Governance of Nuclear Technology   [open pdf - 219KB]

"Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace speech in 1953 is remembered for engaging the world, and the Soviet Union in particular, in a dialogue about arms control and the formulation of a nuclear regime in which national and international security concerns growing from this unprecedented emerging and frightening new weapons capability would be addressed while tapping the civilian promise of nuclear applications for the good of mankind. Out of it came a series of initiatives, leading fifteen years later to the NPT [Non-Proliferation Treaty], intended to allow the growth and spread of the beneficial uses of nuclear know-how while constraining the incentives and capabilities for nuclear weapons. The last 50 years has seen a gradual spread in nations with nuclear weapons, other nations with nuclear knowledge and capabilities, and still others with nuclear weapon intentions. Still most nations of the world have forgone weapon development, most have signed and abided by the NPT, and some that have had programs or even weapons, have turned these capabilities off. Yet despite this experience, and despite a relatively successful record up to a few years ago, there is today a clear and generally recognized crisis in nuclear governance, a crisis that affects the future of all the cross-cutting civilian/security issues we have cited. The crux of this crisis is a lack of consensus among the major powers whose support of international efforts is necessary for effective governance of nuclear activities. The lack of consensus focuses on three challenges: what to do about non-compliance, what to do about non-adherence, and what to do about the possible leakage of nuclear materials and technologies to terrorist groups. Short of regaining consensus on the priority to be given to nuclear material and technology controls, it is unlikely that any international regime to control nuclear materials and technologies, let alone oversee a growth in the nuclear power sector, will be successful in the tough cases where it needs to be successful."

Report Number:
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Office of Scientific & Technical Information: http://www.osti.gov/
Media Type:
American Nuclear Society Global 2003. New Orleans, LA, US. November 16-20, 2003
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