cif physics project l.
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
CIF Physics Project PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
CIF Physics Project

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 53

CIF Physics Project - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

CIF Physics Project Redwood Christian High School Physics February 2006 Nuclear Weapons Weapons of incredible yield that unleashes the massive energy tied up in atomic bonds using either fusion or fission.

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'CIF Physics Project' - jacob

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
cif physics project

CIF Physics Project

Redwood Christian High School Physics

February 2006

nuclear weapons
Nuclear Weapons
  • Weapons of incredible yield that unleashes the massive energy tied up in atomic bonds using either fusion or fission.
  • Early Nuclear Bombs were primarily fission based, and modern bombs use fission-based triggers to detonate.
  • Fission Bombs use Uranium-235 because of its potential instability. When a rouge neutron hits U-235, the atom splits and the mass that is lost is converted to energy according to the formula E=MC².
  • Because of the fuel’s instability , it must be kept separate to maintain a subcritical, and stable formation.
gun triggered nukes
Gun Triggered Nukes
  • Gun Triggered Nukes are comprised of Uranium bullet that is fired into another mass of Uranium.
  • First, explosives placed behind the bullet detonate, and the two masses come together, forming critical mass.
  • A fission reaction begins, which is compressed back down by the tamper.
  • The added pressure and increased reaction of the Uranium detonate, releasing incredible amounts of energy.
  • “Little Boy” yielded a 14.5 kiloton explosion (approximately 14,500 tons of TNT).
implosion triggered nukes
Implosion Triggered Nukes
  • Implosion Triggered Nukes are made of wedges of Plutonium organized around in a shell.
  • Explosives organized around the shell detonate, forcing all the wedges into each other, creating overwhelming critical mass.
  • As the wedges reach the center, a Beryllium core triggers the nuclear reaction.
  • “Fat Man” yielded a 21 kiloton explosion (approximately 21,000 tons of TNT).
teller ulam design nukes
Teller-Ulam Design Nukes
  • Explosion is created by a complicated combination of explosions and compressions.
  • First the fission bomb explodes.
  • Then the X-rays created heat the interior of the bomb and the tamper.
  • The tamper expands and burns away, putting pressure against the Lithium Deuterate, which is squeezed 30-fold.
  • The compression shock waves create fission in the plutonium rod.
  • Additional compressions in the bomb introduce neutrons to the Lithium Deuterate.
  • The bomb explodes.

Nuclear States

United States

The United States developed the first atomic weapons during World War II out of the fear that Nazi Germany would first develop them. It tested its first nuclear weapon in 1945 ("Trinity"), and remains the only country to have used nuclear weapons against another nation, during the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (see: Manhattan Project). It was the first nation to develop the hydrogen bomb, testing it ("Ivy Mike") in 1952 and a deployable version in 1954 ("Castle Bravo").


Security On U.S. Missile Fields

  • Each boxed in section designated by a letter represents one missile squadron at F. E. Warren AFB
  • Each of the red dots represents one missile silo
  • Each missile silo is at least 2 miles away from the nearest missile silo
  • The operating room at the bottom of each silo is approximately 20 ft across with a workstation at each end for each of the two operators
  • At each station, there is a key on the left side and white switch on the right side

Security On U.S. Missile Fields

  • In order to launch a missile, you must:
    • Get the launch codes from the President
    • Program the codes into the computer
    • Program the destination into the navigation equipment
    • Flip all the correct things at the correct time
  • You have one key and one switch (requires both hands)
  • Your buddy at the other end has his own key and switch (requires both people)
  • Another missile silo has two people, both using both hands (requires both silos)
  • You must have both silos, using both people, using both hands to flip all 8 things within the same second to launch

Nuclear States


The USSR tested its first nuclear weapon ("Joe-1") in 1949, in a crash project developed partially with espionage obtained during and after World War II (see: Soviet atomic bomb project). The direct motivation for their weapons development was the development of a balance of power during the Cold War. It tested a primitive hydrogen bomb in 1953 ("Joe-4") and a megaton-range hydrogen bomb in 1955 ("RDS-37"). After its dissolution in 1991, its weapons entered officially into the possession of Russia.


Nuclear States

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom tested its first nuclear weapon ("Hurricane") in 1952, drawing largely on data gained while collaborating with the United States during the Manhattan Project. Its program was motivated to have an independent deterrence against the USSR, while also remaining relevant in Cold War Europe. It tested its first hydrogen bomb in 1957.


Nuclear States


France tested its first nuclear weapon in 1960, also as an independent deterrence and to retain perceived Cold War relevance (see: Force de frappe). It tested its first hydrogen bomb in 1968.


Nuclear States

The People's Republic of China tested its first nuclear weapon in 1964, much to the surprise of Western intelligence agencies. It had long sought assistance in becoming a nuclear power from an uneasy USSR, but assistance stopped after the Sino-Soviet split and the weapon was developed as a deterrent against both the USA and the USSR. It tested its first hydrogen bomb in 1967. The country is currently thought to have had a stockpile of 400 warheads since the early 1980s, though with considerably fewer than this actually deployed.



