Sixty years after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the dangers posed by the existence of nuclear weapons are still in the news. Nine countries have nuclear weapons, leading to a proportionate increase the risk of nuclear war. The discovery of a clandestine nuclear technology export network gives an idea of the potential for proliferation to other parties and countries. Even the peaceful use of atomic energy can be abused for military purposes.
The Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was the first international attempt to prevent and control the proliferation of nuclear weapons. It came into force in 1970, attempting to strike balance between the duty of nuclear countries to disarm, and the duty of non-nuclear countries not to acquire nuclear weapons, being granted in return the right to use atomic energy for peaceful purposes.
The NPT is not the only anti-nuclear agreement. Other conventions, treaties, standards and institutions have been created at multinational, regional or bilateral level to establish a general framework to prevent and reduce nuclear weapons and monitor the use of nuclear energy. Safeguards were devised to shore up the three areas of the NPT - non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, nuclear disarmament and the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes.
This nine-chapter report lists the various conventions, standards and other institutions for managing nuclear weapons and power. It examines the NPT, nuclear-free zones, security guarantees, nuclear test bans, nuclear disarmament treaties, export control treaties, non-proliferation measures and nuclear safety. It also examines the institutions like the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that are responsible for negotiating new conventions and regulations and monitoring respect of the rules.