89.Mr Plant said the NPT was “a security bargain between states that wanted to see the Nuclear Weapon States disarm but also did not want their neighbours to become nuclear states.” Ms Cox described the “fundamental bargain” of the NPT to be that all states “work to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons”, “work towards disarmament” and in return “all states can access the benefits of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.”
90.Box 2 describes the NPT.
The NPT was opened for signature in 1968 and entered into force in 1970. It was extended indefinitely in 1995. 191 states have joined the NPT. It has been ratified by more countries than “any other arms limitation and disarmament agreement”.
The treaty recognised the five existing Nuclear Weapon States at the time it was signed—Russia, the US, the UK, France and China. All five are States Parties to the NPT, although France and China did not become States Parties until 1992. The UK, the US and Russia (formerly the Soviet Union) are the depositary governments of the NPT.
India, Israel, Pakistan and South Sudan have not signed the NPT. In 2003 North Korea announced its withdrawal.
The NPT contains “the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the Nuclear Weapon States”. Article 6 sets out that “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”
There is a safeguards system to verify compliance through inspections, managed through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The provisions of the NPT envisage a review of its operation every five years. This was reaffirmed by the States Parties at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference. The next Review Conference will be held in 2020. Preparatory Committees are held in the three years running up to each Review Conference; the next will be in New York from 29 April to 10 May 2019.
91.Dr Christopher Ford, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, US Department of State, told us that it had “become commonplace … to speak of the NPT as having ‘three pillars’—that is, three explicitly or implicitly coequal elements in the form of non-proliferation, disarmament, and the peaceful uses of nuclear technology”. However, a “‘three pillars’” formulation was “not intrinsic to the Treaty or part of its original understanding”. This “imagery of ‘three pillars’ misleads because it tends to suggest coequality”; it was “quite profoundly mistaken, not to mention dangerous to the health of the NPT regime.” The “conceptual and structural core of the NPT is non-proliferation, and this is the foundation upon which rest the two supported ‘structures’ of nuclear disarmament and peaceful uses”.
92.Ms Price held a similar view: while there were “other pillars”, which were “part of the bargain”, “the original concept of the treaty is one of non-proliferation”. The pillar on peaceful uses was “the quid pro quo, or benefits, for the planet and humanity that come from having” non-proliferation.
93.Other witnesses disagreed with Dr Ford. The United Nations Association-UK (UNA-UK) said that “Contesting the co-equality of the pillars of the NPT is factually incorrect—all articles of the treaty are equally legally binding.” The assertion was “irreconcilable with UN guidance”. Paul Ingram, Executive Director, BASIC, said the NPT was called a non-proliferation treaty “because it is both vertical and horizontal … Vertical non-proliferation is essentially disarmament, so this is both a disarmament and a non-proliferation treaty. I do not think we can see one as more important than the other.”
94.Dr Lyndon Burford, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of War Studies, King’s College London, said the UK’s “failure to affirm the equal importance of the pillars constitutes a step backwards from a long-standing norm of support for disarmament and peaceful uses in UK policy statements, and in joint statements by the European Union (EU) and the NPT Nuclear Weapon States which the UK has explicitly endorsed.”
95.Mr Ingram said that it was necessary to demonstrate “good will on disarmament” in order to have “moral, legal or any other basis … to convince other states that they need to engage seriously in non-proliferation measures”. Ms Nakamitsu said that the UN Secretary General considered disarmament and non-proliferation to be “two sides of the same coin”: “We cannot continue to hold non-proliferation obligations unless we also continue to make progress on disarmament obligations.”
96.The UK should stand by its commitment, as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and one of its three depositary powers, to implementing commitments across all three pillars of the NPT—non-proliferation, peaceful uses of nuclear technology and disarmament.
97.The NPT is the “core” of a wider non-proliferation regime. It is supported by “a complex web of dozens of international institutions and agreements to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons”. The principal elements of the wider regime are set out in Box 3.
The IAEA was established in 1957 through the IAEA Statute. It reports to both the UN General Assembly and Security Council. It has “the mandate to work with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies”. The IAEA describes its role in the nuclear non-proliferation regime as “a confidence-building measure, an early warning mechanism, and the trigger that sets in motion other responses by the international community if and when the need arises”.
Each Non-Nuclear Weapon State Party to the NPT concludes a standard safeguards agreement with the IAEA, INFCIRC/153 (Corrected), “with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices,” to comply with article 3 of the treaty.
The voluntary Additional Protocol to the safeguards agreement, approved in 1997, “provides additional tools for verification”. It enables the IAEA “to achieve confidence as to the absence of undeclared materials or activities in a given state”. This usually follows “several years of gathering information, inspecting locations, and analysing data”. As of December 2018, Additional Protocols are in force with 134 States and Euratom. Another 16 States have signed an Additional Protocol but have yet to bring it into force. One State provisionally applies an Additional Protocol to its comprehensive safeguards agreement, pending its entry into force. Some States Parties to the NPT which use nuclear energy, including Brazil, have not signed or ratified an Additional Protocol.The five Nuclear Weapon States are not required to have IAEA safeguards agreements under the NPT. They have all signed voluntary offer safeguards agreements, which permit the IAEA to apply safeguards to material in select eligible facilities. This covers civilian nuclear material and sites. All five Nuclear Weapon States have also concluded Additional Protocols to these voluntary offer safeguards agreements.
The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
The Nuclear Suppliers Group is “a group of nuclear supplier countries that seeks to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of two sets of Guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports.” It “seeks to strengthen the non-proliferation regime, with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as its legal foundation.”
It has 48 participating governments.
The NSG was founded in response to India’s nuclear test in 1974. Its Guidelines are “sets of conditions of supply that are applied to nuclear transfers for peaceful purposes to help ensure that such transfers will not be diverted to unsafeguarded nuclear fuel cycle or nuclear explosive activities”. They are not legally binding, but participating governments “commit to apply those Guidelines via their national legislation”.
The Conference on Disarmament
The Conference on Disarmament is “the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international community”. Its terms of reference “include practically all multilateral arms control and disarmament problems”. It has 65 members. It meets in an annual session, with a rotating presidency of four weeks’ duration. It is discussed further in Chapter 4.
UN Security Council Resolutions form part of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Notable resolutions include Resolution 984 (1995) on security assurances, Resolution 1540 (2004) on preventing the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by non-state actors,and Resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security.
Other elements of the regime
Other international initiatives that can be regarded as part of the wider regime include:
98.The role of the IAEA is set out in Box 3. The FCO said that IAEA safeguards were “a fundamental component of nuclear non-proliferation.” Dr Hobbs said that the IAEA played “a crucial role in supporting states to develop provisions on nuclear security—providing international guidance, training and support services upon request—including physical protection upgrades, the removal of high-risk materials and the strengthening of security culture.”
99.Dr Rafael Grossi, Permanent Representative of Argentina to the International Organisations in Vienna and President-designate of the 2020 NPT Review Conference, said that beyond the “grandiosity of getting rid of nuclear weapons” was the need for “complicated” technical work on verification. When Nuclear Weapon States decide to disarm, this process would need to be verified “through a … circle of inspectors”. He said it was not unusual for such technical work to precede political decisions.
100.Verification is a sensitive issue: the FCO said such a process needed to give confidence “that a nuclear-armed state has dismantled its warheads in a way that makes us safer, rather than in a way that proliferates nuclear weapons knowledge, and that such dismantlement is permanent and verifiable”. There is also sensitivity for Nuclear Weapon States in working with Non-Nuclear Weapon States without contributing to proliferation.
101.Dr Grossi said there had “been progress in tackling, or starting to tackle, the technical issues, the methods, the sequences, the technologies, the non-proliferation barriers that you have to set up in order to have a truly multinational inspectorate dealing with nuclear disarmament verification”. This technical work was needed in preparation for a time when disarmament was on the agenda.
102.Dr Roberts cautioned that while work on verification technologies was “important” and helped with monitoring and enforcement, there was still no “compliance mechanism that would allow the nuclear-armed states confidently to disarm and [assure] all states that no militarily-significant cheating would go undetected and unchecked”.
103.Ms Price said the UK had “been doing very practical work to demonstrate what is possible and how difficult disarmament verification is”. There are four aspects to this work.
104.First, the FCO said the UK and Norway had worked together since 2007 on “the first ever technical project between a Nuclear and Non-Nuclear Weapon State in this field”. The UK–Norway Initiative works to investigate “the technical and procedural challenges of verifying possible future nuclear disarmament and arms control agreements”.
105.Second, the UK participated in the Quad Initiative with the US, Norway and Sweden. This had grown out of the UK–Norway Initiative and verification and arms control exercises between the UK and the US. The Quad Initiative had undertaken “the first ever multilateral disarmament verification exercise”, at RAF Honington in October 2018. This exercise “brought a new level of realism to such exercises by using our former nuclear weapons storage area”.
106.Third, Ms Price said there was a UN group of government experts on verification with which the UK was engaged.
107.Fourth, the UK contributed to the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification (IPNDV). The IPNDV is an initiative including more than 25 countries with and without nuclear weapons, which works to identify challenges associated with nuclear disarmament verification and develop potential procedures and technologies to address them. The UK had “hosted the IPNDV’s plenary session” and was “very involved in many of the practical working groups”.
108.Witnesses praised the UK’s work on verification, in partnership with other countries such as Norway, Sweden, the US and China. Dr Ritchie said the UK’s “valuable and important work” on verifying the dismantlement of nuclear warheads had been “rolled into the wider [US] State Department programme”.
109.Witnesses had a number of proposals for further UK work in this area. First, Mr Plant suggested the UK should increase “its financial commitment to arms control verification”. Second, it should increase its political commitment to this work. He said the UK “devotes a lot of attention to nuclear warhead dismantlement verification … against the day when a great breakthrough is made”. He thought it “more practical to think about technologies that could verify the next arms control treaty”, work that the UK was not undertaking at present.
110.A third suggestion, from Dr Hassan Elbahtimy, Lecturer in Science and Security, King’s College London, was for the UK to address “ some of the practical questions”, such as how to reduce the number of nuclear weapons and “build up confidence” that disarmament was happening.