Nuclear States


India tested a "peaceful nuclear device", as it was described by their government, in 1974 ("Smiling Buddha"), the first test developed after the creation of the NPT, and created new questions about how civilian nuclear technology could be diverted secretly to weapons purposes (dual-use technology). It appears to have been primarily motivated as a deterrent against China. It tested weaponized nuclear warheads in 1998 ("Operation Shakti"), and also claimed to have tested a hydrogen bomb (though the truth of this is debated). In July 2005, it was officially recognized by the United States as a "responsible nuclear" state and agreed to full nuclear cooperation between the two nations. This is seen as an "official" entry into the nuclear club of the above nations.


Nuclear States

Pakistan covertly developed its nuclear weapons over many decades, with active Chinese assistance, beginning in the late 1970's, and tested its first fission devices in 1998. It seems to have been motivated primarily in creating a deterrence against India. The country's proliferation record is gravely suspect. The chief scientist who worked on the Pakistani bomb, A.Q. Khan, confessed in 2004 to illicitly distributing nuclear-enabling technology to many other countries, including Iran, Libya and North Korea.



Nuclear Capable States (Supposed Nuclear)


Israel - Israel is not a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and refuses to officially confirm or deny having a nuclear arsenal, or to having developed nuclear weapons, or even to having a nuclear weapons program. Although Israel claims that Dimona is a "research reactor," no scientific reports based on work done there have ever been published. Extensive information about the program in Dimona was also disclosed by technician Mordechai Vanunu in 1986. Imagery analysts can identify weapon bunkers, mobile missile launchers, and launch sites in satellite photographs. It is suspected to possess nuclear weapons by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Israel may have tested a nuclear weapon along with South Africa in 1979 (see Vela Incident). According to the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Federation of American Scientists, they may possess 300-400 weapons, a figure which would put them above the median in the declared list.


Nuclear Capable States


Iran - Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and says its interest in nuclear technology, including enrichment, was for civilian purposes only, but the CIA claim this to be a cover for a nuclear weapons program. The Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi stated on the intentions of his country's nuclear ambitions: "Iran has a high technical capability and has to be recognized by the international community as a member of the nuclear club. This is an irreversible path."

North Korea - On January 10, 2003 North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In February 2005 they claimed to possess functional nuclear weapons, though their lack of a test has led many experts to question whether or not they have a working weapon. They recently have signed a treaty with the United States, promising to give up all of the supposed nuclear weapons and programs.

North Korea


Nuclear Capable States

Ukraine - signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Ukraine inherited about 5,000 nuclear weapons when it became independent from the USSR in 1991, making its nuclear arsenal the third-largest in the world. It transferred all of these to Russia by 1996. However recent news has surfaced that due to a clerical error, Ukraine may still possess several hundred warheads which were not accounted for in the armaments repatriation move 14 years ago. In any case, even if Ukraine does possess these weapons, they are technically missing and not in a deployed state or any part of Ukraine's defense posture.


Belarus – A few Eastern European countries inherited whatever nuclear stockpiles happened to be stationed in their territory after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Belarus had 81 single warhead missiles which it returned to Russia by 1996. Belarus signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.



Nuclear Capable States


Kazakhstan – Inherited 1,400 nuclear weapons from Soviet Union, returned them all to Russia by 1995. Signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

South Africa

South Africa – Produced six nuclear weapons in the 1980s but disassembled them in the early 1990s, and is thus the only nation known to have willingly given up nuclear status after developing their own weapons. Possibly tested a low yield device in 1979, perhaps with Israel, over the southern oceans in the Vela Incident. Signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.


Nuclear Capable States


Australia – Following World War II, Australian defence policy premised joint nuclear weapons development with the United Kingdom. Australia provided uranium, land for weapons and rocket tests, and scientific and engineering expertise. Canberra was also heavily involved in the Blue Streak ballistic missile program. In 1955, a contract was signed with a British company to build the Hi-Flux Australian Reactor (HIFAR). HIFAR was considered the first step towards the construction of larger reactors capable of producing substantial volumes of plutonium for nuclear weapons. However, Australia's nuclear ambitions were abandoned by the 1960s, and the country signed the NPT in 1970 (ratified in 1973).

Argentina – Conducted a nuclear weapon research program, under military rule in 1978, at a time when it had signed, but not ratified, the Treaty of Tlatelolco. The program was abandoned after the return of civilian rule in 1983. Argentina later signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. [19]. However, unofficial reports, and US intelligence believe Argentina continued some kind of nuclear weapons program during the 1980's and 1990's, mainly because of rivalry with Brazil.



Nuclear Capable States


Brazil – Military regime conducted a nuclear weapon research program (code-named "Solimões") to acquire nuclear weapons in 1978, in spite of having ratified the Treaty of Tlatelolco in 1968. When an elected government came into power in 1985, though, the program was ended. On July 13, 1998 President Fernando Henrique Cardoso signed and ratified both the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), denying that Brazil had developed nuclear weapons.


