Nonproliferation Review November 2010

Volume 17 • Number 3


View this issue’s note from the Editor


View this issue’s contributor bios


Mustafa Kibaroglu • Louise Shelley • In Memoriam: Alexander Pikayev


Nuclear Islands: International Leasing of Nuclear Fuel Cycle Sites To Provide Enduring Assurance of Peaceful Use
Christopher E. Paine and Thomas B. Cochran

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Current International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards do not provide adequate protection against the diversion to military use of materials or technology from certain types of sensitive nuclear fuel cycle facilities. In view of highly enriched uranium’s relatively greater ease of use as a nuclear explosive material than plutonium and the significant diseconomies of commercial spent fuel reprocessing, this article focuses on the need for improved international controls over uranium enrichment facilities as the proximate justification for creation of an International Nuclear Fuel Cycle Association (INFCA). In principle, the proposal is equally applicable to alleviating the proliferation concerns provoked by nuclear fuel reprocessing plants and other sensitive nuclear fuel cycle facilities. The INFCA would provide significantly increased nonproliferation assurance to its member states and the wider international community by holding long-term leasehold contracts to operate secure restricted zones containing such sensitive nuclear facilities.

Integrating Nuclear Weapons Stockpile Management and Nuclear Arms Control Objectives to Enable Significant Stockpile Reductions
Lani Miyoshi Sanders, Sharon M. DeLand & Arian L. Pregenzer

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In his 2009 Prague speech and the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, President Barack Obama committed the United States to take concrete steps toward nuclear disarmament while maintaining a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent. There is an inherent tension between these two goals that is best addressed through improved integration of nuclear weapons objectives with nuclear arms control objectives. This article reviews historical examples of the interaction between the two sets of objectives, develops a framework for analyzing opportunities for future integration, and suggests specific ideas that could benefit the nuclear weapons enterprise as it undergoes transformation and that could make the future enterprise compatible with a variety of arms control futures.

The European Union’s Evolving Engagement with Iran: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
Johan Bergenäs

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In 2003, the “E3″—Germany, France, and the United Kingdom—engaged Iran in talks over Tehran’s nuclear program and were joined in negotiations the next year by the European Union (EU). Given the dim prospects of success for these talks, why did the E3/EU pursue nuclear negotiations with Iran? This article’s three-track analysis attempts to answer that question by examining the emergence of the EU nonproliferation policy prior to the E3/EU-Iran talks, analyzing the European-Iranian relationship as it pertains to cooperation and negotiations over nonproliferation and other issues, and considering contemporary influences on the E3/EU. The European Union was ultimately unsuccessful in its negotiations with Tehran, but its efforts were worthwhile. In the future, the organization can play a vital nonproliferation role; today, the circumstances that hampered previous European efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear standoff have improved and could be capitalized on by the European Union and the international community.

Turkey and Multilateral Nuclear Approaches in the Middle East
Thomas Lorenz and Joanna Kidd

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As many states in the Middle East are considering whether to embark on nuclear power programs, there is an urgent need to develop confidence-building measures to reassure states in the region that the programs are peaceful. One possible path would be to consider multilateral approaches to the fuel cycle in order to foster nuclear cooperation between states in the region, instead of each state going it alone, which would likely increase suspicions and the risk of a cascade of nuclear proliferation. With its policy of “zero problems with neighbors,” strategic connection to the West, and long-standing experience in the nuclear field, Turkey would be well-placed to take the lead on such a nuclear confidence-building agenda. Over time and under the right political conditions, Turkey could initiate or participate in measures including cooperation on nuclear education, safety and security, research and development, and joint fuel cycle facilities such as a regional fuel fabrication center.