111.Fourth, witnesses suggested further international co-operation, with China and Middle Eastern countries. Dr Nicola Leveringhaus, Lecturer, War Studies Department, King’s College London, suggested that the UK should “engage China in a separate verification process, perhaps linked to the UK–Norway initiative, or its successors, with a view to understanding China’s position on verification matters beyond its borders”. China had “displayed interest in verification yet seems to have limited experience of working on this issue in a multilateral forum beyond the P5 process”. Dr Elbahtimy suggested the UK could help to build “regional capacities in arms control and verification” in the Middle East. Capacity building could “present a tangible contribution” to efforts to build a Middle East WMD-Free Zone (discussed below), and verification work “could contribute to a better-informed discussion about the actual challenges, solutions and opportunities in regional arms control”.
112.The UK’s active role in developing effective techniques and partnerships for the verification of nuclear disarmament is a helpful contribution to the disarmament agenda. The Government should continue this work, and consider opportunities for using new technologies in verification.
114.The Government should consider facilitating discussion and technical work on nuclear verification with Middle Eastern countries, to build regional capabilities and increase dialogue on non-proliferation and disarmament.
In 2008 Lord Browne of Ladyton, then Secretary of State for Defence, suggested establishing a process for the Nuclear Weapon States to discuss their NPT obligations. He said:
“For the first time, I am proposing to host a conference for technical experts from all five recognised nuclear states, to develop technologies for nuclear disarmament.” This technical conference of the laboratories from the five recognised Nuclear Weapon States would meet before the 2010 RevCon, to enable the five states to demonstrate their engagement in a process of mutual confidence building and trust.
The chairmanship of the P5 process rotates between the members.
The P5 met regularly until 2018, when the process was suspended as a result of the increase in global tensions following the chemical weapons attack in Salisbury. Under China’s leadership the P5 process has recommenced, and met in Beijing in January 2019.
115.The genesis of the P5 process is set out in Box 4. Lord Browne said the purpose had been “to bring the P5 together in a way that would generate a convincing dialogue that could convince Non-Nuclear Weapon States in the context of the NPT that the they were taking their obligations under the treaty seriously.” The first P5 conference, held in London in 2009, “succeeded in bringing together for the first time policy officials, military staff and nuclear scientists from all five Nuclear Weapons States”.
116.Paul Schulte, Honorary Professor, University of Birmingham, and Professor Nicholas J. Wheeler, Director of the Institute for Conflict, Co-operation and Security, University of Birmingham, said it created “a space for senior diplomats and security officials to cultivate a greater awareness of their counterparts’ security fears, and above all, how their own plans and actions may be contributing to these fears.” The Minister said that while the Nuclear Weapon States did not “see eye to eye on all issues”, the P5 process increased their “understanding of each other’s policy positions, capabilities and doctrines”. This was “important to avoid miscalculation or misunderstanding, as well as to build trust.”
117.Lord Browne, however, said he soon became “extremely disappointed” in the process: “I thought I was creating a dynamic for disarmament and peace, and what I created was a cartel—a group of Nuclear-Weapons States that in many other ways could not bear the sight of each other, but when it came to the common ownership of nuclear weapons were very good at articulating an argument as to why they needed nuclear weapons only because the rest of the world did not behave itself well enough.”
118.Dr Tzinieris said the P5 process had “not produced any meaningful progress with regard to disarmament”. Dr Zhao said that it functioned “as a solidarity effort” among the Nuclear Weapon States” and provided “protection against outside pressure for disarmament”.
119.Dr Tzinieris said the P5 had been “reluctant to engage with humanitarian issues in official policy statements regarding nuclear weapons”. Its response to the Ban Treaty (discussed later in this chapter) “reflected a traditional security approach and overweening reliance on deterrence theories.” A. Vinod Kumar, Associate Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi, said that the role of the P5 in “dismissing the relevance and validity” of the Ban Treaty “cannot be overlooked and should be seen as a sign of their collective aversion to any credible disarmament process”.
120.Andrea Berger, then Senior Research Associate and Senior Program Manager, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, said the P5 had shifted “away from speaking primarily to an external audience towards speaking more to an internal audience”. This posed a “risk” that “the disillusion among many of the Non-Nuclear Weapon States about what the P5 process is, does and is good for will only increase”. Mr Plant and Cristina Varriale, Research Fellow, Proliferation and Nuclear Policy, RUSI, said Non-Nuclear Weapon States “were felt to be too broadly excluded from the process and moreover saw little concrete benefit from it”. The process was “unnecessarily opaque”.
121.Dr Anastasia Malygina, Associate Professor, School of International Relations, St Petersburg University, said the P5 countries had had an “agreement to avoid mutual criticism during the NPT review process”. She said that “on the initiative of the Western countries” the P5 had “stepped away from” this agreement, which had “seriously undermined co-operation in spheres where Russia and the West had no serious disagreements”. She said the US, France and the UK had “started to bring up issues not directly related to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons” in the P5 context. Russia’s view was this “aggravates the situation within the NPT review cycle, where the atmosphere is already tense”.
122.Ms Berger said the P5 process was “the first time” that China had been involved in a “multilateral semi-disarmament forum”. For as long as China was “actively trying to demonstrate to those outside the P5 that it is the most disarmament-oriented and forward-leaning of the Nuclear Weapon States”, there was “something there that can be built on”.
123.Lord Browne said that China deserved “a significant amount of credit for what they have achieved” in restarting the process, and this was a positive step ahead of the 2020 RevCon. Opportunities for UK chairmanship of the P5 are discussed in Chapter 5.
124.The P5 is an important initiative in nuclear diplomacy, which could play a positive role in co-ordinating the implementation by the five Nuclear Weapon States of their Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty commitments. It must not become a ‘cartel’ of Nuclear Weapon States, simply lecturing others on why their continued possession of these weapons is justified.
125.Ms Berger described China’s leadership of the P5 process as “limited”, “but the fact that it has been willing to step forward and take on some projects in the P5 context” had provided a foundation. Ms Price said the group was working on a glossary of nuclear terminology and a common reporting format, which was “a way of encouraging transparency on the part of other P5 members to show the rest of the NPT membership that we are engaged and we are talking to each other”.
126.The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church in Britain and the United Reformed Church thought that “agreement on definitions and reporting standards may be necessary”, but “future success” was “likely to be measured in terms of the quality of discussion around nuclear doctrines, arms control and disarmament”.
127.Ms Nakamitsu said the group had “had a substantive engagement” on “how to move forward with the Article 6 obligations”. They had “also started to discuss nuclear doctrines, their security doctrines, and some of the measures that they could pursue potentially on transparency”. Mr Franklin said that “as part of the P5” they had met “in the margins of the UN First Committee”, and “ had a fairly detailed presentation from the nations on our nuclear doctrine and policy”. Ms Nakamitsu said that “interesting conversations and discussions” were “still taking place among the P5”, and this would be “one of the most important elements when it comes to the grand bargain put on non-proliferation and disarmament going together”.
128.The P5 met in Beijing in January 2019. The Minister said the meeting had included commitments—set out in the Chairman’s note—to sharing responsibility for international peace and security, jointly safeguarding the NPT and continuing to use the P5 platform for dialogue. A “public session with academic representatives” had been held on the second day of the conference.
129.Dr Malygina said that the fact that no joint statement was agreed in January showed that “trust is really very low.” Dr Zhao said the nuclear glossary had been an “important deliverable” of the meeting, but it demonstrated the limited capability of the P5 format to generate progress. There had been “little agreement on nuclear reduction or greater transparency; even on less controversial/sensitive issues, such as the joint development of nuclear disarmament verification methodology and technology”.
130.We welcome the role played by China as the chair of the P5 process in 2018–19. Trust between the P5 remains low, and meetings in the P5 format could help to build understanding and trust between these states. This could, in the run up to the 2020 Review Conference, contribute to a reduction in the risk of nuclear use.
131.Dr Grossi said the NPT had “lived through ups and downs in the cycle of history, with the end of the Cold War and … the emergence of new challenges. The treaty arches over all these events.”
132.Dr Elbahtimy said that “From the early to mid-1990s” the NPT had become “an almost universal regime, a set of rules that were to be applied to everyone”. The FCO told us that “The majority of states recognise their obligation to support and reinforce the existing counter-proliferation and disarmament framework.”
133.While the FCO considered it to be “a success in all three of its pillars”, Rear Admiral Gower assessed that only “two of the three pillars”—non-proliferation and peaceful uses—had been “very successful”; there was “dissatisfaction with the disarmament pillar and the perceived lack of progress”. We consider each pillar in turn.
134.Our witnesses praised the record of the NPT in containing the threat of horizontal proliferation. Ms Nakamitsu said the NPT was “one of the most successful treaties … there was a prediction that there would be 30 or 40 nuclear-armed states, it has prevented that.” Mr Koenders said there could have been “much more” proliferation, citing the examples of Libya, Kazakhstan and South Africa. Ms Price said that it had “prevented countries from acquiring nuclear weapons … we have the five recognised weapon states and roughly four others, so that is a success.”
135.Dr Elbahtimy said that that international regimes were “more than just the words in the treaties themselves; they have some moral authority”. The NPT has created a norm against proliferation: Mr Plant said that were a state to withdraw from the NPT “there would be a succession of major partners beating down their door to make plain the consequences”. Lord Browne said that the acquisition of nuclear weapons had become a route to “pariah” status. It was “the only time in my lifetime when no country is manifestly seeking to develop a nuclear-weapons system” which was “an amazing achievement, and a significant part is down to this treaty”.
136.Dr Grossi said that “countries that violate or find themselves in a position marginal to the NPT would have enormous trouble internationally”. The consequences would be referral to the UN Security Council, and “enormous costs of entry for whatever they may like to do in the peaceful uses area—getting technology and co-operation—let alone the cases where they proliferate or intend to proliferate”. He said that “for countries in good standing in the international community”, being a State Party to the NPT was “an indispensable rule of civility in international life”.
137.However, while the NPT has been successful in containing proliferation, it has not prevented it entirely. Since the NPT was signed in 1968, four states have developed nuclear weapons: North Korea, India, Pakistan and Israel.
138.Dr Grossi said that because of the way the NPT is articulated, and because it “operates in conjunction with the safeguards system administered by the IAEA”, it was “very difficult” for the development of nuclear weapons by a Non-Nuclear Weapon State to go unnoticed. North Korea “had to leave the NPT” because of this work.
139.Mr Kumar, however, said that North Korea was the most “destabilising” to the NPT regime of the four, because it had been a State Party and abused its provisions before unilaterally leaving the treaty. Ms Berger said it had taken “a systematic sledgehammer to all the norms that the NPT community has been trying to create about not testing, responsible nuclear conduct and, indeed, proliferation”.