Egypt – Had a nuclear weapon research program from 1954 to 1967. Egypt signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.


Nuclear Capable States

Iraq – Signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Had a nuclear weapon research program during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. In 1981, Israel destroyed Iraqi nuclear reactor Osiraq. In 1996, the UN's Hans Blix reported that Iraq had dismantled or destroyed all of their nuclear capabilities. In 2003, the United States declared war on Iraq, charging that there was evidence the nation had "weapons of mass destruction" that likely included some form of nuclear program. However in 2004 the Duelfer Report concluded Iraq's nuclear program was terminated in 1991.


Imperial Japan – Japan conducted research into nuclear weapons during World War II though made little headway. Japan signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. While Japan has the technological capabilities to develop nuclear weapons in a short time there is no evidence they are doing so. Japan's constitution forbids it from producing nuclear weapons and the country has been active in promoting non-proliferation treaties. There exists some suspicion that nuclear weapons may be located in US bases in Japan.



Nuclear Capable States


Libya – Signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. On December 19, 2003, Libya admitted having had a nuclear weapon program and simultaneously announced its intention to end it and dismantle all existing Weapons of Mass Destruction to be verified by unconditional inspections.


Poland – Nuclear research began in Poland in the early 1960s, with the first controlled nuclear fission reaction being achieved in late 1960s. During the 1970s further research resulted in the generation of fusion neutrons through convergent shockwaves. In the 1980s research focused on the development of micro-nuclear reactions, and was under military control. Currently Poland operates the MARIA nuclear research reactor under the control of the Institute of Atomic Energy, in Świerk near Warsaw. Poland signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and officially possess no nuclear weapons.


Nuclear Capable States

Romania – Signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In spite of this, under Nicolae Ceauşescu, in the 1980s, Romania had a secret nuclear-weapons development program, that was stopped after the overthrow of Ceauşescu in 1989.


South Korea – Began a nuclear weapons program in the early 1970s, which was believed abandoned after signing NPT in 1975. However there have been allegations that program may have been continued after this date by the military government. In late 2004, the South Korean government disclosed to the IAEA that scientists in South Korea had extracted plutonium in 1982 and enriched uranium to near-weapons grade in 2000. (see South Korean nuclear research programs)

South Korea


Nuclear Capable States


Sweden – During the 1950s and 1960s, Sweden seriously investigated nuclear weapons, intended to be deployed over coastal facilities of an invading enemy (read: the Soviet Union). A very substantial research effort of weapon design and manufacture was conducted resulting in enough knowledge to allow Sweden to manufacture nuclear weapons. A weapon research facility was to be built in Studsvik. Saab made plans for a supersonic nuclear bomber, the A36. However Sweden decided not to pursue a weapon production program and signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Switzerland – Between 1946 and 1969 Switzerland had a secret nuclear program that came into light in 1995. By 1963 theoretical basics with detailed technical proposals, specific arsenals, and cost estimates for Swiss nuclear armaments were made. This program was, however, abandoned partly because of financial costs and by signing the NPT on November 27, 1969.




Nuclear Capable States

The Republic of China (Taiwan) – Conducted a covert nuclear weapon research program from 1964 until 1988 when it was stopped as a result of U.S. pressure. Signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968. According to a previously classified 1974 U.S. Defense Department memorandum Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger expressed a view during a meeting with Ambassador Leonard Unger that U.S. nuclear weapons housed in Taiwan needed to be withdrawn. The ROC is said to be currently developing the Tien Chi, a short-range ballistic missile system that could reach the coast of mainland China.

Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's nuclear ambitions began as early as 1950s when scientists considered both uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing. In 1956, the Vinča fuel reprocessing site was constructed, followed by research reactors in 1958 and 1959, for which the Soviets provided heavy water and enriched uranium. In 1966, plutonium reprocessing tests began in Vinča laboratories, resulting in gram quantities of reprocessed plutonium. During the 1950s and 1960s there was also cooperation in plutonium processing between Yugoslavia and Norway. In the year 1960 Tito froze the nuclear program for unknown reasons, but restarted it, after India's first nuclear tests, in 1974. The program continued even after Tito's death in 1980, divided into two components – for weapons design and civilian nuclear energy, until a decision to stop all nuclear weapons research was made in July 1987. The civilian nuclear program however resulted in a nuclear power plant Krško built in 1983, now co-owned by Slovenia and Croatia, and used for peaceful production of electricity.



Canada - Canada has a well developed nuclear technology base, large uranium reserves and even markets a type of reactor for civilian power generation. While Canada has the technological capabilities to develop nuclear weapons, there is no hard evidence they have done so, nor has Canada ever shown the intention to join the nuclear club outright. Canada has been an important contributor of both expertise and raw materials to the American program in the past, and had even helped with the Manhattan Project. Canada accepted having American nuclear warheads under dual key control on Canadian soil in 1963 to be used on the Canadian BOMARC missiles. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau declared Canada would be a nuclear weapon free country in 1971, and the last American warheads were withdrawn in 1984. Before this time Canada also carried a compliment of AIR-2 Genie nuclear tipped air to air missiles.

