Nonproliferation Treaty Safeguards and the Spread of Nuclear Technology

by Victor Gilinsky, William E. Hoehn


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This report examines the value of international safeguards on civilian nuclear materials and facilities, and suggests that antiproliferation efforts would be more effective if also directed toward inhibiting the preconditions for the rapid development of nuclear weapons programs, at least in the less advanced countries. Possibilities for control depend strongly on the incentives and options of major industrialized nonnuclear countries for import of nuclear technology. Early U.S. agreement on a scaled-down safeguards system for such countries, particularly Japan and the EURATOM countries, might gain their cooperation in attempting to control the flow of some items of nuclear technology and, at the same time, remove present objections to the intrusiveness of existing International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. The proposed safeguards system could be monitored by the IAEA, which could set standards and procedures for national inspection systems. The countries that met them would then essentially inspect themselves. The authors add that, despite the limited effectiveness of present safeguards, the principle of international safeguards is important. Present arrangements set important precedents and keep the door open for possibly more effective, future inspection techniques.

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