140.Mr Kumar said that, although less of a challenge to the NPT regime than North Korea, India, Pakistan and Israel “continue to be the key inspiration for the deviant behaviour intermittently seen among many NPT state-parties”. Iran, for example, had “cited the Indian case throughout the negotiations that were undertaken to address its nuclear deviance”.
141.Dr Clegg said that India, Pakistan and Israel’s ability to develop nuclear weapons “without much censure”, while Iran and North Korea had been subjected to sanctions, demonstrated “double standards” by the international community, which undermined the NPT. (Iran is discussed in Chapter 4.)
142.Dr Paul said the NPT was “interpreted by India as a western ploy or ‘trojan horse’ designed to disrupt economic prosperity and the right to self-determination”. India regarded itself to be “exceptional” and had sought a “back door to the privileges previously reserved exclusively to NPT” (such as access to civilian technology, discussed below).
143.Dr Paul said there was a “paradox” to Pakistan’s reluctance to sign the NPT. “On the one hand, policy-framers accept the non proliferation norm” and were “keen to impress their intention to pursue disarmament talks with India”, but on the other, “nuclear proliferation in the form of Chinese technical assistance is also viewed as essential for meeting Pakistan’s security needs”.
144.Dr Avner Cohen, Professor of Nonproliferation Studies, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, said that Israel’s ‘nuclear opacity’ (see Chapter 2), had given it a “special ‘exemption’ as far as its nuclear conduct and policy”. It was “the only nuclear power whose conduct and policies are officially ‘off discourse’, both domestically and by friendly foreign governments”. He said that “all major Western countries, the UK included, align themselves behind the American policy on Israel’s nuclear capability. They all quietly accept Israel’s nuclear ‘exemption’ while publicly claiming ignorance.”
145.He said that Israel had refused to join the NPT, and paid “almost no price—political, diplomatic or even moral—for nuclear possession”. This was “a constant sore for both the credibility and integrity of the global non-proliferation regime as well as for the non-proliferation stance of those Western states that support the nuclear exemption”.
146.Ms Nakamitsu said that universal membership of the NPT was “probably not in sight”. The UK continues “to work with all three countries to bring them more into the international non-proliferation regime and to encourage them to sign the NPT as Non-Nuclear Weapon States”.
147.Mr Kumar noted that, while not signatories, both India and Pakistan have declared adherence to the principles of the NPT. Although NPT membership was not likely, Shatabhisha Shetty, Deputy Director, European Leadership Network, thought it important to “continue to try” to engage them. Ms Nakamitsu advocated keeping these states “engaged in disarmament and security platforms, including the UN and other multilateral platforms.” Dr Meier said they had participated in the nuclear security summits during the Obama Administration, which had been useful.
148.Trident Ploughshares said that while India, Pakistan and Israel joining the NPT would be “helpful”, “the main issue … undermining the NPT” was “the failure of the nuclear-armed states” to meet their disarmament obligations (discussed below).
149.Rear Admiral Gower said the peaceful uses pillar had “largely been successful, because it tied in with the non-proliferation pillar”. It had “allowed a large number of Non-Nuclear Weapons States to acquire full nuclear technology”.
150.Dr Grossi said this quid pro quo was important because nuclear energy continued to be “an important factor in the energy matrix of many countries, particularly the big emerging economies”. For example, Argentina’s civil nuclear programme had “thrived after joining all the nuclear regulations and nuclear norms”. It was also “one of the few exporters of nuclear technology in the southern hemisphere, precisely because [Argentina] joined the NPT and the export control regimes”. The message he took to developing countries, was that “everything they do in their small research reactor or their nuclear medicine facility, be it in north or southern Africa, central America or south-east Asia, is possible because there is an NPT that allows for it”.
151.The FCO said that the NSG, in regulating transfers of nuclear materials for peaceful uses (outlined in Box 3), was “a fundamental component of nuclear non-proliferation”. Dr Grossi said countries not party to the NPT faced a “high cost of entry” for nuclear materials for civilian use, because those outside the NPT could not be members.
152.Witnesses raised two issues relating to the NSG. First, the Executive Committee of British Pugwash said that the NSG had “been a source of tension within the NPT community” for many years. Article 4 of the NPT “contains an undertaking to facilitate transfers” of nuclear technologies to signatories. However, the NSG had a “bias towards” the denial of the transfer of dual-use nuclear technology. The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and some non-NAM members, viewed this as “inconsistent with Article 4” of the NPT. It said that these countries argued that States Parties had the “sovereign right to make use of all nuclear technologies as long as the use is peaceful, and the right is exercised in conformity with the NPT’s non-proliferation provisions”. This tension was “unlikely to pose an existential threat to the NPT” but presented “an ongoing challenge for nuclear diplomacy.”
153.Second, witnesses said that the treatment of India by the Nuclear Suppliers Group had tested the NPT regime. India has sought membership but China has blocked its admission, because it has not signed the NPT. However, in 2008, under the US–India Civilian Nuclear Co-operation Agreement, India was “allowed to buy and sell nuclear fuel and technology with the rest of the world for civilian purposes, without having to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty … or dismantle any of its existing nuclear weapons or its nuclear weapons-making programme”. Under the terms of the deal, India agreed to separate its civilian nuclear facilities from those that were part of its strategic programme, and open up its civilian facilities to inspections by the IAEA.
154.Dr Meier said this exemption was “an example of how not to do it. We have watered down safeguard standards and nuclear export control standards without India committing to significant steps towards nuclear disarmament and arms control to constrain its nuclear capabilities”. This damaged both the NSG and the NPT. Mr Kmentt said that “if a country such as India … that has stayed outside the NPT could nevertheless gain access to the benefits with respect to nuclear co-operation, one would lose one of the key points of keeping countries in the NPT.”
155.Dr Adil Sultan Muhammad, Visiting Research Fellow, War Studies Department, King’s College London, said that granting “country-specific exemptions to [a] non-NPT state like India” was “likely to create further dissent amongst the NPT as well as other non-NPT states”. Dr Paul said Pakistan was seeking similar exemptions to the NSG rules as had been granted to India. He thought this “could restore the political imbalance and signal genuine inclusivity, whilst also strengthening some technical dimensions of the global non proliferation and export control regimes.”
156.Ms Nakamitsu said that, compared to the peak of the Cold War, nuclear disarmament had “progressed enormously … Some 88% of nuclear arsenals have been reduced”.
157.Ms Price said the NPT had given the Nuclear Weapon States “the confidence” to disarm. Around “three-quarters of the nuclear warheads that existed” had been disposed of. Ms Cox said “the number of nuclear weapons deployed on European soil” had been reduced “significantly—by about 85%—since the end of the Cold War.” The five Nuclear Weapon States had endorsed, and continued to promote, the ‘step-by-step’ approach to achieve disarmament, which “envisages measures taken in tandem with an improving security environment”. Ms Price said a “very long-term view” was needed—the focus should be on “the reductions that have happened”.
158.Figure 3 shows the estimated nuclear warhead inventories globally from 1945 to 2018.
159.However, Ms Nakamitsu said that while the world had once been “moving towards a substantive Article 6 implementation”, “that movement has stalled”. “The number of nuclear arsenals today is some 14,000, and 90% of those are still owned by the two nuclear superpowers.” Dr Roberts acknowledged that the “step-by-step process embodied in the NPT implementation process” had “lost credibility”. NPT diplomacy had “come face-to-face with ambitions and commitments that proved unrealistic in the circumstance”.
160.Dr Grossi said the disarmament provisions of the NPT were “under great stress”. The “big question” facing “all the 191 members of the treaty” was “whether the fact that we have not reached the final goal of a world without nuclear weapons would put the NPT into question “.
161.BASIC said that lack of progress on disarmament was a result of “the current security and diplomatic environment” (discussed in Chapter 2). Mr Miller said the US, the UK and France had “reduced their nuclear arsenals dramatically since the end of the Cold War”, but “Russia has maintained a bloated nuclear force and China is busily expanding its own”. He dismissed the suggestion that the NPT was “in peril because the Nuclear Weapons States have not eliminated all of their nuclear weapons” as “wrongheaded”.
162.Ms Cox said it was “clear that the current conditions are not right for further reductions”, but “we try to do what we can to create the right conditions, we have to balance that with the security environment in which we live.” Rear Admiral Gower cautioned that advocates of disarmament did not “take into account the reductions that have taken place”. However, he agreed “that it is right to perceive today that the disarmament pillar goals are further away and less visible than they were in 2009–10”.
163.Dr Tzinieris noted that many countries argued that the NPT required a “re-balancing of the relative value assigned to the three pillars” to give more weight to disarmament. Dr Ritchie said many countries were “concerned that the nuclear-armed states will never deliver on their commitments to disarm and that they view their possession of nuclear weapons as permanent”. Ms Fihn concluded that “disarmament does not happen in that treaty.”
164.Dr Tzinieris said this was in part due to how the NPT was drafted. First, “Article 6, which concerns disarmament, is lacking in legal strength and its meaning is open to interpretation.” Dr Grossi said it contained “no chronology or specifically set timelines”. Second, the “implicit hierarchy” between those with and without nuclear weapons was “encapsulated within the NPT”, which rendered it “incapable of unconditionally delegitimising nuclear weapons”.
165.Scientists for Global Responsibility said the failure of Nuclear Weapon States to fulfil their disarmament commitments under the NPT “provides greater justification for [nuclear possessor states] outside the treaty to follow suit.”
166.We consider below two particular challenges relating to disarmament under the NPT—nuclear modernisation programmes and issues surrounding the Middle East WMD Free Zone.
167.The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty remains a critical part of international security. The success of the treaty will remain of central importance to the UK’s security and to the rules-based international order as a whole.
168.The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’s successes—near-universal membership, a considerable reduction in nuclear stockpiles since the 1980s, and the establishment of an international norm against new states acquiring nuclear weapons—should be lauded.
169.The presence of nuclear-armed states outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty remains a challenge. The UK should pursue opportunities to include nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament in its bilateral discussions with India, Pakistan and Israel.
171.Largely as a result of the worsening security environment, global progress towards disarmament has stalled. We urge the Government to set out its view on what the necessary global conditions for disarmament would be, and use its position in the P5 to encourage progress under this pillar of the NPT.
172.Ms Nakamitsu said “all nuclear-weapon states are engaged in what they call modernisation.” The potential implications of modernisation for nuclear risk are explored in Chapter 2.