Nuclear Capable States


Italy - Italy has operated a number of nuclear reactors, both for power and for research. The country was also a base for the GLCM nuclear-armed ground-launched variant of the Tomahawk cruise missile during the 1980s, despite strong public outcry. While no evidence suggests that Italy intends to develop or deploy nuclear weapons, such a capability exists - estimates from as far back as the mid-Eighties show that Italy could begin and complete a nuclear weapons program in as little as 2 to 3 years.



Nuclear Capable States


Lithuania - Nuclear power reactors produces 77% of Lithuania's electricity. It has 2 of the world's most powerful reactors in its territory, although one was shut down recently. Lithuania has the means of legally acquiring fissile materials for power plants. Lithuania also has former launch sites for Soviet Union missiles. However, there is no political will at present to develop nuclear weapons in Lithuania.


Netherlands - Operates a power reactor at Borsele, producing 452 MW, which satisfies 5% of its electrical needs. Several Dutch companies are key participants in the tri-national Urenco uranium enrichment consortium. By the year 2000 the Netherlands had about 2 tonnes of separated reactor grade plutonium. There is no evidence for nuclear weapon programs in the Netherlands.


Nuclear Capable States

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia - In 2003 members of the government stated that due to the worsening relations with the USA, Saudi Arabia was being forced to consider the development of nuclear weapons. However, so far they have denied that they are making any attempt to produce them. Rumor has it that Pakistan has transferred several nuclear weapons to Saudi Arabia, but this is unconfirmed.


Non Nuclear States

  • Iceland
  • Greece
  • Denmark
  • Ireland
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Poland
  • Nigeria
  • Chad
  • Zaire
  • Luxemburg
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Congo
  • Zimbabwe
  • Ethiopia
  • Malawi
  • Syria
  • Afghanistan
  • Mongolia
  • Burma
  • Sri Lanka
  • Nepal
  • Bangladesh
  • Laos
  • Vietnam
  • Philippines
  • Indonesia
  • Papua New Guinea
  • New Zealand
  • Haiti
  • Many More… _nuclear_weapons

nuclear testing breakdown
Nuclear Testing Breakdown
  • Weapon Yield Tests. These tests primarily test

range, size, and general effectiveness of the

nuclear weapon.

  • Weapon Effect Tests. These tests primarily

test variants in nuclear explosions such as

weather, location, and the effects produced

on the immediate area.

  • In the last 60 years, there has been approximately 2000 nuclear tests, occurring in as many as a dozen countries.
  • Nuclear tests also test the deployment packages such as warhead missiles or submarines.
nuclear testing

United States


United Kingdom



Above Surface Detonations






Below Surface Detonations






Total Nuclear Detonations






Nuclear Testing
nuclear testing33
Nuclear Testing

The map above shows locations of all nuclear tests and other detonations worldwide. Atmospheric tests are in blue, underground tests in red. Successively larger symbols indicate yields from 0 to 150 kt, from 150 kt to 1 mt, and over 1 mt.







  • Fission bombs derive their power from nuclear fission, where heavy nuclei (uranium or plutonium) are bombarded by neutrons and split into lighter elements, more neutrons and energy. These newly liberated neutrons then bombard other nuclei, which then split and bombard other nuclei, and so on, creating a nuclear chain reactions which releases large amounts of energy. These are historically called atomic bombs, atom bombs, or A-bombs, though this name is not precise due to the fact that chemical reactions release energy from atomic bonds and fusion is no less atomic than fission. Despite this possible confusion, the term atom bomb has still been generally accepted to refer specifically to nuclear weapons, and most commonly to pure fission devices.


  • Fusion bombs are based on nuclear fusion where light nuclei such as deuterium and lithium combine together into heavier elements and release large amounts of energy. Weapons which have a fusion stage are also referred to as hydrogen bombs or H-bombs because of their primary fuel, or thermonuclear weapons because fusion reactions require extremely high temperatures for a chain reaction to occur.

Nuclear power production can transform

plutonium to its weapons grade state easily

Nuclear Power and Nuclear Weaponsby Theodore B. Taylor*, July 1996

Nuclear power plants typically produce a net of about 200 kilograms of plutonium per year for each 1,000 megawatts of electric power generating capacity. Some 430 nuclear power plants, with combined electrical generating capacity of nearly 340,000 megawatts, are now operating in 32 countries. The plants account for about 7% of total primary energy consumption worldwide, or about 17% of the world's electrical energy. Total net annual production of plutonium by these plants is nearly 70,000 kilograms, enough for making more than 10,000 nuclear warheads per year.

So far about four times as much plutonium has been produced in power reactors than has been used for making nuclear weapons-about 1 million kilograms, most of which is in spent nuclear fuel in storage, compared with about 250,000 kilograms for weapons.6

Nearly 200,000 kilograms of plutonium have been chemically separated from spent power reactor fuel in chemical reprocessing facilities in at least 8 countries (Belgium, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States).7 This is typically stored as plutonium oxide that can relatively easily be converted to plutonium metal for use in nuclear explosives.