Preventing Dirty Bombs: Addressing the Threat at the “Source”
Charles Streeper

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Radioactive sealed sources have a long history and a much wider worldwide distribution than do weapons-usable fissile materials. This article compares the mechanisms for controlling radioactive sources with those of weapons-usable materials and makes the case for improved policy making on the safe and secure management of radioactive sources (often referred to simply as “sources”). Such sources have been widely distributed with commercial and government support to nearly every country, yet there are no legally binding, international agreements or regulations to control any aspect of their life cycle. This is problematic because some sources that are disused, abandoned, or otherwise fall out of regulatory control could be used in the form of a radiological dispersal device (RDD, or dirty bomb). An RDD could pose significant economic and psychological impacts with the potential for detrimental effects on public health. The lack of international measures to control sources is troubling for several reasons: creating an RDD is much easier than fashioning a nuclear weapon from scratch or from stolen fissile materials; given the many incidents involving diversion from regulatory control and the misuse of sources, an RDD attack would be one of the more likely scenarios; materials security for sources is generally weak and inconsistent; it is nearly impossible to determine the total amount of sources manufactured and distributed; used sources are frequently found uncontrolled and transiting borders, and penalties are light at best; the market-based supply and demand of sources facilitates their rapid and loosely regulated distribution; and the “peaceful uses” aspect of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons along with norms that began developing around the time of Atoms for Peace have promoted the nearly unchecked global distribution of sources. Several immediate and long-term actions are suggested to reduce the threat posed by radiological sources.


The Brazilian Way: Negotiation and Symmetry in Brazil’s Nuclear Policy
Diego Santos Vieira de Jesus

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This article examines the positions held by Brazil under the administration of Luiz Incio Lula da Silva (2003-present) on nuclear nonproliferation, arms control, and disarmament regimes and on contentious issues in those areas. Under Lula’s government, Brazil has wanted to mediate between nuclear weapon and non-nuclear weapon states to consolidate its position as a strong negotiator and to benefit from the possible gains of this position in terms of greater participation in international institutions. It has also wanted to pressure nuclear weapon states to fulfill their disarmament obligations in order to reduce asymmetries in its relations with powerful nuclear weapon countries. At the same time, Brazil has tried to preserve its autonomy and flexibility to protect commercial secrets and preserve national security in relation to its own nuclear program.


Zero Nuclear Weapons: The Pragmatic Path to Security
Barry M. Blechman and Alexander K. Bollfrass

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The current nuclear nonproliferation order is no longer sustainable. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) has weakened considerably over the years, with nuclear have-nots displaying increased dissatisfaction with the status quo. Meanwhile, demands for civilian nuclear technology have led to increased proliferation risks in the form of dual-use technologies. Arms control as we currently understand it—piecemeal treaties and agreements—is no longer sufficient to address the growing threat of proliferation and the frailty of the NPT. This article calls for a bolder nonproliferation agenda pursuing multilateral nuclear disarmament. Disarmament is, in fact, technologically achievable; a lack of political will stands as the only remaining roadblock to a world free of nuclear weapons. A better understanding of the technological feasibility of disarmament, as well as recognition of the diminishing strategic value of nuclear weapons, will help to erode this political reluctance.


South Asian Security and International Nuclear Order: Creating a Robust Indo-Pakistani Nuclear Arms Control Regime, by Mario Esteban Carranza
Reviewed by Sumit Ganguly

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In his new book,South Asian Security and International Nuclear Order, Mario Esteban Carranza critiques optimistic analyses of the possibilities of nuclear stability in the region, arguing that the likelihood of nuclear war due to inadvertence, accidents, or crisis escalation is actually quite high. To that end, Carranza examines two recent crises in South Asia that could have culminated in nuclear war. He also assesses and questions the soundness of U.S. nonproliferation policy toward the region, especially the George W. Bush administration’s decision to negotiate a civilian nuclear agreement with India. The book concludes with a call for a number of measures that India and Pakistan might take to reduce nuclear danger in the region and calls for an eventual effort at global denuclearization. Carranza makes excellent use of the existing literature, but he deploys few new arguments and, in several notable cases, makes claims contradicted by historical evidence.


Statements of fact and opinion expressed in The Nonproliferation Review are the responsibility of the authors alone and do not imply the endorsement of the editors, the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, or the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
The Nonproliferation Review ISSN 1073-6700
Copyright © 2010 by Monterey Institute of International Studies