Nuclear Weapons Convention A Treaty to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons by goodbaby

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									Nuclear Weapons Convention: A Treaty to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons
A Briefing Paper from International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War

In the wake of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, the very first resolution of the newly formed United Nations unanimously called for "the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and of all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction." Today's nuclear arsenals make a mockery of this aspiration. Despite the end of the Cold War, the global threat posed by nuclear weapons is more acute, more immediate, and more entrenched than it was half a century ago. The number of weapons in the world's arsenals stands at 30,000, equivalent in force to 200,000 Hiroshima-sized bombs. The declared nuclear weapon states, as recognized under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, are the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, and China. The "de facto" states are India, Pakistan, and Israel. Over forty states possess nuclear technology. In defiance of a universal legal obligation to negotiate and conclude nuclear disarmament, Citizens in New Delhi protesting after India conductseveral states claim a right to possess nuclear weapons, now and for the indefinite future. There ed five nuclear test explosions in May 1998. has been incremental progress on key elements of nuclear disarmament such as bilateral (U.S.-Russian) reduction, a ban on some forms of nuclear weapons testing, selective export control regimes on nuclear technology, and the promise of negotiations on cut-off of fissile material. However, halting and reversing proliferation will require greater coordination and confidence that states intend to destroy the capability to produce, maintain, or use nuclear weapons. What is currently missing in the policies of the nuclear weapon states is a genuine commitment to complete nuclear disarmament, some attempt to envision this goal, and any effort at a plan, however rough. Besides being a legal obligation, nuclear disarmament is the only solution to current proliferation threats. The knowledge necessary to make nuclear weapons is available. The major obstacle to non-state actors achieving a nuclear weapons capability is access to material rather than information. Current policies and practices regarding nuclear weapons knowledge and material are not adequate to meet the consequent risks. A coordinated effort across states and institutions, in the framework of voluntary governmental and non-governmental participation, is necessary if there is to be a reversal of the nuclear threat. One element of such coordination will be a multi-lateral agreement to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons -- a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC).

The Political Context The experience of many international and inter-governmental bodies will be useful, whether their current functions remain or change. These include: • United Nations General Assembly and Security Council (New York) • United Nations Conference on Disarmament (Geneva) • International Atomic Energy Agency • Nuclear weapons-free zone implementation agencies • Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation • United Nations Special Commission (on Iraq) US and Russian disarmament and non-proliferation bodies, including: • Verification mechanisms for the START and INF treaties • Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) • Material Protection Control and Accounting (MPC&A) • Nuclear Cities Initiative When there is sufficient political will, negotiations can be concluded fairly quickly. The Partial Test Ban Treaty, for example, was concluded in ten days of determined negotiating in July 1963, after years of deadlock. Agreements on timeframes for negotiations can sometimes help facilitate the process. The parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1995 agreed to a timeframe for concluding negotiations on a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty no later than 1996. Such a timeframe helped bring the negotiations to an early conclusion. The NWC and discussions leading to it can provide a conceptual package for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, taking into consideration each of the following: • The security concerns that would need to be the subject of negotiations; • The technical difficulties in verifying the elimination of nuclear weapons and the safe disposal of weapons materials; and • The legal mechanisms that would need to be established to implement the process with fairness. In addition, the NWC would provide a logical umbrella for the various incremental measures now under way that can contribute to complete nuclear disarmament. For the NWC to be effective, it must also include large-scale active non-governmental participation. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have demonstrated the ability, skill and knowledge to catalyze and contribute to government efforts towards disarmament through such efforts as the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. On the question of nuclear weapons, NGOs successfully initiated the World Court Project -- a global grassroots effort to secure an advisory opinion on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons from the International Court of Justice. The Court's conclusion of July 1996 that there exists a universal obligation to negotiate and conclude nuclear disarmament in all its aspects provides further support to the call for a Nuclear Weapons Convention. Model Nuclear Weapons Convention With these ideas in mind, an international team of scientists, lawyers, and disarmament specialists drafted and released a Model NWC in April 1997. This model was submitted by Costa Rica to the United Nations as a discussion draft in November 1997. The responses and developments that followed since then led to the collaborative publication of a revised version of the Model NWC, together with comments and discussion on critical political, legal, and technical questions essential to complete nuclear disarmament. General Obligations The Model Nuclear Weapons Convention prohibits development, testing, production, stockpiling, transfer, use, and threat of use of nuclear weapons. States possessing nuclear weapons will be required to destroy their arsenals according to a series of phases. The Convention also prohibits the production of weapons-usable fissile material and requires deliv-