Several Non-Proliferation treaties exist, including:

  • Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
  • Open Skies Treaty
  • Ottawa Landmines Convention
  • Outer Space Treaty
  • Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty (PNET)
  • Physical Protection of Nuclear Material Convention
  • Seabed Arms Control Treaty
  • South Pacific Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Rarotonga)
  • Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I) (narrative)
  • Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT II)
  • Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I)
  • Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty II (START II)
  • Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty
  • Threshold Test Ban Treaty (TTBT)
  • African Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba)
  • The 1994 U.S.-North Korean Agreed Framework
  • Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty
  • Biological Weapons Convention
  • Chemical Weapons Convention
  • Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)
  • Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty
  • Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
  • International Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation
  • Latin America Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Tlatelolco)
  • Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT)
  • Missile Technology Control Regime

--Our focus will be on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, hereafter known as he NPT. “The NPT aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to additional states while ensuring fair access to peaceful nuclear technology under international safeguards (audits and inspections). There are two categories of parties to the treaty— nuclear weapon states (NWS) and non-nuclear weapon states (NNWS), as shown earlier.” The NPT took effect on March 5, 1970, after being opened for signature on July 1, 1968, and nations have been signing on ever since (although Democratic People's Republic of Korea DPRK, also known as North Korea) announced its withdrawal from the treaty in 2003).


The NPT-

-The NPT is the result of a long line of negotiations among various states concerned with the use of nuclear technology for both peaceful and destructive purposes. With the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in mind and risks of the spread of nuclear weapon technology growing, the international community sought ways to prevent any future use or acquisition of such destructive weapons.

  • Forbids member states without nuclear weapons from developing them
  • Forbids states with nuclear weapons from transferring them to any other state
  • Provides assurance through the application of international safeguards that peaceful nuclear programs in NNWS will not be diverted to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices
  • Facilitates access to peaceful uses of nuclear energy for all NNWS under international safeguards
  • Commits member states to pursue good faith negotiations toward ending the nuclear arms race and achieving nuclear disarmament.

History of NPT-

In 1946, the UN General Assembly established the UN Atomic Energy Commission "to deal with the problems raised by the discovery of nuclear energy." Due to disagreements between the United States and the Soviet Union, this commission was unsuccessful in drafting a nonproliferation treaty.

Later that year, the United States proposed the Baruch Plan, named after U.S. diplomat Bernard Baruch. According to this plan, the United States would give up its nuclear weapon program after all other states had ceded their nuclear materials to international control. The Soviet Union opposed the plan as too advantageous to the United States and wanted the United States to turn over its nuclear weapons before other countries gave up their nuclear materials. These differences could not be resolved. The Soviet Union tested its first nuclear weapon in 1949, and by 1950, both the Soviet Union and the United States were engaged in a nuclear arms race. In 1952, the United Kingdom tested nuclear weapons for the first time.

In the 1950s, several programs were launched to develop peaceful nuclear projects and guard against nuclear weapons proliferation. In 1953, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower established the "Atoms for Peace" program through which the United States concluded nuclear cooperation agreements with 40 friendly countries between 1956 and 1959. As a result, 26 states that accepted U.S. safeguards on U.S.-origin nuclear materials and equipment against military use of nuclear technology were provided with research reactors, nuclear training, and reactor fuel (fissionable material). The Soviet Union developed a similar program during this period to provide peaceful nuclear technology to nations in its orbit. Meanwhile, in Western Europe, EURATOM was established in 1958 to facilitate peaceful nuclear development within the European Community.


The establishment of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1957 provided the institutional foundation for promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and for the application of safeguards by an international organization to ensure that nuclear assistance was not being used to serve any military purpose. Inspections implemented by the United States and the Soviet Union on their own nuclear exports were taken over by the IAEA during the 1960s. The IAEA published its first set of uniform safeguards standards in 1961. Further refinements were devised and safeguards were extended to a broader range of nuclear activities through subsequent safeguards documents, promulgated in 1964 and 1967. The IAEA would later become the institution through which the NPT would verify the commitments of NNWS.

The idea of creating a nonproliferation treaty acquired greater urgency in February 1960, when the first French nuclear weapon test was carried out in Algeria. This test raised fears regarding whether other countries would follow suit. At that time, several countries were actively researching nuclear technologies, including among others, Germany, Israel, India, Italy, Japan, Sweden, and Switzerland. A driving force behind a nonproliferation treaty was the superpowers' shared interest in ensuring that West Germany, as well as other advanced industrial countries, would not develop nuclear weapons.

While the IAEA was still evolving, between 1958 and 1961, proposals at the United Nations supported the negotiation of a treaty that would prevent the further spread of nuclear weapons. These efforts culminated in the 1961 adoption (by the UN General Assembly) of a resolution sponsored by Ireland, "Prevention of the Wider Dissemination of Nuclear Weapons." It called for measures to prevent the spread of nuclear weapon technology to additional states and for all countries to desist from acquiring or transferring nuclear weapons. The impetus provided by the "Irish Resolution" led the way for the negotiation of the NPT. This resolution focused only on stopping nuclear proliferation without explicitly tying it to stopping the nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union.


The Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 brought the United States and the Soviet Union to the brink of a nuclear war. This crisis, as well as international pressure to halt atmospheric nuclear testing resulted in a Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT) negotiated by the United States, United Kingdom, and the USSR. But just two years later, in October 1964, China conducted its first nuclear test, and this event renewed international interest in devising a multinational treaty to prevent further nuclear weapon proliferation.

The Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union underscored the real possibility of nuclear war. At the same time, most of the industrially advanced NNWS formed alliance relationships giving them the benefit of a nuclear umbrella either through the U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or the Soviet-led Warsaw Treaty Organization (Warsaw Pact). These alliances offered an alternative to the national development of nuclear weapons, by providing nuclear defense guarantees respectively by the United States and the Soviet Union. Both superpowers deployed large numbers of nuclear weapons and delivery systems on the territories of their respective NNWS allies. Unlike the Soviet program, under which these weapons remained under the exclusive control of the USSR, several NATO NNWS, under the aegis of NATO's Nuclear Planning Group, engaged in military exercises that would allow them to deliver U.S. nuclear weapons in time of war, although the United States maintained control over the weapons in peacetime. This aspect of NATO's nuclear doctrine and planning remains controversial to this day. Some argue that the doctrine, which continued after the creation of the NPT, is contrary to Articles I and II of that treaty, which prohibit the transfer of control over nuclear weapons to any NNWS. Others contend that the exercises were training programs only and control over U.S. nuclear weapons was, in fact, never transferred to an NNWS.


-The NPT mandates that five years after its entry into force, a review conference would be held; and after 25 years, a conference would be held to determine the duration of the treaty. Since the First Review Conference in 1975, one has been held every five years, with participation increasing with each conference. Consensus on key nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament issues was possible only in 1975, 1985, 1995, and 2000.

The Review Conferences

1975 Review Conference Parties: 91 Issues: Treaty objectives, treaty implementation, and strengthened adherence, U.S.-Soviet arms race Resolved: Review conferences would be held every five years. The Final Declaration reaffirmed commitment to treaty objectives and urged nuclear weapon states (NWS) to comply with disarmament obligations.

The treaty stipulated that five years after its entry info force, a review conference would be held in Geneva, Switzerland. This conference convened in 1975 and decided to hold review conferences every five years thereafter to review the implementation of the NPT, and assure that its purposes and provisions were being realized. In 1975, there were 91 parties to the treaty. The most pressing issue at the conference was dissatisfaction with the continuing U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms race. The conference urged the NWS to achieve nuclear disarmament as provided for in Article VI of the NPT.


1980 Review ConferenceParties: 112 Issues: Implementation of nuclear disarmament and halting of the arms race, peaceful nuclear assistance and cooperationResolved: Parties were unable to reach consensus on a Final Declaration. Many NNWS called on the United States and USSR to ratify the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) II (which the United States had withdrawn from consideration following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan), and called for the conclusion of a Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

By the time of the Second Review Conference, the membership had increased to 112 parties, including Japan and West Germany. Implementation of nuclear disarmament under Article VI remained a challenge.

1985 Review ConferenceParties: 131 Issues: Horizontal proliferation to non-member states, especially Israel and South Africa; CTBTResolved: Final Declaration urged expansion of nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZs) and progress on nuclear disarmament.

At the review conference, some argued that horizontal proliferation, particularly in Israel and South Africa (neither of which was a member of the NPT), was threatening the treaty's objective of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. By 1985, several NWFZ treaties were in existence:the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, the Treaty of Tlatelolco of 1967 in Latin America, the Seabed Treaty of 1971, and the Treaty or Rarotonga in the South Pacific. While the Antarctic, Outer Space, and Seabed treaties relate to environments not inhabited by people, they, like the Tlatelolco and Rarotonga treaties, represent efforts to prevent the introduction of nuclear weapons into areas that up to this time have been free of them.


1990 Review ConferenceParties: 140 Issues: Implementation of nuclear disarmament, CTBT, safeguards agreements, security assurancesResolved: No Final Declaration was produced because of disagreement over Article VI and frustration that CTBT negotiations had not progressed.

At the Fourth Review Conference in 1990, participants welcomed nine new members, to make a total of 140 parties. China and France were present as observers.

1995 Review and Extension ConferenceParties: 178 Issues: The treaty's duration, nuclear disarmament, Middle East, strengthened reviewResolved: According to Article X.2 of the NPT, 25 years after entry into force, a conference of NPT members would decide whether to keep the treaty in force indefinitely or extend it for an additional fixed period or periods.

