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Can the Spread of Nuclear Weapons be Stopped?. ◘ Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory November 1, 2006 ◘ Wolfgang K.H. Panofsky. During Cold War. Deter with nuclear Triad: ICBM’s, Strategic Bombers. SNBM’s Nuclear war fighting abandoned in plan MAD Mutual Assured Destruction.

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can the spread of nuclear weapons be stopped

Can the Spread of Nuclear Weapons be Stopped?

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

November 1, 2006

Wolfgang K.H. Panofsky

during cold war
During Cold War
  • Deter with nuclear Triad: ICBM’s, Strategic Bombers. SNBM’s
  • Nuclear war fighting abandoned in plan


Mutual Assured Destruction

the cold war is over but
The Cold War is over -- but…

Current Doctrine

  • Deter, assure, dissuade, defeat
  • Pre-empt, with nuclear weapons if necessary
  • “all options” open
  • “capabilities based,” not “threat based”
  • Nuclear weapons play “smaller role”
  • Adaptive planning


Nuclear Use Target Selection

nuclear weapons risks remain
Nuclear Weapons Risks Remain
  • US – Russia nuclear weapons release
  • Regional Conflict (e.g. India and Pakistan)
  • Acquisition of Nuclear Weapons by Terrorists
  • Nuclear Weapons Proliferation

Risk = Probability x consequences

Not addressed in this talk



increased decreased

nuclear terrorism and nuclear weapons proliferation are not the same
Nuclear Terrorism and Nuclear Weapons Proliferation are not the same

States can be deterred.

Terrorists can not.

No evidence that new proliferant states are greater or lesser risks for transferring nuclear weapons or the tools to make them to terrorists.

nonproliferation a nonpartisan goal
Nonproliferation – a nonpartisan goal

Presidential Debate: September 30, 2004

Mr. Lehrer: “…so it is correct to say that if somebody’s listening to this, that you agree…the single most serious threat you believe –both of you believe is nuclear proliferation.”

Mr. Bush: “I do –in the hands of a terrorist enemy.”

Mr. Kerry: “Weapons of mass destruction, nuclear proliferation.”


in the history of mankind all newly developed technologies
In the History of Mankind, all newly developed technologies
  • have been “dual purpose”
  • have spread over entire globe
  • This precedent must be broken for nuclear weapons
  • Knowledge is not a bar to proliferation today
cornerstone of nonproliferation regime is nuclear nonproliferation treaty npt
Cornerstone of Nonproliferation Regime is Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty (NPT)
  • Came into force 1970
  • Signed and Ratified by all Nations except
    • Israel
    • India
    • Pakistan
    • North Korea withdrew
  • Review Conferences every 5 years
  • Made a Treaty of Indefinite Duration at 1995 Review Conference
the npt bargain
The NPT Bargain
  • Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) and Non-nuclear Weapons States (NNWS)
  • US, Russia, UK, China and France are NWS
  • NWS do not give NW or NW tools to NNWS
  • NNWS do not receive such material
the npt bargain continued
The NPT Bargain(continued)
  • NNWS have “inalienable right” to nuclear power.
  • NWS work in good faith toward prohibition of NWs and General Disarmament (no specified timetable; implication is to deemphasize role of NW in international relations
  • NNWS must negotiate Safeguards with IAEA

Number of States with Nuclear Weapons

Rate of 1 new NWS every 5 yrs




North Korea


South Africa


Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and South Africa became NNWS




United Kingdom

Soviet Union

United States

NPT in force


“I am haunted by the feeling that by 1970, unless we are successful, there may be 10 nuclear powers instead of 4, and by 1975, 15 or 20.” John Kennedy, 1963

historical summary of military fissile material nuclear weapons programs
Historical Summary of MilitaryFissile Material & Nuclear Weapons Programs

Nuclear Weapons Programs begun before 1970 when NPT came into force, succeeded and are still ongoing

  • United States
  • Russia
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • China
  • Israel
  • India