173.The FCO said that “Maintaining and renewing elements of a State’s nuclear deterrent capability to ensure its continued safety and reliability, including through replacement and updating of obsolete elements of the system as they reach the end of their operational life” was “a necessary aspect of being a responsible nuclear weapon state.” This was “fully consistent with obligations under the Article 6 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
174.However, Ms Nakamitsu said that “qualitatively, Nuclear-Weapon States might be in fact increasing their nuclear capability”. Dr Zhao said modernisation could lead to enhanced capabilities—such as the greater accuracy of missiles, and more advanced missile retargeting capability. Dr Meier described this as “vertical proliferation within the Nuclear Weapon States”, a point also made by Mr Plant and BASIC.
175.Dr Tzinieris said that safety and risk reduction were “rarely the principal motivation for modernisation programmes”. Both Non-Nuclear Weapon States and civil society groups were “becoming increasingly wary of attempts to frame modernisation programmes in disingenuous ways”. The Executive Committee of British Pugwash said that “the signal that modernisation and renewal … sends to NPT Non-Nuclear Weapon States” was “deplorable”.
176.Scientists for Global Responsibility said that “Any and all renewal or nuclear ‘modernisation’ programmes fundamentally undermine nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regimes”. From the perspective of Non-Nuclear Weapon States, Mr Kmentt said that none of the Nuclear Weapon States had taken “significant steps to move away from their reliance on nuclear weapons”.
177.Dr Zhao and Diana Ballestas de Dietrich, former Policy and Strategy Officer, Office of the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation, said both renewal programmes and technological developments underscored and perpetuated reliance on nuclear weapons”.
178.We consider the modernisation programmes of the nuclear possessor states in turn.
179.Mr Heisbourg said Russia was attempting “to make up for its post-Soviet weaknesses” through “‘technological creativity’, including great ambiguity about the precise nature of its new weapons systems”. It was “erasing and blurring the distinction between conventional and nuclear”.
180.For example, Mr Miller said Russia had four new SSBNs—ship, submersible nuclear ballistic missiles—and “Mr Putin also routinely boasts about new exotic nuclear systems Russia is building”. These included the ‘Kanyon’ torpedo—a prototype autonomous underwater nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed weapon, which can deliver both conventional and nuclear payloads—and a nuclear powered cruise missile. It successfully tested the Avangard—a hypersonic nuclear-capable weapon designed to manoeuvre in the upper atmosphere—in December 2018.
181.Mr Plant said the aspects of the US’s nuclear programme that had already been funded were “modernisation”, but the US was “more open to accusations” about the plans set out in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review. Dr Clegg said this had “reversed the previous policy of promoting nuclear arms control”—it placed “new emphasis on the role of nuclear weapons in US national security strategy, promoting the development of new nuclear capabilities, including low-yield tactical nuclear weapons”.
182.Mr Miller took a different view: the US had not deployed a new nuclear system “in this century” and would “not begin to field new systems until the mid-to-late 2020s”. He said that without modernisation the existing US system would “have to be retired without replacement”.
183.PAX said that some countries which participate in nuclear sharing with the US were also engaged in modernisation. Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands have signed contracts for “the modernisation of bunkers designed to continue hosting the US B61 gravity bombs”.
184.Dr Leveringhaus said China’s modernisation programme had been “underway since the 1990s” and was “ now starting to bear fruit under Xi Jinping”. Dr Clegg said China had been “investing in and modernising its ground based cruise and ballistic missiles systems which would have the capability to strike US bases, for example in Okinawa and Guam, and possibly destroy a US aircraft carrier in a single strike”.
185.Mr Miller said China was not just modernising but expanding its nuclear capabilities. It had been “deploying for years tens each of two new types of ICBMs, has four new SSBNs with another building, is seeking to build a new long-range bomber, and has the most formidable ballistic missile programme in the world”. Dr Roberts said it had “not embraced nuclear transparency while it modernises and expands”.
186.Ms Price said that “as a responsible nuclear-weapons state, as long as we possess weapons we need to maintain them to make sure that they are in good condition and that we have the right arsenal for our legitimate deterrent and self-protection defence. We also need to ensure that anything obsolete is renewed.”
187.Mr Plant said it was “fair to say that the UK’s is more accurately described as nuclear modernisation than, say, Russia’s progress”. Rear Admiral Gower said the UK was “probably two-thirds of the way through a cyclical expenditure, having decided to replace the delivery platform—the submarines—having essentially agreed before that to co-fund the missile extensions with the US.” The “third leg of the modernisation” would be “sustaining a warhead to the end of the life of the submarine and the missile.”
188.Ms Fihn, however, was “disappointed in the UK’s modernisation programmes of its nuclear weapons”. Dr Ritchie said “the fact that we are recapitalising our Trident SSBN programme and recommitting to nuclear deterrence for another generation, talking of being a nuclear armed state into the 2070s and 2080s and revalidating the importance and centrality of nuclear weapons for our security, cannot but undermine anything that we may do to show that we are taking short-term to long-term nuclear disarmament seriously.”
189.Rear Admiral Gower said France’s modernisation timetable was largely aligned with that of the UK. France’s airborne and submarine weapons are due to be updated in around 2035. PAX said that parts of the French modernisation programme—the design and development of the ASMPA (strategic and ultimate deterrent air-launched nuclear missile) to extend its life beyond 2035 and its successor, ASN4G, which will become operational in 2035—were examples of contracts which undermined the non-proliferation and disarmament regime, “by engaging companies for work related to nuclear weapon production and maintenance for decades”.
190.France plans to undertake concept studies for a new nuclear warhead, as the current systems will become obsolete in the 2030s. Its nuclear deterrent will receive €37 billion (£31.9 billion) by 2025.
191.Mr Kumar said that India was increasing its arsenal in a way that contributed to the “global trend of nuclear re-armament”. Mr Plant said that, compared to China, India’s capabilities were “significantly further behind”. It had “recently declared its accomplishment of a nuclear triad”—land, sea and air capabilities—”through the operationalisation of its nuclear-armed and-powered nuclear submarine force”.
192.Dr Paul said India’s pursuit of these capabilities were not necessarily inconsistent with its doctrine of ‘credible minimum deterrence’, but “the pursuit of ballistic missile defence shifts the nuclear trajectory towards implementing full spectrum offence / defence dominance”. It was also developing “nuclear tipped short-range ballistic missiles and pursuing Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicles”. He thought that “instead of reducing nuclear force levels” India was developing “a full matrix of strategic and defensive capabilities” which undermined the drive towards nuclear disarmament. Pakistan and China were “likely to follow suit”.
193.Mr Kumar said Pakistan was also contributing to the trend of global rearmament. It had “advanced from an initial capability of existential deterrence to full-spectrum deterrence”. Dr Paul said it had “recently carried out the flight test of the Babur-3, its new submarine-launched cruise missile”. This enabled it “to develop a sea-based nuclear deterrent in response to India’s emerging SSBN capability”. It was also “a dual-capable system and thus highly destabilising”.
194.As a result of its policy of nuclear opacity, details of Israel’s modernisation programme are not known.
195.The North Korean nuclear programme is considered in Chapter 4.
196.Nuclear modernisation is a necessary part of the maintenance of nuclear weapons and can make these weapons more secure. However, the programmes of many nuclear possessor states go well beyond what can properly be described as modernisation, introducing new capabilities and potentially increasing nuclear risk. We are particularly concerned about new developments in the field of tactical nuclear weapons.
197.The UK’s nuclear modernisation programme, although not without its critics, focuses on the renewal of its existing capabilities for a minimum credible deterrent. The Government should encourage other nuclear-armed states to exercise restraint in their modernisation programmes and to avoid expanding their nuclear capabilities.
Five nuclear weapon-free zones have been recognised by the UN:
Mongolia is also an UN-recognised nuclear-free zone. Nuclear weapon-free areas have also been established in the Antarctic, the sea-bed and outer space.
198.Figure 4 shows the existing nuclear weapon-free zones.
199.The only nuclear possessor state in the Middle East is Israel, which has not acknowledged its nuclear arsenal and is not a signatory to the NPT. All other countries in the region are States Parties to the NPT.
200.The development of a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction-Free Zone—covering all weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery—was first formally proposed in a resolution submitted to the UN General Assembly by Iran and Egypt in 1974. Further General Assembly resolutions supporting the establishment of a Middle East WMD-Free Zone were adopted by consensus.
201.At the 1995 NPT RevCon the Arab States Parties to the NPT, led by Egypt proposed a resolution on the issue. The proposed indefinite extension of the NPT that year gave these states maximum leverage, and there was “relentless campaigning by Arab states”. In return for their support for the indefinite extension of the NPT, the Final Document of the RevCon stated:
“The development of nuclear-weapon-free zones, especially in regions of tension, such as in the Middle East, as well as the establishment of zones free of all weapons of mass destruction, should be encouraged as a matter of priority, taking into account the specific characteristics of each region. The establishment of additional nuclear-weapon-free zones by the time of the Review Conference in the year 2000 would be welcome.”
202.A resolution on the Middle East was adopted, which stated that the Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons: “Endorses the aims and objectives of the Middle East peace process and recognizes that efforts in this regard, as well as other efforts, contribute to, inter alia, a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons as well as other weapons of mass destruction”.
203.Dr Elbahtimy said this agreement was “one of the key reasons why it was possible to indefinitely extend the NPT in 1995”. Since 1995 the issue had played “an important, and sometimes overbearing, role during the NPT review process”.
204.At the 2010 RevCon there was “an idea of convening a conference in 2012, to be attended by all states in the Middle East”. Dr Grossi said that the UN’s facilitator had “conducted a very thorough process of consultations around the region, but unfortunately no positive outcome came out of that”. In 2015, this was a significant factor in the failure to agree a Consensus Final Document at the NPT RevCon.
205.BASIC said that “many Israelis believe their security depends upon a nuclear ‘Samson option’ of massive retaliation against their neighbours”, which they were “not yet prepared to give up.” The US’s “positions … protect Israel’s resistance to being put on the spot about the Middle East zone”.
206.Egypt and the other Arab states saw “a deep injustice in current arrangements” and were “suspicious of never-ending negotiations”, while “Iranians carry suspicion of external powers and are caught in proxy conflicts with their Gulf neighbours”. Dr Elbahtimy said that both the Arab states and Iran felt there were “double standards” in “the way Israel’s nuclear programme is handled”.