By the Fifth Review Conference in 1995, some states that once possessed nuclear weapons had renounced that option and had formally joined the NPT as NNWS. Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine agreed in 1992 to give up the nuclear weapons deployed on their territories by the Soviet Union and to join the NPT as NNWS. South Africa dismantled its six nuclear weapons and joined the NPT in 1991. Argentina and Brazil both had apparent nuclear weapon programs, but halted their development and joined the NPT in 1995 and 1998, respectively. In total, an additional 38 states had acceded to the treaty by 1995, including the NWS of China and France, increasing its total membership to 178 states. China and France were allowed to join the treaty as NWS because they manufactured and exploded a nuclear weapon or other nuclear explosive device prior to 1 January 1967 (as provided for in Article IX of the treaty).



While the majority of the states favored the treaty's indefinite extension, some NNWS wanted the treaty extended for a fixed period of 25 years as a way to maintain leverage over the NWS with regard to progress in nuclear disarmament. Thus, if the NWS did not comply with their obligations by continuing to make progress with disarmament, the NNWS had the option of not renewing the treaty. Those arguing for indefinite extension of the treaty saw any other option as undermining the authority of the NPT and of the nonproliferation regime, as well as weakening the basis for nuclear disarmament by the NWS.

After much debate, it was decided to extend the treaty indefinitely as part of a package that included separate decisions on the strengthened review process, principles and objectives for nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, and a resolution on the Middle East.

In terms of Decision 1, "Strengthening the Review Process for the Treaty," the states parties agreed to hold preparatory committees (PrepComs) for the review conferences in each of the three years preceding a review conference. If necessary, a fourth preparatory committee meeting could be held in the year of a review conference. At the PrepCom meetings, states parties should consider principles, objectives, and ways to promote the full implementation of the treaty, as well as its universality. PrepCom meetings can also make recommendations for further action to the review conference.

Decision 2, "Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament," was adopted in order to accomplish full realization and effective implementation of all the provisions of the treaty. This decision also called for the full realization and effective implementation of Article VI of the treaty, including through a program of action on nuclear disarmament. The program of action included the conclusion of a CTBT no later than 1996, a ban on production of fissile materials for weapons purposes, and systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons, with the "ultimate goal of eliminating those weapons."


The resolution on the Middle East called on all states in the region to join the treaty and put all nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards. Although Israel was not named directly, it is the only state in the Middle Eastern region not party to the treaty. The resolution also required all states in the region to work toward a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons, as well as other weapons of mass destruction, and called on all NPT states parties, in particular the nuclear weapons states, to support this goal.

The Conference was unable to agree on a Final Document due to differences between NWS and NNWS on how to characterize past progress in achieving the objectives of the treaty, in particular in relation to Article VI.

2000 Review ConferenceParties: 187 Issues: Nuclear disarmament, regional issues in the Middle East, South Asia, and North Korea, non-compliance, universality, IAEA safeguards Resolved: This was the first review conference since 1985 to adopt a Final Document. Of 187 member states, 157 participated and Cuba attended as an observer. The document included an unequivocal undertaking by the five nuclear weapons states to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament as part of"Thirteen Practical Steps" for the systematic and progressive efforts to implement Article VI. The document resulted from appeals to the NWS by the New Agenda Coalition (NAC), comprising seven NNWS countries: Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, and Sweden. The Thirteen Practical Steps require the NWS to:


further unilateral nuclear weapon reductions;

  • increased transparency with regard to nuclear weapon capabilities and the implementation of reductions under Article VI;
  • further reduction of non-strategic or tactical nuclear weapons;
  • concrete, agreed upon measures to further reduce the operational status of nuclear weapons;
  • diminishing role for nuclear weapons in security policies to minimize the risk of their use and to facilitate nuclear disarmament; and
  • the engagement of all five NWS, as soon as appropriate, in the process leading to the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

1. achieve the early entry into force of the CTBT;2. establish a moratorium on nuclear test explosions pending the entry into force of the CTBT; 3. negotiate a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) at the Conference on Disarmament;4. deal with nuclear disarmament in the Conference on Disarmament;5. implement the principle of irreversibility with respect to nuclear disarmament measures; 6. undertake unequivocally to accomplish the total elimination of nuclear arsenals; 7. work toward the early entry into force of START II and the conclusion of START III as soon as possible, while preserving and strengthening the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty as a cornerstone of strategic stability and as a basis for further reductions in nuclear weapons;8. complete the Trilateral Initiative between the United States, Russia, and IAEA; 9. take specific steps agreed to by the NWS leading to nuclear disarmament:

10. place excess weapon fissile material from dismantled nuclear warheads irreversibly under IAEA or other international verification arrangements to preclude the re-use of such materials for military purposes;11. reaffirm that the ultimate objective of the disarmament process is general and complete disarmament under international control;


12. report regularly within the strengthened review process on the implementation of Article VI and the "programme of action" outlined in Decision 2 of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference; and13. develop further verification capabilities to assure compliance with nuclear disarmament agreements.

The United States supported all of these measures at the time of their adoption at the 2000 NPT Review Conference. However, the United States no longer endorses a number of these steps. In particular, the George W. Bush administration does not support ratification of the CTBT, withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and has endorsed an informal approach to nuclear weapon reductions with Russia that does not include ratification of START II.

