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New article on the impact of the nuclear weapon prohibition treaty on IAEA safeguards

  • AUTHORJohn Carlson, Trust & Verify
  • Oct 18, 2017

John Carlson has published a critique of the nuclear weapon prohibition treaty’s impact on IAEA safeguards – The nuclear weapon prohibition treatya safeguards debacle – in VERTIC’s Trust & Verify, see  

In this article Carlson points out successive NPT review conferences have recognized nuclear disarmament will require safeguards that are both rigorous and universal – specifically, making comprehensive safeguards and additional protocols (AP) universal. In concluding the nuclear weapon prohibition treaty, however, the negotiating states have contradicted the review conference decisions (which they had all supported), and have failed to require a universal high safeguards standard. Rather, the treaty sets different standards depending on whether a party has an AP when the treaty enters into force. A party without an AP is not required to conclude one. This approach not only damages the treaty itself, but also the prospects for disarmament and potentially the NPT. A prohibition treaty that does not require a rigorous and universal safeguards standard will fail to provide the confidence needed for disarmament to proceed and to be sustained. 

In view of this major defect in the treaty, it is essential for all NPT parties to make every effort to ensure that states currently without APs conclude one before the treaty enters into force. In particular nuclear suppliers should require the AP as a condition of supply, there is no excuse for not doing so. It is time for the AP holdouts to put aside political games and recognise that their national interest - including the achievement of nuclear disarmament - is best served by a strong non-proliferation regime, of which the AP is a key element.