207.BASIC said the failure to progress had “poisoned the well”. Mr Kmentt said this—alongside dissatisfaction with the pace of disarmament—had led “to a crisis of confidence and trust in the NPT.” The advantage to Middle Eastern states of maintaining the NPT had “been there until now”, but it was “becoming fractious”. If the NPT collapsed, “a nuclear arms race in the region” would be likely. There were “already several countries”, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, where nuclear weapons were “being more or less openly discussed”. Were that “trend to materialise then the impact on security, both regional and international, would be very negative.” The NPT consensus “still holds” because of this risk; it was the reason for “the support of the Middle Eastern countries for the tough line against the Iranian nuclear programme”.
208.Ms Ballestas de Dietrich said that as biological and chemical weapons have “already been banned”, and Israel is the only nuclear possessor state in the region, “the issue at stake is not about a WMD free zone, but ultimately about disarming Israel.” There were “no prospects in the foreseeable future for Israel to give up the nuclear weapons it does not even admit to have.” “Credible efforts” would therefore need “to address the threats that have led Israel to develop nuclear weapons in the first place” and “bring Egypt, Iran and Israel to the table (any table) to begin discussions on their respective security concerns.”
209.Alexandra Bell, Senior Policy Director, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, and BASIC thought there were confidence-building steps that could be explored. Ms Bell suggested a testing moratorium in the region, which “should not be too hard, because none of [the states] has plans to test nuclear weapons”, then getting Israel, Iran and Egypt to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (discussed in Chapter 4). These measures could “salvage the consensus points that already exist”. Ms Nakamitsu suggested building “a number of informal dialogue mechanisms” around the formal UN mandated conference, to “encourage all states in the region to be engaged in such a process.”
210.Dr Elbahtimy said that in 2018 the Arab states had sponsored a UN General Assembly resolution that “asked the UN to convene a weeklong WMDFZ Conference in 2019”. This had been supported by 103 countries, with 71 abstentions and three votes against, from the US, Israel, and Micronesia. Ms Nakamitsu said the UN Secretary-General was working on the conference, and there had been “quite a lot of substantive discussion”. She thought it would probably be “a very difficult process”.
211.Dr Grossi said the conference would be held in New York “probably in November or by the end of” 2019. He did not know what the outcome would be, but welcomed this “new, added path to this goal to which we all subscribed”.
212.He said questions remained over whether the US, Israel, the UK and other P5 states would participate. Ms Bell said some countries were “saying they should go ahead and have a conference … without the consent and buy-in of Israel”. The US thought this “a terrible idea—this is a regional problem, so all members of the region should be brought in”. Ms Price said that “at the moment” Israel had not agreed to attend, which the UK thought was “a fatal flaw”.
213.The FCO said the UK remained “fully committed to the 1995 Resolution”. It was “prepared to actively support and facilitate renewed regional dialogue aimed at bridging the differing views in the region on arrangements for a conference that is freely arrived at by all states in the region as set out in the NPT 2010 Action Plan.” Mr Baklitskiy said that the UK, as a co-sponsor of the 1995 resolution, “should try to engage the Arab states as well as Iran and Israel in the talks”.
214.The issue of a Weapons of Mass Destruction-Free Zone in the Middle East has become one of the most contentious for successive Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conferences. The UK should continue to support work towards the forthcoming UN conference on a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction-Free Zone, and should encourage Israel to participate.
215.The Government should also support dialogue and confidence-building steps in the Middle East—such as a regional testing moratorium—with the aim of increasing trust and improving the security environment. We believe that any increase in dialogue and reduction in tensions in the Middle East would be welcome and could make a contribution to the overall success of the 2020 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.
216.Witnesses said that, as a result of the Nuclear Weapons States not having fulfilled their disarmament obligations, significant dissatisfaction had arisen among Non-Nuclear Weapons States. When they had agreed to an indefinite extension of the NPT, Non-Nuclear Weapons States had not accepted indefinite possession of nuclear arsenals, or perpetual modernisation.
217.Many witnesses pointed to the inherent lack of balance between the five Nuclear Weapon States and the Non-Nuclear Weapon States as a problem. This created “a sense of futility on the part of the Non-Nuclear Weapon States over reaching any meaningful progress”, which led to “more confrontational and obstructive behaviours”—such as blocking Final Documents at RevCons. The Humanitarian Impacts initiative grew out of this frustration.
218.Dr Rebecca Johnson, Executive Director, Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy, said that from 2005 “civil society had been encouraging scientists to update studies on the risks, impacts and consequences of nuclear weapons use, deployments and proliferation.
219.Dr Tzinieris said that the resulting Humanitarian Impacts initiative “was a turning point for global nuclear diplomacy”. Evidence had been “employed to show the long-standing impacts on the environment, climate and food security”. This was “a new way of framing the debates, which had historically been dominated by ‘techno-strategic’ discourses focused on deterrence theories”. An article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on these data noted that while “improvements in climate modelling have provided greater insights into the long-term consequences of nuclear weapons use”, the studies contained “significant assumptions and uncertainties”.
220.Dr Johnson said that at the 2010 RevCon for the first time there was discussion of the issues of “international humanitarian law, the use of nuclear weapons and … the need to negotiate further disarmament instruments” in the Final Document. Following this, international conferences on the ‘humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons’ were hosted by Norway, Mexico and Austria in 2013 and 2014. Ms Nakamitsu said there had been “very strong motivation on the part of Non-Nuclear Weapon States to call for an understanding of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons”.
221.All countries were invited to participate in these conferences. The UK attended the final conference, in Vienna in December 2014.
222.The conferences were the precursor to the drafting of a resolution, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 23 December 2016, committing “to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) includes a comprehensive set of prohibitions on participating in any nuclear weapon activities. These include undertakings not to:
The treaty prohibits the deployment of nuclear weapons on national territory, and the provision of assistance to any state in the conduct of prohibited activities.
States Parties will be obliged to prevent and suppress any activity prohibited under the treaty undertaken by persons or on territory under its jurisdiction or control.
It also obliges States Parties to provide adequate assistance to individuals affected by the use or testing of nuclear weapons, as well as to take necessary and appropriate measure of environmental remediation in areas under its jurisdiction or control contaminated as a result of activities related to the testing or use of nuclear weapons.
It was adopted by a vote of 122 states in favour (with one vote against and one abstention) in July 2017. It was opened for signature in September 2017. It will enter into force 90 days after the fiftieth instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession has been deposited.
223.The Ban Treaty opened for signature in September 2017 but is not yet in force.
224.Mr Kmentt said the Ban Treaty’s “comprehensive prohibition” on nuclear weapons was “something that the NPT does not offer”. The “aspiration” was that this “should become universal at some stage”. Ms Fihn said this was “the main difference” between the Ban Treaty and the NPT. The former “rejects the legitimacy of these weapons, whereas the NPT, while trying to achieve disarmament, still acknowledges that these weapons are important for security.” The Ban Treaty was “incompatible with theories of nuclear deterrence”.
225.Alternative views on the role of deterrence and the right conditions for disarmament are discussed earlier in this chapter, in the assessment of the NPT’s disarmament pillar. Commenting specifically on the Ban Treaty, Mr Miller said the Ban Treaty was based on a misapprehension. It “conceives of nuclear weapons as the over-riding problem to resolve rather than recognising that preventing war among the Great Powers is the paramount security problem of our era.” Dr Roberts said that “some NGOs continue to advocate … disarmament steps in ways that appear not to account for the renewal of major power rivalry and the emergence of new nuclear dangers, primarily in Asia”. The criticism that the Ban Treaty does not take account of the security conditions facing nuclear possessor states was also made by the FCO and Ms Cox.
226.Ms Nakamitsu said the Ban Treaty was “a demonstration of the frustration on the part of Non-Nuclear Weapon States … that the previous commitments on nuclear disarmament and the implementation of Article 6 of the NPT have stalled”.
227.The Nuclear Weapon States have made clear their opposition to the Ban Treaty; collective statements by the P5 are discussed later in this chapter. NATO issued a statement in September 2017 that “Allies committed to advancing security through deterrence, defence, disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control, we, the Allied nations, cannot support this treaty. Therefore, there will be no change in the legal obligations on our countries with respect to nuclear weapons.”
228.Dr Johnson said that the negotiations had been informed by a “multilateral humanitarian-based legal process” including the international conferences on the humanitarian impacts (discussed above) and two UN “open-ended working groups” established by the UN General Assembly. There had been “open discussions” at the UN General Assembly, with participation by “up to 140 states”.
229.Mr Koenders however thought the negotiation of the Ban Treaty had been “sloppy”. They had been conducted at an unnecessary speed, with the result that “A lot of the legal terms are simply not well defined”, which was a problem because it was important to be “very precise” when discussing issues such as “verification, nuclear umbrellas, responsibilities, testing”.
230.Mr Kmentt said that the NPT’s “obligation under Article 6” was “a collective responsibility for the entire membership and not just for the Nuclear Weapon States.” The negotiation of the Ban Treaty was “the only way to demonstrate that we are deeply unsatisfied with the status quo and deeply concerned about how the arms control regime and the nuclear disarmament dimension in particular are moving.” “Most of all”, the treaty was “a manifestation of the role and responsibility of the Non-Nuclear Weapon States to discharge their obligation”.
231.Some witnesses suggested that the Ban Treaty undermined the NPT. Dr Sultan said it was “likely” to do so, because it brought “duplicate obligations upon the signatory states” and complicated the global non-proliferation regime. The FCO said it risked “undermining international non-proliferation work and the NPT”, a reason given by Ms Cox for why none of the NATO Allies had signed or ratified the treaty.
232.Mr Plant said that the “crack in the wall … if it comes; I do not think it is guaranteed to” would occur if a state decided “that it would prefer to discharge its non-proliferation obligations under the Treaty of Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons than it would under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.” Dr Roberts was concerned that the Ban Treaty’s standards would “give some states the political cover for abandoning their NPT obligations”. The Ban Treaty’s safeguards and verification measures are discussed below.
233.Dr Tzinieris said the P5 had at different times asserted that it would “‘undermine’, ‘weaken’ and ‘damage’ the NPT”. Ms Price described the Ban Treaty as “a rival”, which Mr Schulte and Professor Wheeler said could reduce the NPT’s “universality and moral authority”.” Ms Price said that it had “a clause in it to say that it is the primary instrument for achieving disarmament in the world. We disagree with that; we think it is the NPT. If you introduce a competition or hierarchy of treaties, you have to believe that one is higher than the other; you have to make a choice.”
234.Mr Kmentt said “the assertion that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in any way damages or undermines the NPT is just plain false”. It was “born out of trying to create a narrative that the Ban Treaty is somehow bad”. A number of witnesses including Mr Heisbourg, Mr Ingram and Ms Fihn said the Ban Treaty did not undermine the NPT. Dr Johnson said the Ban Treaty aimed “to amplify, clarify and strengthen the NPT itself by clarifying what needs to be done”. It was “a pathway for the implementation of Article 6”. Article 36 said it had been “negotiated to be legally compatible with other nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament treaties, and as an ‘effective measure’ towards fulfilling Article 6 of the NPT”. The role of the NPT in non-proliferation was “acknowledged in the TPNW’s preamble”.
235.Some witnesses said the Ban Treaty had created polarisation. Dr Ritchie disagreed: “This is not a matter of creating polarisation; it is a symptom of it.” Some witnesses said that the pressure that resulted from polarisation on nuclear possessor states could be helpful: “Historically”, progress had “been made on arm treaties where stakes have been high”.
236.Ms Fihn said it was necessary “to do what we have done with biological and chemical weapons: reject them, declare them to be inhumane and stigmatise them. We must make them shameful and dishonourable”. Article 36 said experience showed that “building stigma over time is crucial to marginalising” the role of these weapons. Dr Ritchie said this represented “an effort to create the conditions for nuclear disarmament to happen”.
237.Article 36 said the Ban Treaty could also “have a significant impact on the private financing of nuclear weapons producers”. The “new international legal framework” of the treaty was “likely to make investors consider these companies to be an increasingly risky proposition”. The Northern Friends Peace Board said the treaty had caused “more than 50 financial institutions to divest from nuclear weapons” to date.
238.The Ban Treaty has a potential implication for the development of customary international law, defined by the International Court of Justice as “evidence of a general practice accepted as law”, which “evolves through ‘state practice’—the widespread repetition of acts, or declaration of the legality of acts, by a significant number of states and the absence of their rejection by a significant number of states”. Some witnesses noted that the explicit and repeated rejection of the treaty by Nuclear Weapon States represents an attempt to prevent this.
239.Other witnesses were sceptical about the impact of the treaty. Ms Price said that “just wishing nuclear disarmament, which I think the nuclear Ban Treaty tries to do, will not make it happen.” Rear Admiral Gower said the Ban Treaty sought to “shame” nuclear possessor states “through a legal statute to which they have not signed up”; it was “toothless”. Mr Heisbourg compared it to “a temperance union that does not manage to convince any alcoholics to give up the booze”.
240.Mr Schulte and Professor Wheeler said it was “not realistic that signatory states comprising under 40 per cent of the world’s population, and even less of its production and communications capability, will be effectively able to ‘stigmatise’ the remainder who include enormous nuclear states such as China, Russia, India, and the US and all its allies.” Rear Admiral Gower drew a distinction between the possible impact of the Ban Treaty on different states: it would “shame only America, France and the UK, possibly”; it was “unlikely to shame the other six countries that have nuclear weapons”, a point also made by Dr Roberts.
The Ban Treaty obliges each State Party to “at a minimum, maintain its International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards obligations in force at the time of entry into force of this Treaty”. A State Party that has not concluded an IAEA safeguards agreement is obliged to agree with the IAEA to “bring into force a comprehensive safeguards agreement (INFCIRC/153 (Corrected))”.
241.Ms Price was critical of the Ban Treaty’s safeguards regime. She said it mandated the IAEA comprehensive safeguards agreement, which “we believe is a lesser standard than … the gold standard”—the Additional Protocol (see Box 3).
242.Ms Cox said the Ban Treaty did “not … account for the full range of safeguards and the long history of the body of work that has been done under the NPT ”. It gave some countries “an ‘out’ for not tackling the hard challenges”. The UK thought this was “dangerous”—“we want to push forward to higher standards”.
243.Article 36 said this was a “common criticism” of the Ban Treaty, which was incorrect. The treaty “legally requires parties to maintain the safeguards agreements they have” (see Box 6). Mr Kmentt said that for the majority of states, this was the Additional Protocol. This meant that the Ban Treaty set a stronger standard than the NPT, which did not require or enforce the Additional Protocol.
244.Dr Tzinieris said those states which did not have safeguards in place when they signed the Ban Treaty were obliged to “bring into force the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (INFCIRC/153 Corrected).” This ensured that “states can upgrade their safeguard standards by adopting an Additional Protocol as well as accommodate any higher standards that might be available”. Proponents of the Ban Treaty therefore argued that it “goes further than the NPT, which only obligates state parties to ‘accept safeguards’ in an unspecified agreement with the IAEA”.
245.Ms Price said that the Ban Treaty had “a very weak verification regime”; Mr Schulte and Professor Wheeler said it compared unfavourably with the NPT’s provisions. It “would not give anybody the assurances that disarmament had happened”.
246.Mr Plant said that if states discharged their obligations to both the NPT and the Ban Treaty, the inconsistency in standards would not matter. However, “if states are forum shopping, the verification requirements on non-proliferation … are much less stringent than they are under the NPT. That is a step backwards for disarmament and non-proliferation.”
247.Dr Tzinieris acknowledged that the Ban Treaty “provides only an outline” on verification, “with the details to be dealt with by an unspecified ‘competent national authority’”. This “lack of detail” was a recognition that “disarmament was unlikely to take place immediately”.
248.Mr Kmentt rejected the idea that it created “a loophole for cheating on nuclear disarmament”. The “absence of specific verification provisions was only logical”, because the countries with the “most expertise on verification” were nuclear possessor states, which did not participate in the negotiations. The Ban Treaty provided “space (e.g. through a future verification protocol) to include the input of adhering nuclear armed states to develop concrete verification measures, once they join the treaty.” Dr Johnson said in future there would be likely to be new technologies which could be used in this regard.
249.Mr Kmentt said the treaty “tries at least to change the discourse and the unsatisfactory dynamic that we have seen … since the mid-1990s.” Ms Nakamitsu said “the discussions on nuclear weapons, in many European countries in particular, have become more active.” The UN had “started to receive many parliamentary delegations that are studying the new treaty”. The Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament said the treaty had also “reinvigorate[d] civil society in the campaign against nuclear weapons and for total disarmament”.
250.Ms Price said that the UK “would not have been able to veto” the Ban Treaty, and “had no intention of signing it, so we did not participate.” The Minister said the UK did “not think the moment is there to try to abolish nuclear weapons altogether”, and thought the Ban Treaty “would compete with the NPT in a way that would not deliver as good an outcome”.
251.Ms Price said the UK had “strongly made clear … our concerns about its shortcomings” and “engaged with those proponents”. The Minister said the UK had wanted “to be frank and honest and not pretend that we support something or that it will be effective when we think otherwise”.
252.UNA-UK said the UK’s approach to the Ban Treaty had been “surprising and concerning”. It had “failed to participate in a string of multilateral discussions on nuclear disarmament”. It described this approach as “irreconcilable with the UK’s international obligation under Article 6 of the NPT”. Mr Ingram said participation would have been an opportunity “to demonstrate good will and to treat Non-Nuclear Weapon States’ concerns seriously”. The Government should have shown “a little more humility by turning up to these events and voting in a way that was consistent with our policies.”
253.Dr Ritchie said that nuclear possessor states could have participated in the conferences and the Ban Treaty negotiations, but acknowledged that it was “highly unlikely that they were going to engage meaningfully in a process that challenges the legitimacy of nuclear weapons and nuclear deterrence”.
254.Dr Roberts regarded opposition to the treaty to be the right approach: the UK should inhibiting the treaty’s entry into force, including using “a diplomatic strategy aimed at persuading signatories not to pursue ratification at this time”.
255.Other witnesses took a different view. Mr Ingram said the UK had “misplayed” its rejection of the Ban Treaty. UNA-UK said the UK was “ill advised to … declare that the action of the significant number of 122 member states … does not constitute customary international law”. The UK’s response had “been picked up by a certain grouping within the international community, of a level of arrogance and a commitment to possessing nuclear weapons indefinitely, which … undermines our claim … that we are in favour of non-proliferation, both vertical and horizontal”.
256.Witnesses suggested possible changes to the UK’s attitude to the Ban Treaty. First, a change in tone. Mr Ingram said the UK should “acknowledge the frustration that lies behind the Ban Treaty and then get on with … [a] step-by-step approach to disarmament.”
257.Similarly, Ms Shetty suggested that the UK should continue to oppose the Ban Treaty, “but … in a more constructive and respectful manner”. It could “legitimately express its concerns about the treaty”, but in order to “try to halt the deepening polarisation”, it would have to “help to foster a more positive atmosphere in the run-up to the 2020 Review Conference and … choose to adopt a less confrontational tone in public statements with other nuclear-weapons states.”
258.Ms Fihn said the UK “might not be in a position to join the treaty right now” but should “stop undermining it by trying to prevent other countries from signing”.
259.These suggestions were consistent with Ms Nakamitsu’s view that the “divisions” between proponents and opponents of the Ban Treaty would “need to be bridged”. Mr Koenders took a similar view. Ms Nakamitsu said she and the Secretary-General “always appeal to member states to remember that there is no one path to the elimination of nuclear weapons.”
260.Second, the UNA-UK said that in future, the UK should “commit to attending all multilateral meetings on nuclear disarmament. Objections to the substance of any such meeting should be made from within the room.”
261.Third, UNA-UK said the UK “should follow Sweden’s lead … by embarking upon an independent or public consultation on the consequences of a possible future implementation” of the Ban Treaty. A number of witnesses including the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and Article 36 advocated the signature of the Ban Treaty, within varying timeframes.
262.The Ban Treaty has little chance of achieving its goals in the short to medium term, not least because none of the nuclear possessor states are signatories. While we welcome evidence from its proponents that it will not undermine the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, we believe the Ban Treaty risks exacerbating existing polarisation between Nuclear and Non-Nuclear Weapon States while delivering no immediate disarmament benefits. We understand and accept that the Government will remain opposed to the Ban Treaty.
263.We also believe however that the increasing signs of division between Nuclear and Non-Nuclear Weapon States are matters of concern, and that the dissatisfaction of the Ban Treaty’s proponents with the status quo on disarmament should be taken seriously. We therefore recommend that the Government should adopt a less aggressive tone about this treaty and seek opportunities to work with its supporters towards the aims of Article 6 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which concerns disarmament.
