The nuclear weapons register : a good idea whose time has come

Müller, Harald


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Dokumentart: Bericht / Forschungsbericht / Abhandlung
Institut: HSFK-Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung
Schriftenreihe: PRIF reports
Bandnummer: 51
Sprache: Englisch
Erstellungsjahr: 1998
Publikationsdatum: 30.01.2008
DDC-Sachgruppe: Politik
BK - Basisklassifikation: 89.77 (Rüstungspolitik)
Sondersammelgebiete: 3.6 Politik und Friedensforschung

Kurzfassung auf Englisch:

Transparency in nuclear arms is an important measure for world security, strengthening the nuclear nonproliferation regime and preparing the ground for nuclear disarmament. In fact, significantly enhanced information about the nuclear weapon complexes and stockpiles in the nuclear weapon states - whether de jure or de facto - is an indispensable condition for far-reaching nuclear arms reductions and the final jump to a world without nuclear weapons. There are several efforts underway that seek to enhance transparency in the nuclear sectors - civilian and military - of the nuclear weapon states. There is the bilateral START process between the US and Russia, and in its wake the trilateral initiative exploring the possibility of verifying material from dismantled warheads, in which the International Atomic Energy Agency is participating. There is the International Plutonium Regime recently agreed among eight Plutonium users. There is the new protocol to the NPT verification system; some of its measures are intended to be applied universally, including the nuclear weapon states. And there is the prospect, which is at present unfortunately rather distant, of a cut-off of the production of fissile material for explosive purposes, the verification of which will also cover part of the nuclear weapon complexes. Nevertheless, there is no general agreed and comprehensive approach to transparency. This study proposes a register for nuclear weapons and fissile material not under international safeguards, in which the five de jure and the three de facto nuclear weapon states could participate. The register would be installed in three stages. In the first phase, fairly general and unspecified information would suffice. In the second stage, information would be broken down into details of weapons and material holdings. In the third stage, precise data as to location and parameters would be provided. During the first two stages, different obligations would apply to de jure (United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China) and de facto (Israel, India, Pakistan) nuclear weapon states, in order to keep the legal distinction embedded in the NPT valid. Verification would probably not start until well into the second stage, again to facilitate acceptance by all relevant players. In its later stages, the register would probably be linked to verification measures connected with other arms control and arms reduction instruments (e.g. a cut-off or a START IV agreement). Verification might be the responsibility of bilateral, P-5 multilateral, and completely international bodies. The register concept is compatible with three conceivable scenarios for future nuclear world order, and would help to bolster peace in each of them. In a great power concert, it would enhance mutual confidence and help prevent the reemergence of a nuclear arms race. In a trusteeship model where the nuclear weapon states would be mandated to take particular responsibility for world security, it would underline their accountability towards the community of states. In a model of international politics moving towards nuclear disarmament it would provide the basis on which the most decisive steps would rest: there might be more transparency without complete disarmament, but there will certainly not be disarmament without complete transparency.

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