. "International Political Efforts to Address the Dangers of Nuclear Weapons and Materials ." Protection, Control, and Accounting of Nuclear Materials: International Challenges and National Programs -- Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2005.
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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 The treaty is no longer in force, as the United States withdrew from it on June 13, 2002.
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.
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.