Restricting the development of nuclear weapons
Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, non-nuclear weapon states agree not to acquire or develop nuclear weapons and to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. This includes accepting international verification of their nuclear programmes by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). States that have nuclear weapons (China, France, Russia, UK and US) agree to work towards nuclear disarmament.
The UK is working to ensure nuclear material and technology can be shared for peaceful purposes. Part of this work seeks to minimise the risk of countries that don’t have nuclear weapons misusing technology and material to develop the capability to create nuclear weapons. Specifically, we support:
- stronger powers for the International Atomic Energy Agency
- stronger compliance mechanisms and procedures to ensure that Iran and North Korea comply with their international obligations
- the principle and practice of nuclear weapons free zones, including the call for a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons as well as other WMD
We also recommend immediate discussions at the UN Security Council if a country announces its intention to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
We continue to make the case for all states to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty which bans nuclear explosions by everyone, everywhere; and to begin negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (a global ban on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices) within the Conference on Disarmament.