Assessing the 50th Anniversary of the  Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
Policy Briefs

Assessing the 50th Anniversary of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

APLN Policy Brief 67

The following is a summary. Click on the adjacent link to download the full brief.

2020 is the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – the first and so far only use of nuclear weapons. It also marks the 50th anniversary of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which was concluded in 1968 and entered into force in 1970. These events are closely related: the NPT resulted from international concerns to ensure the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are never repeated.

However, despite the NPT obligation to pursue nuclear arms control and disarmament, there have been no multilateral negotiations on nuclear arms reductions, and no negotiations seriously addressing how to achieve nuclear disarmament. The nuclear-weapon states have not shown any commitment to a diminishing role for nuclear weapons and their eventual elimination. On the contrary, it seems they expect indefinite retention of nuclear weapons and a continuing role for nuclear weapons in their national security policies.

About the Author

John Carlson is a member of the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (APLN). He is an independent consultant and Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non Proliferation (VCDNP) and a Counselor to the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI). He is a member of the International Advisory Council to the International Luxembourg Forum. His previous appointments have included: Associate, Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center, Harvard University; Non-Resident Fellow, Lowy Institute, Sydney; and Member, Expert Advisory Committee, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, South Australia. John Carlson worked with the Australian Public Service from 1963 to 2010, principally on energy, nuclear and international relations issues, including 21 years as Director General of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (1989-2010). John Carlson is a Fellow of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management (INMM) and a recipient of the national honour of Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

Image: iStock, Denny Fachrul Rozzy.

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