264.More openness from the UK, as a responsible nuclear state, on the possible humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, and a willingness to engage on developing strategies to manage the consequences of nuclear weapons use, would be welcome.
139 UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, ‘Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)’: [accessed 3 April 2019]
140 UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, ‘Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)’: [accessed 3 April 2019]
141 UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, ‘Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)’: [accessed 3 April 2019]
142 Arms Control Association, ‘Timeline of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)’: [accessed 3 April 2019] North Korea’s withdrawal from the NPT is discussed in Chapters 3 and 4.
143 UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, ‘Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)’: [accessed 3 April 2019]
144 UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, ‘Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)—Text of the Treaty’: [accessed 3 April 2019]
145 UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, [accessed 3 April 2019]
147 UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, ‘NPT Review Conferences and Preparatory Committees’: [accessed 3 April 2019]
148 UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, ‘2019 Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference’: [accessed 3 April 2019]
149 International Relations Committee, Dr Christopher Ford, ‘The Structure and Future of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty’:
150 International Relations Committee, Dr Christopher Ford, ‘The Structure and Future of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty’: . Ms Price had a similar view.
152 Written evidence from the United Nations Association UK ()
153 Horizontal refers to the proliferation of nuclear weapons between states. Vertical refers to the expansion of nuclear capabilities by existing nuclear possessor states.
154 . The same view was given by Diana Ballestas de Dietrich. Written evidence from Diana Ballestas de Dietrich (
155 Written evidence from Dr Lyndon Burford (). He noted that “The UK statement to the 2017 Preparatory Committee meeting emphasised that the ‘mutually reinforcing pillars … are complementary goals and should be pursued together, systematically and with equal determination across all three … while in its statement to the 2012 Preparatory Committee, the UK ‘fully accepted’ that ‘progress must be made across all three pillars in parallel in order to fulfil the ‘Grand Bargain’ at the heart of the NPT.’”
158 (Tom Plant)
159 Written evidence from Dr Ben Kienzle ()
160 IAEA, ‘History’: [accessed 3 April 2019]
161 IAEA, ‘IAEA Safeguards Overview: Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols’: [accessed 14 March 2019]
162 Arms Control Association, ‘IAEA Safeguards Agreements at a Glance’: [accessed 3 April 2019]
163 UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, ‘Background Information’: [accessed 18 March 2019]
164 Written evidence from the Executive Committee of British Pugwash () and UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, ‘Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons—Text of the Treaty’: [accessed 3 April 2019]
165 IAEA, ‘Additional Protocol’: [accessed 3 April 2019]
166 Written evidence from the Executive Committee of British Pugwash ()
167 IAEA, ‘Additional Protocol’: [accessed 3 April 2019]
168 Written evidence from the Executive Committee of British Pugwash ()
169 IAEA, ‘Safeguards agreements’: [accessed 3 April 2019]
170 Nuclear Suppliers Group, ‘About the NSG’: [accessed 3 April 2019]
171 Nuclear Suppliers Group, ‘NSQ FAQ—How does the NSG fit in the non-proliferation regime?’: [accessed 3 April 2019]
172 These are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Republic of Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the UK and the US. Nuclear Suppliers Group, ‘Participants’: Nuclear Suppliers Group, ‘Participants’: [accessed 3 April 2019]
173 (Alexander Kmentt)
174 Nuclear Suppliers Group, ‘NSG FAQ—What are the NSG Guidelines?’: [accessed 3 April 2019]
175 UN Office for Disarmament, ‘An Introduction to the Conference’: [accessed 3 April 2019]
176 UN Security Council, ‘Resolution 984 (1995) Adopted by the Security Council at its 3514th meeting, on 11 April 1995’: [accessed 3 April 2019]
177 UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, ‘UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004)’: [accessed 3 April 2019]
178 UN Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, ‘Landmark resolution on Women, Peace and Security’: [accessed 3 April 2019] See written evidence from Dr Rebecca Johnson ()
179 Written evidence from Dr Rebecca Johnson ()
180 Written evidence from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office () Dr Grossi explained that the Additional Protocol had been developed and the IAEA safeguards regime had been ameliorated in response to the actions of the government of Iraq in the 1990s.
181 Written evidence from Dr Christopher Hobbs () The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church in Britain and the United Reformed Church encouraged the UK to continue to fund the IAEA. Written evidence from the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church in Britain and the United Reformed Church () Medact expressed concern about its funding model. Written evidence from Medact () Dr Grossi, however said it was “reasonably resourced”.
183 Written evidence from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office ()
185 Written evidence from Dr Brad Roberts ()
187 Written evidence from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office ()
188 The UN–Norway Initiative, ‘About us’: [accessed 18 March 2019]
189 Written evidence from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office ()
190 Representation Permanent Mission of Sweden, Geneva, ‘Statement to be delivered on behalf of the QUAD’ (24 April 2018): [accessed 3 April 2019]
191 Written evidence from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office ()
193 IPNDV, ‘About IPNDV’: [accessed 14 March 2019]
194 Q 20
195 (Dr Elbahtimy); (Alexander Kmentt); (Tom Plant)
200 Written evidence from Dr Nicola Leveringhaus ()
201 Written evidence from Dr Hassan Elbahtimy ()
202 National Archives, ‘Browne calls for development of Nuclear disarmament technologies’ (2 February 2008): [accessed 14 March 2019]
203 Kate Chandley, Background Briefing: The “P5 Process” History and What to Expect in 2015, BASIC (January 2015): [accessed 14 March 2019]
204 The UK Government has stated that Russia was responsible for the use of the nerve agent Novichok in the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in 2018. Gov.uk, ‘Speech—Evidence of Russia’s Involvement in Salisbury Attack’ 96 September 2018): [accessed 14 March 2019]
205 (Izumi Nakamitsu)
207 Written evidence from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office ()
208 Written evidence from Paul Schulte and Professor Nicholas J. Wheeler, University of Birmingham ()
209 Written evidence from Sir Alan Duncan MP, Minister of State for Europe and the Americas, Foreign and Commonwealth Office ()
211 Written evidence from Dr Sarah Tzinieris ()
212 Written evidence from Dr Tong Zhao ()
214 Written evidence from Dr Sarah Tzinieris (
215 Written evidence from A. Vinod Kumar ()
217 Written evidence from Cristina Varriale and Tom Plant ()
223 Written evidence from the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church in Britain and the United Reformed Church ()
227 Written evidence from Sir Alan Duncan MP ()
229 Written evidence from Dr Tong Zhao ()
231 ; China and France signed and ratified the NPT in 1992.
232 Written evidence from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office () The three depositary governments issued a statement in June 2018, to mark 50 years since the NPT was opened for signature, to “celebrate the immeasurable contributions this landmark treaty has made to the security and prosperity of the nations and peoples of the world”. US Department of State, ‘Media note—Joint Statement by the Foreign Ministers of the Depositary Governments for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons’ (28 June 2018): [accessed 28 March 2019]
233 Written evidence from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office ()
235 (Rear Admiral John Gower); (Lord Browne of Ladyton)
237 . Libya gave up its nuclear programme in 2003. Kazakhstan inherited possession of Soviet nuclear weapons when the Soviet Union collapsed the USSR dissolved, and then returned the weapons to Russia. South Africa secretly built a nuclear weapons capability, but announced in 1993 that it had shut it down four years earlier. Karl P. Mueller, ‘Forget the ‘Libya model’ for North Korea’, Reuters (1 June 2018): [accessed 3 April 2019]
241 He acknowledged that North Korea has already successfully developed a nuclear weapon.
244 Written evidence from A. Vinod Kumar ()
246 Written evidence from A. Vinod Kumar ()
247 Written evidence from Dr Jenny Clegg ()
248 Written evidence from Dr Rishi Paul ()
249 Written evidence from Dr Rishi Paul (
250 Written evidence from Dr Avner Cohen ()
251 Written evidence from Dr Avner Cohen ()
252 Written evidence from Professor Avner Cohen ()
254 Written evidence from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (. The Government believes that there are only three nuclear possessor states ‘outside’ the NPT—India, Israel and Pakistan—as North Korea signed the treaty and the Government contests Pyongyang’s assertion that it withdrew from it. This is discussed in more detail in Chapter 4. )
255 Written evidence from A. Vinod Kumar (). Pakistan has in the past been a source of nuclear proliferation: in 2004, Abdul Qadeer (A.Q.) Khan, a scientist famous for his role in developing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, confessed to having illegally proliferated nuclear weapons technology to Iran, Libya, and North Korea. Catherine Collins and Douglas Frantz, ‘The Long Shadow of A.Q. Khan’, Foreign Affairs (31 January 2018): [accessed 3 April 2019]
259 Written evidence from Trident Ploughshares ()
261 (Sarah Price)
264 Written evidence from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (
266 The NAM was created in 1961, to “create an independent path in world politics that would not result in member states becoming pawns in the struggles between the major powers.” As of April 2018, it had 120 members. NTI, ‘Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)’: ‘ [accessed 3 April 2019]
267 Written evidence from the Executive Committee of British Pugwash ()
268 ‘US: India fulfils all conditions, but out of Nuclear Suppliers Group due to China’s veto’, The Times of India, (13 September 2018): [accessed 3 April 2018]
269 Subrata Ghoshroy, ‘Taking stock: The US-India nuclear deal 10 years later’, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (16 February 2016): [accessed 3 April 2019]
272 Written evidence from Dr Adil Sultan Muhammad (
273 Written evidence from Dr Rishi Paul ()
277 (Shatabhisha Shetty)
280 Written evidence from Dr Brad Roberts ()
283 Written evidence from BASIC ()
284 Written evidence from Franklin Miller ()
287 Written evidence from Dr Sarah Tzinieris ()
288 Written evidence from Dr Nick Ritchie ()
290 Written evidence from Dr Sarah Tzinieris ()
292 Written evidence from Dr Sarah Tzinieris () Also see (Sir Alan Duncan)
293 Written evidence from Scientists for Global Responsibility ()
295 Written evidence from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office ()
297 Written evidence from Dr Tong Zhao ()
299 ; written evidence from BASIC () Vertical proliferation is the increase of nuclear capabilities within a state.
