International Political Efforts to Address the Dangers of Nuclear Weapons and Materials

This section of the report is derived entirely from a workshop panel entitled “Political Initiatives,” during which the ambassadors of the Russian Federation, the United States, and Japan to the international organizations in Vienna spoke to participants regarding the political context in which the international nuclear nonproliferation regime operates. Ambassador Grigoriy V. Berdennikov of the Russian Federation was the first to speak, and he drew a picture of firm Russian support for international collaboration on nonproliferation. For example, he cited the Russian government’s continuing commitment to the NPT and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).1 He also expressed regret about the withdrawal of the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty,2 a

1  

The CTBT seeks to restrict the proliferation of nuclear weapons by banning all nuclear explosive tests around the world. It includes provisions for creating a global network of stations that will monitor seismic and other disturbances for indications of nuclear explosions. The United States signed this treaty when it opened for signature on September 24, 1996, but the U.S. Senate blocked its ratification in 1999. The treaty will not enter into force until 44 designated “nuclear-capable states,” including the United States, have ratified it. To date, the current U.S. administration has declined to re-submit the treaty for the Senate’s consideration, although the administration is observing the moratorium on critical nuclear weapons testing that was signed into law in 1992. China has also signed the treaty without ratifying it. The remaining nuclear-weapon States under the NPT (the United Kingdom, France, and Russia) have all ratified the CTBT.

2  

Formally entitled the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems, and negotiated as part of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, this treaty was signed on May 26, 1972. It restricted the ability of both the United States and the Soviet Union (and later the Russian Federation) to build nationwide



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Protection, Control, and Accounting of Nuclear Materials: International Challenges and National Programs - Workshop Summary International Political Efforts to Address the Dangers of Nuclear Weapons and Materials This section of the report is derived entirely from a workshop panel entitled “Political Initiatives,” during which the ambassadors of the Russian Federation, the United States, and Japan to the international organizations in Vienna spoke to participants regarding the political context in which the international nuclear nonproliferation regime operates. Ambassador Grigoriy V. Berdennikov of the Russian Federation was the first to speak, and he drew a picture of firm Russian support for international collaboration on nonproliferation. For example, he cited the Russian government’s continuing commitment to the NPT and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).1 He also expressed regret about the withdrawal of the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty,2 a 1   The CTBT seeks to restrict the proliferation of nuclear weapons by banning all nuclear explosive tests around the world. It includes provisions for creating a global network of stations that will monitor seismic and other disturbances for indications of nuclear explosions. The United States signed this treaty when it opened for signature on September 24, 1996, but the U.S. Senate blocked its ratification in 1999. The treaty will not enter into force until 44 designated “nuclear-capable states,” including the United States, have ratified it. To date, the current U.S. administration has declined to re-submit the treaty for the Senate’s consideration, although the administration is observing the moratorium on critical nuclear weapons testing that was signed into law in 1992. China has also signed the treaty without ratifying it. The remaining nuclear-weapon States under the NPT (the United Kingdom, France, and Russia) have all ratified the CTBT. 2   Formally entitled the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems, and negotiated as part of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, this treaty was signed on May 26, 1972. It restricted the ability of both the United States and the Soviet Union (and later the Russian Federation) to build nationwide

