12 Jul 2020
50 years of non-proliferation of the nuclear weapons treaty
What is it?
- Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament
- It is the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States
- It was opened for signature in 1968 and the Treaty entered into force in 1970.
- It was designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, to further the goals of nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament, and to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy
- Three pillars of the treaty:
- Peaceful use of nuclear energy
- A total of 191 States have joined the Treaty, including the five nuclear-weapon States
- Four UN member states have never accepted the NPT, three of which possess or are thought to possess nuclear weapons: India, Israel, and Pakistan. In addition, South Sudan, founded in 2011, has not joined.
Other key points about the treaty
- To further the goal of non-proliferation and as a confidence-building measure between States parties, the Treaty establishes a safeguards system under the responsibility of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
- Safeguards are used to verify compliance with the Treaty through inspections conducted by the IAEA.
- The Treaty promotes cooperation in the field of peaceful nuclear technology and equal access to this technology for all States parties, while safeguards prevent the diversion of fissile material for weapons use.
- The provisions of the Treaty, particularly article VIII, envisage a review of the operation of the Treaty every five years, a provision which was reaffirmed by the States parties at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference.