Nonproliferation Review March 2005

Volume 12 • Number 1


Striking a Balance: The Lessons of U.S.-Russian Materials Security Cooperation
Caitlin Talmadge

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U.S.-Russian cooperation on nuclear materials, protection, control, and accounting (MPC&A) grew rapidly in the 1990s, but then stagnated. What explains this pattern, and what steps could be taken to revitalize joint efforts to secure nuclear material? This article contends that MPC&A cooperation is most effective when government officials set overall policy goals, lobby for political support and funding, and provide central coordination, while scientists build trust with their Russian counterparts, develop technical plans, and oversee implementation on the ground. MPC&A cooperation has faltered since the late 1990s primarily because this balance has shifted too far in favor of bureaucratic control in both the United States and Russia. The article recommends steps to re-establish a balance between government oversight and scientific leadership, and offers lessons from U.S.-Russian MPC&A cooperation for possible future dealings with Iran, North Korea, and other proliferant states.

Visions of Fission: The Demise of Nuclear Negative Security Assurances on the Bush Administration’s Pentomic Battlefield
Charles P. Blair and Jean P. du Preez

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For many years, non-nuclear weapons states have sought binding commitments from nuclear armed states that they would not be the victim of either the threat or use of nuclear weapons – so-called negative security assurances (NSAs). The nuclear weapon states have traditionally resisted granting such unconditional NSAs. Recent U.S. efforts to use nuclear deterrence against the acquisition and use by other states of chemical, biological and radiological weapons, however, have further exacerbated this divide. This article analyzes the historical development of NSAs and contrasts U.S. commitments not to use nuclear weapons with the empirical realities of current U.S. nuclear weapons employment doctrines. The authors conclude that NSAs are most likely to be issued as unilateral declarations and that such pledges are the worst possible manner in which to handle the issue of security assurance.

The G8 Global Partnership: Progress and Prospects
Cristina Chuen

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An examination of the first three years of the G8 Global Partnership Against Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction indicates that the results achieved have been mixed. The elimination of fissile materials has been particularly problematic, even though Russia’s partners identified this program as a priority early in the partnership process. Its critical importance for nuclear nonproliferation has not been enough to persuade world leaders to solve liability disputes that are blocking further progress. Submarine dismantlement has met with far greater success, though more has been done to ameliorate environmental risks than proliferation concerns. The greatest Global Partnership success to date is in the sphere of chemical weapons annihilation. Nonetheless, more must be done to ensure that Moscow meets final Chemical Weapons Convention deadlines. If the Global Partnership is to make a real difference in securing weapons of mass destruction and component materials, stronger leadership and more coordination are needed.

Infectious Diseases and International Security: The Biological Weapons Convention and Beyond
Christian Enemark

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Threats to the security of states can result from the deliberate use of pathogens (biological weapons), their accidental release from research laboratories, or naturally occurring outbreaks of particular infectious diseases. This article discusses emerging opportunities for international cooperation against infectious diseases through the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The new process for reviewing the BWC could shift the BW problem away from the traditional arms control paradigm and toward broader notions of disease-based threats to security. In addition, proposed revisions to the WHO’s International Health Regulations are highly relevant to the challenge of responding to emerging and reemerging infectious diseases through national and international mechanisms. The article concludes with recommendations for meeting emerging BW threats.


Deterrence of Nuclear Terror: A Negligence Doctrine
Anders Corr

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Nuclear proliferation, lax security standards in the storage of fissile materials, and international apathy in the prosecution of terrorists make nuclear terror a serious threat to the United States and its allies, yet no doctrine of retaliation has been established. To decrease the probability of terrorist use of nuclear weapons, a doctrine of retaliation – a negligence doctrine – should be considered. If the United States can distinguish whose fissile material was used for a nuclear terror event, a negligence doctrine would prescribe retaliation against that state. Where the proximate cause – terrorists – is unavailable for deterrent retaliation, deterring an accessible mediate cause – a state that has failed to adequately secure its fissile material – is one of a few effective alternatives. In the absence of such a negligence doctrine, the United States and its allies are increasingly vulnerable to a nuclear terror attack and the ensuing negative consequences.

Mongolia: A Model for an Innovative Approach to Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones
Enkhsaikhan Jargalsaikhan

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Formed according to broad principles laid out by the United Nations, nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZs) play an important role in promoting nuclear nonproliferation, paralleling and complementing the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. But the traditional regional treaty-based path to establishing NWFZs is not open to all states. Owing to various factors, some countries cannot realistically follow the path of states that have established traditional NWFZs. Mongolia, having declared itself a single-state NWFZ in 1992 and gained UN General Assembly recognition of this status in 1998, may provide an example for other countries to follow. This viewpoint presents Mongolia’s case as a state seeking to acquire a nontraditional nuclear-weapon-free status despite unfavorable geopolitical circumstances. The case of Mongolia clearly demonstrates that the creation of a credible, single-state NWFZ status is possible, but demands the support and flexibility of both neighboring states and the nuclear weapon states.


Russian Naval Nuclear Fuel and Reactors: Dangerous Unknowns
Ole Reistad, Morten Bremer Maerli, and Nils Bøhmer

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Russian naval nuclear fuel and reactors pose both proliferation and environmental threats, ranging from the possible theft of highly-enriched uranium fuel to the radioactive contamination of the environment, whether due to accident, neglect, or sabotage. Current conditions at Russian naval bases, together with a history of accidents and incidents involving Russia’s nuclear fleet, make a convincing case for the large-scale assistance that the G8 is now providing to improve the safety and security of Russian naval reactors and fuel. However, virtually no data has been released to allow accurate, reliable, and independent analysis of reactor and fuel properties, risking misguided international efforts to assist in the areas of nuclear cleanup, nonproliferation, and security. This article identifies and assesses relevant properties and developments related to reactor and fuel design, provides a comprehensive presentation of Russian nuclear naval technologies, and examines technological trends in the context of proliferation and environmental security.

Indo-U.S. Space Cooperation: Poised for Take-Off?
Sundara Vadlamudi

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In January 2004 U.S. President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee announced the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership (NSSP), a bilateral initiative to expand cooperation in the areas of civilian space activities, civilian nuclear programs, and high-technology trade and to expand discussions on missile defense. Today, India and the United States view the NSSP initiative as a tool to transfer high-technology items to India without compromising U.S. nonproliferation goals. The success of this proposal depends on U.S. efforts to modify its nonproliferation regulations and India’s efforts to implement stringent regulations to control the flow of sensitive technologies within its borders. This report examines the Indo-U.S. NSSP initiative and associated agreements, discusses the set of reciprocal steps agreed upon by India and the United States, reviews the extent of technology transfer permissible under existing U.S. nonproliferation regulations, and presents some preliminary conclusions on the NSSP agreement.

Making Historical Surveys of States’ Nuclear Ambitions: Experiences from the Baltic Sea
Thomas Jonter and Lars van Dassen

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In signalling its wish to participate in the Additional Protocol at an early stage, Sweden took several steps at the national level long before it actually ratified the protocol in May 2004. In 1998, the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate (SKI) initiated a project to conduct a historical survey of Swedish nuclear weapons research for the period 1945-72. Sweden thus took an important step for the sake of transparency. SKI worked out a general model of how a nationally based survey could be designed, and gradually other states approached SKI in order to learn more about the methods and goals of the historical surveys. In 2002, a cooperative project was initiated between Sweden and Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Finland joined the cooperative effort, and it thus became a dialogue and project carried out by five neighboring states to make national surveys. This article presents summaries of the national reports from Sweden and the Baltic states.


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