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Protection, Control, and Accounting of Nuclear Materials: International Challenges and National Programs - Workshop Summary step that he felt weakened the nuclear nonproliferation regime. Among other treaties and programs, Berdennikov also mentioned the Draft International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, which Russia proposed to the United Nations in 1996. The convention defines nuclear terrorism broadly so that anyone involved in obtaining nuclear materials with the intent that they will be used for terrorism can be arrested for nuclear terrorism. It also stipulates that signatory states must enact national legislation to prosecute and punish such individuals.3 Berdennikov also underscored the value of international efforts, such as the International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO), to develop new nuclear energy technologies that include resistance to nuclear proliferation as one of their key features. Referring to U.S. opposition to Russia’s assistance of Iran’s nuclear energy program,4 Berdennikov also argued that building proliferation resistance directly into new nuclear technology would reduce the emphasis on nuclear nonproliferation and safeguards while ensuring that the benefits of nuclear energy would remain available to all nations.5 Ambassador Kenneth Brill presented the view of the United States on some of the same issues. He argued that the nuclear safeguards regime was in danger of unraveling because of pressures generated by states such as Iran and non-state actors that want to obtain nuclear weapons. He underscored recent U.S. initiatives in support of the nuclear nonproliferation regime, including leading the     defenses against ballistic missiles, in the belief that the existence of such systems would encourage the expansion of nuclear arsenals. The treaty originally permitted the United States and Soviet Union to build two fixed, ground-based systems with a maximum of 100 missile interceptors each, but a 1974 protocol to the treaty halved the number of missile interceptors allowed per side. The treaty is no longer in force, as the United States withdrew from it on June 13, 2002. 3   The treaty was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on April 13, 2005. See “General Assembly Adopts Convention on Nuclear Terrorism,” UN press release April 13, 2005, available at http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2005/ga10340.doc.htm, accessed April 20, 2005. 4   Russia has been providing Iran with technical assistance in building a nuclear reactor at Bushehr for some time, and at the time of this workshop, that assistance was a sore point in U.S.-Russian relations, particularly because the IAEA had recently revealed that Iran had been secretly enriching uranium. Although the technical assistance continues, Russian and U.S. positions on Iran have moved closer together since the workshop, as Russia supports the efforts of France, Germany, and the U.K. (the “EU3”) to convince Iran to permanently halt its enrichment activities, and because the Russian government obtained Iranian agreement that, once the Bushehr plants are operating, Russia will provide the fuel for them and Iran will return the spent fuel after it has been used. As of April 2005, Iran’s enrichment program remains “frozen” pending the outcome of negotiations with the EU3. Background information about Iran’s nuclear program is available at http://www.nti.org/e_research/profiles/Iran/index.html, accessed April 20, 2005. For information regarding the February 2005 agreement between the Russian Federation and Iran, see “Russia-Iran Nuclear Deal Signed,” BBC News website February 27, 2005, available at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4301889.stm, accessed April 20, 2005. 5   Further information on this program is available at http://www.iaea.org/worldatom/Programmes/Nuclear_Energy/NENP/NPTDS/Projects/inpro.html, accessed April 20, 2005.

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Protection, Control, and Accounting of Nuclear Materials: International Challenges and National Programs - Workshop Summary successful effort to increase funding for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and preparing to accept the Additional Protocol for its own nuclear complex.6 He also emphasized that all countries, nuclear-weapon States and non-nuclear weapon States alike, should fulfill their national and international obligations. For example, in response to Amb. Berdennikov’s comments, Amb. Brill noted that while the United States does not support the CTBT, it does support the International Monitoring System that is intended to detect nuclear explosions and thus be the basis for verifying compliance with the CTBT. He also noted that some countries lament the failure to enact the CTBT but do not pay their share of the cost for the monitoring system or share their own monitoring data. Brill also argued that the international community should ensure that the IAEA has the resources it requires to strictly enforce its mandate and seek out creative approaches to keeping nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists, expecting that nations will act on behalf of their own perceived needs if the international system does not meet those needs. The final presentation on this panel was given by Ambassador Yukio Takasu from Japan. He noted Japan’s strong support for the NPT regime and its efforts to universalize the Additional Protocol. In this connection, he reiterated Amb. Brill’s assertion that nuclear-weapon States were not the only ones with obligations. He also discussed what he considered disparities in the system of providing funds for the safeguard regime, which he felt relieved developing countries of too much of the burden of responsibility that comes with nuclear energy programs. He closed by expressing support for the United States’ Proliferation Security Initiative, which facilitates the boarding of ships suspected of carrying contraband materials related to weapons proliferation.7 6   The U.S. Senate ratified the Additional Protocol for safeguards activities in the United States on March 31, 2004. See http://www.fas.org/nuke/control/usiaea/docs/usiaea4.htm, accessed April 20, 2005. 7   The Proliferation Security Initiative was announced by the U.S. government in May 2003. The program facilitates cooperation among participating states on interdicting the smuggling of materials and equipment for the production of weapons of mass destruction.

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