Concerns were also expressed over the importance of Iraq's and North Korea's compliance with IAEA safeguards, the tensions between India and Pakistan, and Israel's continuing opaque nuclear policies.  As well, all states in the Middle East were invited to take practical steps towards the establishment of "a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons as well as other weapons of mass destruction," and report their progress at the 2005 Review Conference.  The conference deplored the nuclear test explosions carried out by India and Pakistan in May 1998.  In efforts to achieve universal membership, the conference called on the remaining four states not party to the treaty (Cuba, India, Israel and Pakistan) to join the treaty.


The Conference also adopted the decision on "Improving the effectiveness of the strengthened review process for the Treaty." In this decision, the states parties reaffirmed that three sessions of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) should be held in the years prior to the review conference, and that if necessary, a fourth session would be held in the year of the review conference. In addition, the states parties recommended that specific time be allocated at sessions of the PrepCom to address specific relevant issues. They also agreed that the purpose of the first two sessions of the PrepCom would be to consider principles, objectives, and ways in order to promote the full implementation of the treaty, as well as its universality. At the third and fourth (if necessary) sessions, the PrepCom should make every effort to produce a consensus report containing recommendations to the review conference. The last session of the PrepCom should also finalize the procedural arrangements for the review conference.

2005 Review ConferenceParties:  188Major Issues: Non-compliance, Iran, North Korea, withdrawal, nuclear terrorism (non- state actors’ possible acquisition of nuclear weapons or materials), clandestine nuclear supply network, negative security assurances, nuclear disarmament, peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the nuclear fuel cycle, enforcement mechanismResolved: The seventh Review Conference failed to reach any substantive agreement. The final document merely summarized the conduct of the meeting without reference to any substance agreements. This conference was characterized by a deep division between regional and political groups—the Western Group and Others (WEOG), Eastern Group, and Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)—and between nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states.


The Review Conference convened under the presidency of Ambassador Sergio de Queiroz Duarte from Brazil on May 2nd and concluded on the 27th. One hundred and fifty three states parties out of 188 (this number does not include the DPRK) in total assembled at the UN Headquarters and 119 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) attended as observers. Also, several international organizations such as the IAEA, as well as intergovernmental organizations including the African Union, the League of Arab States, and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) participated as observers. When the NPT states parties met at the 2005 Review Conference, they sought to find effective solutions to meet the most difficult challenges the NPT has faced in its 35 year history. Unfortunately they failed to do so. The failure of the Review Conference to respond collectively to numerous challenges facing the treaty today, has already led many to forecast that the treaty is doomed to fail, especially if the 2010 Review Conference has the same fate. The states parties seem to have run out of options for dealing with the only three states that have not joined the treaty—India, Israel, and Pakistan—now armed with nuclear weapons. Despite North Korea’s announced withdrawal from the treaty in January 2003, the states parties have yet to collectively respond to this unprecedented challenge. This apparent inaction appears tantamount to tacit acceptance of yet another nuclear-armed state outside the treaty. Concerns have increased that some NNWS, such as North Korea, Iraq, Iran, and Libya, have in the past been, or continue to be, involved in clandestine activities related to nuclear weapons development. Moreover, concerns about the acquisition of nuclear material by sub-national terrorist groups and clandestine networks such as that of A.Q. Khan have intensified. Responding to these new nonproliferation challenges, new initiatives have been taken, of which some have generated debate over further restriction on the inalienable right of peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The majority of states parties continue to be deeply concerned that despite the core bargain of the treaty—to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and promote the ultimate elimination of these weapons—more than 30,000 nuclear weapons continue to exist in the arsenals of the five NPT nuclear weapon-states and the three de facto nuclear capable states.


The Review Conference represented a missed opportunity for states parties to respond to these challenges, and address long-standing issues. But, a Review Conference should not only be judged by the ability or lack thereof by states parties to agree by consensus on a final declaration. Although short on substance, the Conference offered an opportunity to explore new ways to strengthen the Treaty, including ways to enforce compliance and to prevent further withdrawals. While the Conference could not find ways to deal collectively with these challenges, it did focus the spotlight on a number of pressing issues of common concern. The 2005 NPT Review Conference was further significant since it marked the 10-year anniversary of the NPT’s indefinite extension agreed to in 1995. It was also the first Review Conference since adoption of the 13 practical steps for nuclear disarmament at the 2000 Review Conference. In addition, 2005 marked the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings of 1945. Disagreement over procedural issues prevented negotiations on substantive issues until late in the second week of the Conference. States parties were only able to reach agreement on the agenda on Wednesday, May 11th, 10 days after the opening. The Main Committee meetings were supposed to start on Wednesday during the first week. Disagreement over the agenda stemmed from the United States’ attempts to block negotiation on the nuclear disarmament commitments made at the 2000 and 1995 Review Conferences. Naturally the Non-Aligned Movement responded with an equally uncompromising stance. Since the Main Committee meetings only started on May 19, the allocated time for substantive negotiations was insufficient. None of the Main Committees were able to adopt agreed upon text with the result that no final document could be presented to and adopted by the final plenary.