ery vehicles to be destroyed or converted to make them non-nuclear capable. Phases for Elimination The Convention outlines a series of five phases for the elimination of nuclear weapons beginning with taking nuclear weapons off alert, removing weapons from deployment, removing nuclear warheads from their delivery vehicles, disabling the warheads, removing and disfiguring the "pits" and placing the fissile material under inter-national control. In the initial phases, the U.S. and Russia are required to make the deepest cuts in their nuclear arsenals. Rights and Obligations of Persons (Societal Verification) The Convention applies rights and obligations to individuals and legal entities as well as states. Individuals have an obligation to report violations of the Convention and the right to protection if they do so. Procedures for the apprehension and fair trial of individuals accused of committing crimes under the treaty are provided. Agency An agency would be established to implement the Convention. It will be responsible for verification, ensuring compliance, and decision making and will comprise a Conference of States Parties, an Executive Council, and a Technical Secretariat. Nuclear Material The Convention prohibits the production of any fissionable or fusionable material which can be used directly to make a nuclear weapon, including plutonium (other than that in spent fuel) and highly enriched uranium. Low enriched uranium would be permitted for nuclear energy purposes. Cooperation, Compliance, and Dispute Settlement Provisions are included for consultation, cooperation, and fact-finding to clarify and resolve questions of interpretation with respect to compliance and other matters. A legal dispute may be referred to the International Court of Justice by mutual consent of States Parties. The Agency also is empowered to request an advisory opinion from the ICJ on a legal dispute. The Convention provides a series of graduated responses to non-compliance. Financing Nuclear weapon states are obliged to cover the costs of the elimination of their nuclear arsenals. However, an international fund will be established to assist states that may have financial difficulties in meeting their obligations. Optional Protocol Concerning Energy Assistance The Convention does not prohibit the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. However, it includes an optional protocol which would establish a program of energy assistance for states parties choosing not to develop nuclear energy or to phase out existing nuclear energy programs. Verification of a Nuclear Weapons Convention Verification of the NWC will require a combination of political arrangements and technological mechanisms. Verification is a dynamic, iterative process with the four phases of declaration, monitoring, inspection, and enforcement being repeated successively and in parallel: 1. Declaration and registration provides the necessary information of the initial situation as a starting point for verification to allow comparison with future changes, either agreed or prohibited. All treaty-limited items are tagged, identified, and registered. 2. Monitoring aims at detecting prohibited objects or activities. Continuous monitoring requires information gathering over larger units of time. Remote sensors on satellites and aircraft provide monitoring of large areas. Regular cartographic mapping provides a basis to compare with remote sensing and detect irregularities/inconsistencies between official mapping

information and actual remote sensing data. Monitoring also includes on-site sensors and environmental sampling. 3. Routine and short-notice on-site inspections at nuclear facilities by international teams serve to confirm or challenge states' declarations. During inspections, the inspectors could request all the necessary detailed information from the inspected party, including the opening of rooms, access to computer codes, and interviews with personnel and neighbors. In addition, a wide range of non-destructive on-site monitoring devices (like portal perimeter controls) could be applied to understand the structure and function of equipment. Cooperation and consultation within the international agency could help in gaining and proving the information. 4. Negotiation/prevention/enforcement: If sufficient information has been gathered to indicate a treaty violation, negotiation and enforcement mechanisms could apply. The first step would be to demand from the suspected violator the ending of prohibited activities or the destruction or conversion of prohibited objects. If the object or activity of concern is to be excluded from nuclear weapons use, additional preventive control measures are applied. If the suspected violator refuses any of these measures, a negotiation process is started, during which the motivations of the violator and the possible coordinated A device that indicates tampering with a nuclear actions of the international community are material container. explained. It would be important to leave the violator the option of a face-saving exit as early as possible. Ideally, enforcement measures should be preventive and involve minimal invasion. Critical Questions Responses to the Model NWC have reflected a range of opinions on those issues whose resolution is important to the development of a framework for the elimination of nuclear weapons. A few of the salient critical questions are briefly discussed below: International Security and the Enforcement of the NWC Enforcement will be the Achilles' heel of any security regime that relies primarily on threat or use of force. International security in a nuclear weapons-free world will require new concepts of defense that focus on prevention rather than domination of conflict. The NWC cannot prescribe the elements of an alternative security system. Rather, as it evolves, it can incorporate and reinforce developments toward demilitarization and less reliance on force as a method of conflict resolution. Breakout (Cheating) There is no magic formula that addresses the danger of breakout from a NWC. But the more progress is made in reversing the armament process and dismantling its infrastructure, the more difficult breakout will become. The increasing stigmatization of nuclear weapons will further decrease the likelihood of breakout. The key question is whether the world would be safer within a regime of nuclear disarmament or within the system that will emerge if current trends continue. Nuclear Energy As a Proliferation Danger Opinions are strongly divided over whether a nuclear weapons free world is possible as long as a nuclear energy industry exists. Certainly proliferation risks are enhanced by the availability of nuclear materials. It seems likely that the viability of verifiable nuclear disarmament in a world with nuclear energy will turn on the degree of surveillance, accounting and control of nuclear facilities that those affected are willing to tolerate.

Different Roles and Responsibilities of Nuclear Weapon States and Non-Nuclear Weapon States Nuclear disarmament will require access to information and materials considered sensitive and dangerous. In the interests of non-proliferation this access should be minimized, but without unnecessarily aggravating the imbalance between nuclear weapon states and nonnuclear weapon states. Non-nuclear weapon states will need to be assured that disarmament is taking place-perhaps by verifying the verification process or by participating in inspections in a circumscribed role. Nuclear Weapons Knowledge Nuclear weapons knowledge cannot be disinvented. However, a vast portion of the knowledge-design and maintenance information-can and should be destroyed once it is no longer necessary for disarmament. Moreover, and precisely because we cannot return to a world innocent of nuclear weapons knowledge, the answer to the "genie out of the bottle" is to increase scientific responsibility and awareness of potential proliferation risks. Today some of these issues may appear intractable, and there is no guarantee that they are soluble. However, a robust and open debate is the most likely-if not the only-way to generate creative solutions and engage the broad transnational and cross-industrial involvement necessary for a nuclear weapons free world. More information on the MNWC -- political context, technical/legal issues, and the text of the Model Nuclear Weapons Convention is available in Security and Survival: The Case for a Nuclear Weapons Convention. October 2004


								
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