger Committee, Nuclear Suppliers Group
- Nuclear Proliferation since conclusion of NPT -
(a) Canada, Australia, Sweden, Switzerland
(b) Israel, India, Pakistan, South Africa
(c) Iraq, North Korea, Iran
George Bunn, "The Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime and its History,"
chapter 3 in George Bunn and Christopher F. Chyba, editors, U.S. Nuclear
Weapons Policy. (Brookings, 2006).
David Hafemeister, “The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty: Effectively
Verifiable,” Arms Control Today (October 2008).
Jean du Preez, “The Fissban: Time for a Renewed Commitment or a New
Approach?” Disarmament Diplomacy 79 (April/May 2005).
Siegfried S. Hecker and William Lou, “Dangerous Dealings: North Korea’s
Nuclear Capabilities and the Threat of Export to Iran,” Arms Control
Today (March 2007).
Mark Fitzpatrick, “Lessons from Iran’s Pursuit of Nuclear Weapons,”
The Nonproliferation Review (November 2006).
C. Raja Mohan, “India and the Balance of Power,” Foreign Affairs
Gerald M. Steinberg, "Examining Israel's NPT Exceptionalism: 1998-2005,"
The Nonproliferation Review. (March 2006).
Sharon Squassoni, "Closing Pandora's Box: Pakistan's Role in Nuclear
Proliferation," Arms Control Today (April 2004).
Last Modified: December 2, 2010
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