300 Written evidence from Dr Sarah Tzinieris ()
301 Written evidence from the Executive Committee of British Pugwash ()
302 Written evidence from Scientists for Global Responsibility ()
304 Written evidence from Diana Ballestas de Dietrich () and from Dr Tong Zhao (). Dr Zhao said these programmes strengthened “parochial bureaucratic interests” and reinforced “entrenched beliefs” in nuclear possessor states.
306 Written evidence from Franklin Miller ()
307 ‘Russia releases first video footage of new Kanyon/Status-6 nuclear torpedo’, Naval Today (19 July 2018): [accessed 3 April 2019]
308 Written evidence from Franklin Miller ()
309 Ankit Panda, ‘Russia Conducts Successful Flight-Test of Avangard Hypersonic Glide Vehicle’, The Diplomat (27 December 2018): [accessed 3 April 2019] Hypersonic weapons travel at speeds of over Mach 5 and are also capable of aerodynamic flight. Written evidence from Martin Everett ()
310 Oliver Carroll, ‘Putin heralds successful tests of Russia’s new Avangard hypersonic nuclear weapons’, The Independent (26 December 2018): April 2019] [accessed 3
311 United States Department of Defense, Nuclear Posture Review 2018 (February 2018): [accessed 14 March 2019]
312 Written evidence from Dr Jenny Clegg ()
313 Written evidence from Franklin Miller (). He took the same view of the UK nuclear modernisation programme.
314 Written evidence from PAX ()
315 Written evidence from Dr Nicola Leveringhaus ()
316 Written evidence from Dr Jenny Clegg ()
317 Written evidence from Franklin Miller ()
318 Written evidence from Dr Brad Roberts ()
325 Pierre Tran, ‘Former procurement official joins MBDA as France eyes new munitions’, Defense News (8 December 2017): [accessed 3 April 2019]
326 Written evidence from PAX ()
327 Pierre Tran, ‘Former procurement official joins MBDA as France eyes new munitions’ Defense News (8 December 2017): [accessed 3 April 2019]
328 Henry Samuel, ‘France to boost defence spending in ‘unprecedented’ move to meet Nato commitments’, The Telegraph: [accessed 14 March 2019]
329 Written evidence from A. Vinod Kumar ()
331 Written evidence from A. Vinod Kumar ()
332 Written evidence from Dr Rishi Paul ()
333 Written evidence from A. Vinod Kumar ()
334 Written evidence from Dr Rishi Paul ()
335 IAEA, ‘Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zones’: [accessed 3 April 2019]
336 Written evidence from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament ()
337 Written evidence from Dr Hassan Elbahtimy ()
338 UN, ‘1995 Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Final Document’ (1995): [accessed 3 April 2019]
339 Written evidence from Dr Rebecca Johnson () The Middle East peace process began with the Madrid Conference of 1991 and is a set of bilateral and multilateral negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbours, addressing several concerns including regional security. The 1995 Resolution on the Middle East establishes the link between the Middle East peace process and the establishment of a WMDFZ. Tomisha Bino, ‘The Pursuit of a WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East’, Chatham House (July 2017): [accessed 3 April]
340 The NPT could have been extended for a number of years, rather than indefinitely.
341 Written evidence from Dr Hassan Elbahtimy ()
342 UN, ‘1995 Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Final Document’ (1995): [accessed 3 April 2019]
343 UN, ‘1995 Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Final Document’ (1995): [accessed 3 April 2019]
345 Written evidence from Dr Hassan Elbahtimy ()
346 Written evidence from Dr Hassan Elbahtimy ()
348 Written evidence from Dr Hassan Elbahtimy () Dr Johnson said the “formal reason” for this was “that Canada, the UK and the United States blocked consensus over the wording of a paragraph on the organization and timeline for another proposed conference to rid the Middle East of nuclear and other WMD”. Written evidence from Dr Rebecca Johnson ()
349 Written evidence from BASIC ()
351 Written evidence from BASIC (
352 Written evidence from Dr Hassan Elbahtimy ()
353 Written evidence from BASIC (
355 Via the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (the Chemical Weapons Convention) and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction About Biological Weapons (the Biological Weapons Convention).
356 Written evidence from Diana Ballestas de Dietrich (). Dr Elbahtimy said that while nuclear weapons were “ the key hurdle”, “other weapon systems can also pose significant problems”. The use of chemical weapons in Syria “has highlighted the regional gaps in membership of the Chemical Weapons Convention”—Egypt, Israel and South Sudan are outside it. Israeli and Iranian missile programmes also “pose a challenge to a region-wide curtailment of missile capabilities”. A number of regional states have not joined the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, “notably Egypt, Israel and Syria”. Written evidence from Dr Hassan Elbahtimy (
357 Written evidence from Diana Ballestas de Dietrich ()
360 Written evidence from Dr Hassan Elbahtimy ()
366 Written evidence from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office ()
367 Written evidence from Andrey Baklitskiy ()
368 (Lord Browne of Ladyton) and written evidence from Dr Brad Roberts ()
369 Written evidence from Dr Rebecca Johnson ()
370 Written evidence from A. Vinod Kumar () and written evidence from Dr Sarah Tzinieris ()
371 Written evidence from Dr Sarah Tzinieris ()
372 Written evidence from Dr Rebecca Johnson ()
373 Written evidence from Dr Sarah Tzinieris () These predictions were modelled on a conflict between India and Pakistan using 100 Hiroshima-sized warheads. (Dr Ritchie)
374 William Ossoff, ‘Climate science, nuclear strategy, and the humanitarian impacts debate’, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (10 August 2016): [accessed 3 April 2019]
376 Written evidence from Dr Rebecca Johnson ()
378 (Beatrice Fihn)
379 (Paul Ingram)
380 UN General Assembly, ‘Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 23 December 2016’: (11 January 2017), p4: [accessed 3 April 2019]
381 The state voting against was The Netherlands; Singapore abstained. UN, ‘Conference to Negotiate Legally Binding Instrument Banning Nuclear Weapons Adopts Treaty by 122 Votes in Favour, 1 against, 1 Abstention’: [accessed 15 March 2019]
384 Written evidence from Dr Sarah Tzinieris ()
385 Written evidence from Franklin Miller ()
386 Written evidence from Dr Brad Robert ()
387 Written evidence from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office () and (Jessica Cox)
389 NATO, ‘North Atlantic Council Statement on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons’, (20 September 2017): [accessed 3 April 2019] The Netherlands took a different approach to other NATO Allies. The government of the Netherlands participated in the Humanitarian Impacts conferences and in the negotiation of the Ban Treaty, despite “virulent” opposition from other members of NATO. It then voted against it. and (Bert Koenders) The government of the Netherlands stated that it was “incompatible with our NATO obligations, that contains inadequate verification provisions or that undermines the Non-Proliferation Treaty.” Kingdom of the Netherlands, ‘Explanation of vote of the Netherlands on text of Nuclear Ban Treaty’ (7 July 2017): [accessed 3 April 2019]
390 Written evidence from Dr Rebecca Johnson ()
394 also see (Dr Johnson). Dr Ritchie said it was an initiative “principally but not exclusively from the global south”.
395 Written evidence from Dr Adil Sultan Muhammad ()
396 Written evidence from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office ()
397 (Jessica Cox) and written evidence from Jessica Cox ()
399 Written evidence from Dr Brad Roberts ()
400 Written evidence from Dr Sarah Tzinieris ()
402 Written evidence from Paul Schulte and Professor Nicholas J. Wheeler ()
405 (François Heisbourg); (Paul Ingram); (Beatrice Fihn); written evidence from Medact (), written evidence from Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic () and written evidence from Christopher Evans ()
407 (Alexander Kmentt)
408 Written evidence from Article 36 ()
410 (Izumi Nakamitsu), written evidence from Dr Tong Zhao () and written evidence from Dr Sarah Tzinieris ()
411 Written evidence from Dr Sarah Tzinieris ()
412 ; also see (Dr Ritchie) and written evidence from Dr Sarah Tzinieris (). These are outlawed in the Convention on Chemical Weapons and the Biological Weapons Convention.
413 Written evidence from Article 36 ()
415 Written evidence from Article 36 (). This point was also made in written evidence from PAX () and written evidence from the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church in Britain and the United Reformed Church ()
416 Written evidence from the Northern Friends Peace Board ()
417 Written evidence from United Nations Association-UK ()
418 Written evidence from BASIC () and (Shatabhisha Shetty)
423 Written evidence from Paul Schulte and Professor Nicholas J. Wheeler ()
424 and written evidence from Dr Brad Roberts ()
428 Written evidence from Article 36 ()
429 Written evidence from Article 36 ()
430 Written evidence from Article 36 () and written evidence from Alexander Kmentt ()
431 Written evidence from Dr Sarah Tzinieris ()
432 Written evidence from Dr Sarah Tzinieris () The same points were made by Mr Kmentt and ICAN. Written evidence from ICAN () and written evidence from Alexander Kmentt ()
434 Written evidence from Paul Schulte and Professor Nicholas J. Wheeler ()
435 (Sarah Price)
437 Written evidence from Dr Sarah Tzinieris ()
438 Written evidence from Alexander Kmentt ()
439 Written evidence from Alexander Kmentt ()
440 Written evidence from Dr Rebecca Johnson ()
443 Written evidence from Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (
444 It was negotiated in the General Assembly where no veto is possible.
449 Written evidence from the United Nations Association UK ()
452 Written evidence from Dr Brad Roberts ()
454 It noted that in the “context … of the development of a norm regarding the use of military force for purposes of humanitarian intervention, the United Kingdom has been making the case that the actions of a mere three states (the US, UK and France) constitute a new element of customary international law”. Written evidence from the United Nations Association-UK () The 122 states voted to adopt the treaty; it has 70 signatories and 22 ratifications. UN, ‘United Nations Treaty Collection—Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons’: [accessed 3 April 2019]
455 (Paul Ingram)
456 Written evidence from the United Nations Association UK ()
463 Written evidence from the United Nations Association UK ()
464 Written evidence from the United Nations Association-UK () A report was produced for the Swedish Parliament on the possibility of Sweden acceding to the Ban Treaty. It concluded that Sweden should not join the treaty. ICAN, ‘Disappointing report from the Swedish inquiry into joining Nuclear Ban Treaty’ (18 January 2019): [accessed 20 March 2019]
465 Written evidence from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (); written evidence from Article 36 (). Article 36 said that NATO membership did not preclude this: “states ratifying the TPNW could continue military co-operation with nuclear-armed states”.