Programs ended by 1970

Programs ended after 1970

  • Sweden
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • Egypt

Argentina Brazil

Romania South Africa

Spain South Korea

Spain Switzerland

Taiwan Libya Yugoslavia

historical summary cont d
Historical Summary (cont’d)

Intentions suspected but no NW program identified



Programs started after 1970

Succeeded and ongoing

Pakistan North Korea

Are suspected to be actively seeking nuclear weapons


Factions within advocated for/sought NW, but ceased by 1970

Inherited NW, but now non-NW State party to NPT




Italy Japan

Germany Norway

the bad news
The Bad News
  • The Non-Parties to NPT (Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea)
  • Latency: Capability of NNWS versus Intent
  • NW policies of NWS
    • U.S. redesign efforts
    • Only China proclaims “No First Use.”
    • U.S. pre-emptive policies

The physical facts:

  • Uranium Isotope enrichment & Plutonium reprocessing can be part of peaceful power program --- but:
  • Enrichment & Reprocessing can shorten lead time to acquire NW after withdrawal from NPT

The Fuel Cycle Under the NPT



Uranium Ore

Nuclear Power

Nuclear Power

Nuclear Weapons






Spent Fuel



Spent Fuel






IAEA Safeguards



“Latency” or likelihood of acquiring nuclear weapons






1951 (Dual Purpose)

  • Brazil establishes National Research Council
  • Swimming Pool Research Reactor fueled by HEU
  • Brazil bought 625 MWe “turnkey” reactor
brazil continued
Brazil (continued)



  • Brazil military government
    • Six 1.3 GWe reactors by 1998
    • Attempts to import European centrifuges


  • Three parallel military programs
    • Air Force – laser enrichment
    • Army – natural uranium graphite reactor Pu
    • Navy – centrifuge program
brazil continued19
Brazil (continued)

Peaceful Program


Brazil approves new Constitution: no nuclear weapons


Argentina and Brazil elected civilian Presidents


Argentina andBrazil terminate weapons programs and signed mutual “peaceful uses” treaty, establishing bilateral monitoring agency

brazil continued20
Brazil (continued)


Quadrilateral Agreement: Argentina, Brazil, bilateral agency, IAEA

But centrifuge program continues. Domestic design more capable than P-1.

Claimed purpose: Prestige, Independence;

but large hydropower resources


1957 – 1979

  • 1957 US-Iran Nuclear Cooperation agreement
  • 1968 Iran signs NPT; ratified in 1970
  • Plans to construct 23 nuclear power plants by 2001!
  • Starts Bushehr plant with German contractor
  • Invests in European Nuclear Energy Consortium
iran continued
Iran (continued)
  • Iranian Revolution

1984 – 1988 Bushehr damaged by Iraqi bombardment

1985? or Pakistan and China signed

2 yrs later nuclear cooperation agreements

with Iran. Tech transfers by Khan Organization.

1995 Iran contracts with Russia to finish Bushehr

iran continued23
Iran (continued)

2002 Iranian dissidents reveal existence of Natanz enrichment facility and a heavy water production plant

2003 Iran suspends enrichment under pressure from EU

2004 Iran breaks centrifuge seals

2005 Iran resumes conversion

April ‘06 Iran claims 3.5% enrichment; running 164 centrifuges

iran continued24
IRAN (continued)


  • Iran not fully cooperative with IAEA Safeguards
  • No evidence of NW program
  • Fatwa by Supreme Leader forbidding NW
  • Inalienable right to Fuel Cycle
  • Need for Independence?
  • Owns about 45 tons of reactor-grade Plutonium
  • Only about 10% of this is stored in Japan
  • The designated purpose of this material is for use in Mixed Oxide Fuel (MOX) and breeder reactors. These uses have been delayed or cancelled.
  • Reactor-grade Plutonium is useable in NW
north korea dprk
North Korea (DPRK)

1985 DPRK joins NPT

1991 US withdraws NW from South Korea

1992 DPRK concludes Safeguards Agreement with IAEA but IAEA

detected 90g diversion of plutonium

1993 DPRK announces intent to withdraw from NPT. IAEA demands more access to Yongbyon reactor.

Many US – DPRK diplomatic contacts

north korea dprk cont d
North Korea (DPRK) cont’d

October, 1994:

US and DPRK sign “Agreed Framework”

  • DPRK stop reprocessing
  • Korean Energy Development Organization (KEDO) to build two LWR’s and to supply fuel oil

Many follow-on diplomatic moves

north korea dprk cont d28
North Korea (DPRK) cont’d

1998 South Korea “Sunshine Policy”

1998- 2000 Extensive diplomatic bilateral contacts, including visit by Secretary of State Albright to Pyongyang

north korea dprk cont d29
North Korea (DPRK) cont’d

2001 Secretary of State Powell declares to “pick up where President Clinton left off,” but retracts and diplomacy turns hostile.

2002 President Bush includes DPRK in “axis of evil” in State of Union speech.

Possible use of NW against DPRK included in Nuclear Posture Review.

north korea dprk cont d30
North Korea (DPRK) cont’d

August 2002

KEDO groundbreaking for reactors

October 2002

Asst. Secretary of State James Kelly visits Pyongyang. US claims that DPRK admitted to Kelly that it had an HEU enrichment program. DPRK denies this, stating they only claimed a right to enrichment. Translation problem?

DPRK enrichment program has disappeared from media.

north korea dprk cont d31
North Korea (DPRK) cont’d

November 2002

KEDO suspends fuel oil shipments in response to US enrichment claims. IAEA challenges enrichment.

December 2002

DPRK restarts reactor, removes IAEA seals, expels inspectors.

north korea dprk cont d32
North Korea (DPRK) cont’d

January 2003

DPRK withdraws from NPT


DPRK tells US and China it has NW

Six Nation Talks; US refuses bilateral talks


DPRK tests NW

the ctbt and nonproliferation
The CTBT and Nonproliferation
  • Long History: 1958 initiatives
  • Partial Test ban: 1963 LTBT
  • Reality versus Symbolism

CTBT cited in all NPT Review Conferences

  • Reality
    • Cost to National Security low
    • Technical benefit to Nonproliferation low
    • Cost-Benefit Ratio is Quotient of two small quantities
  • The CTBT has been signed by most nations but is not in force. The US Administration opposes ratification.
  • The CTBT Monitoring system is in place and is supported by the US.
the ctbt matrix
The CTBT Matrix

CTBT all countries cheat to extent possible without detection


CTBT Complied with by all countries


NNWS Countries






  • What type of NW can each country build?
  • Conclusion: US interest served better with CTBT, obeyed or not, than without CTBT. (NAS, 2002)
remedies to proliferation
Remedies to Proliferation

What won’t work in the long run

  • Discriminatory “Coalition of the Willing”
      • Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI)
      • Selective enforcement
  • Divide world into fissile materials suppliers and receivers
  • Military pre-emption of nascent nuclear facilities (Israel v. OSIRAK, 1981)
remedies to proliferation cont d
Remedies to Proliferation (cont’d)

What may work

  • International fuel supply and return of spent fuel to international control
  • Strengthen IAEA; make Additional Protocol mandatory
  • Broaden negative and positive security assurances
  • Make withdrawal from NPT subject to U.N. Security Council Action
positive negative security assurances
Positive & Negative Security Assurances

NWS give assurances to

+ Come to the assistance of a NNWS threatened or attacked with NW

– Not to attack a NNWS with NW unless the NNWS is allied with a NWS

remedies to proliferation cont d38
Remedies to Proliferation (cont’d)

What will help

  • Universal No First Use acceptance by all NWS
  • Drastic reduction of Nuclear Weapons stockpiles by formal Treaty by NWS
  • Lessened reliance on military options in international relations
  • US leadership in all of the above


us leadership
US leadership

US is strongest military power measured by conventional military strength and economic power


“You cannot preach temperance from a bar stool.”

…Rep. Ed Markey, 2006


“Never negotiate with the United States unless you have a nuclear weapon.”

…IndianDeputy Minister of Defense


Nuclear Nonproliferation Demands that every Nation concludes that its security and Well-Being are served better without nuclear weapons than with them.