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Fissile Material Limits


Current status. For many years, halting the global production of fissile material for weapons and other purposes has been a component of various proposals for nuclear disarmament. The NWS have all stopped production of fissile materials [see Positions of Governments below]. However, although the Conference on Disarmament (CD) has tried for many years to negotiate a treaty for a cut off of fissile materials production, it has been unable to begin formal negotiations so far for a binding international treaty.

Definition. Fissile (also called fissionable) nuclei may be split by neutrons of low energy (not accelerated to high speeds). Only one natural fissile material exists: U-235. But a second, Pu-239, is produced as a byproduct of uranium-fueled reactors. A neutron hitting U-238 is absorbed by the nucleus, producing Pu-239, a fissile material. Uranium burn-up also produces the less-fissile Pu-240, Pu-241, and Pu-242. Weapon-grade plutonium is at least 93 percent Pu-239, although plutonium of almost any grade may be used for a nuclear weapon. Weapon-grade Highly-Enriched Uranium (HEU) has 90 percent U-235, the remainder being U-238.

History of efforts. From 1956 to 1969, a fissionable material cutoff formed a major plank of US arms control proposals. A US proposal called for transfer of 30 to 60 tons of HEU from weapon to civilian use, but not the destruction of existing inventories, apparently because of fears that this could not be monitored. During those years, the Soviet Union lagged behind the United States in its inventory, and hence the cutoff would have left the United States ahead.

In 1964, the United States, the USSR, and the United Kingdom simultaneously issued statements announcing reductions in the production of fissionable material for weapon purposes: the United States announced a 20 percent cut in plutonium and a 40 percent cut in HEU production; the USSR announced a halt in construction of two plutonium production reactors, a reduction in HEU production, and an allocation of fissionable material to peaceful use; and Britain announced a gradual halt to military plutonium production.

In 1982, Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko suggested a cessation of the production of fissionable material as one of the stages in a disarmament program. By that time, the USSR had reached parity with the United States in nuclear weapons and nuclear material {An Overview of Weapon-material Production Cut-off Proposals by the Nuclear Control Institute, adapted from John Taylor, Restricting Production of Fissionable Material as an Arms Control Measure: an Updated Historical Overview, Sandia, 1987}.
At the 31st Pugwash conference in September 1981, scientists from 40 nations adopted the idea of a freeze on nuclear weapons production by the United States and the Soviet Union, a ban on nuclear testing, and a cut off of production of fissile material. Interest in the original form of the freeze dwindled in the late 1980s. The UNGA continued to pass resolutions supporting the freeze idea, but an increasing number of countries voted against, or abstained, calling the idea obsolete {9.12.92}. Finally, India withdrew its draft resolution from the First Committee in 1993, saying two of its key provisions (CTB and the fissionable material cutoff) were dealt with in other resolutions {DT 23.11.93}.
The idea of a cutoff or limitation on the production of fissionable material, as well as tritium {9.12.88; 27.8.91}, remained as a verifiable way to cap stockpiles of nuclear weapons {9.8.87}. Soviet leader Gorbachev pressed for an agreed cut off up until October 1991. In 1992, President Bush announced a halt in US production of special nuclear material (SNM), a step encouraged by difficulties in the US nuclear cycle {13.7.92}.

Global treaty. The 1992 UNGA passed a resolution (with France, India, Britain, and the United States abstaining, while China did not participate) asking the CD to consider a cessation of the production of fissionable material {9.12.92}.
On 27 September 1993, President Clinton called for an international agreement to ban production of SNM for weapons. At the UNGA, the annual resolution calling for a ban was passed by consensus for the first time. Resolution 48/75L called for negotiations “in the most appropriate international forum for a convention barring production of fissile material {16.12.93}.

The Shannon Mandate. On 23 March 1995, the Conference on Disarmament (CD) members agreed to establish an ad hoc committee with a mandate to negotiate a treaty banning the production of fissile material (fissban). The new committee would fall under CD agenda item 2, cessation of the arms race and nuclear disarmament. In what came to be known as the Shannon Mandate, after then-CD Chair Ambassador Mark Shannon of Canada, CD delegates agreed to the following proposal:|

1. The Conference on Disarmament decides to establish an Ad Hoc Committee on a “ban on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.”
2. The Conference directs the Ad Hoc Committee to negotiate a non-discriminatory, multilateral, and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
3. The Ad Hoc Committee will report to the Conference on Disarmament on the progress of its work before the conclusion of the 1995 session.

In his report to the CD, Shannon further described the scope of the proposed talks:

During the course of my consultations, many delegations expressed concerns about a variety of issues relating to fissile material, including the appropriate scope of the Convention. Some delegations expressed the view that this mandate would permit consideration in the Committee only of the future production of fissile material. Other delegations were of the view that the mandate would permit consideration not only of future but also of past production. Still others were of the view that consideration should not only relate to production of fissile material (past or future) but also to other issues, such as the management of such material.
It has been agreed by delegations that the mandate for the establishment of the Ad Hoc Committee does not preclude any delegation from raising for consideration in the Ad Hoc Committee any of the above noted issues” {CD/1299 24.3.95}.
The Shannon mandate apparently satisfied those who wanted the question of stockpiles included in the discussions {23.3.95}. However, for over two years, disputes over the scope of the proposed treaty and the linkage of negotiations to progress on general nuclear disarmament prevented the formation of the ad hoc committee {21.9.95; 8.2.96; 3.9.96; 9.9.97}. Many NAM countries supported a fissban that would address existing stocks of fissile materials as well as capping all current and future production, while the United States and most other Western countries advocated a simple freeze on production beyond current holdings. NAM states also argued that nuclear disarmament talks were just as important as establishing a fissban, whatever the treaty’s ultimate scope. India, Pakistan, and Israel in particular opposed any negotiations on the subject, for reasons relating to their regional security situations and their own nuclear weapons programs.
However, in 1998, Pakistan {30.7.98}, India {2.5.98}, and Israel {11.8.98} all reversed their longstanding positions on negotiating the treaty, thus allowing the third part of the 1998 CD session to establish an ad hoc committee on the basis of the Shannon Mandate under the CD's agenda item 1 covering nuclear disarmament {11.8.98; 9.9.98}. The UN General Assembly also passed a resolution on a fissban for the first time since 1993 {4.12.98}.
Despite this apparent progress, the CD was unable to establish an ad hoc committee during the 1999 session because the delegates could not agree on a program of work, which is a prerequisite for negotiations on any subject. Disagreements over the subjects of nuclear disarmament and prevention of an arms race in outer space ( PAROS) blocked a consensus throughout the 1999 CD session. China and the NAM wanted to address both these issues in separate working groups as a condition for moving forward on a fissban, but the United States opposed the chair’s compromise proposal on a program of work because it went too far towards nuclear disarmament negotiations {18.1 - 26.3.99; 10.5 - 25.6.99; 27.7 - 7.9.99}.
The same basic divisions persisted in the 2000 session, again blocking agreement on a program of work. The chair’s proposal for three ad hoc working groups on nuclear disarmament, fissban, and PAROS was rejected by all major groupings. Western countries said that the proposal would represent a retreat from the Shannon Mandate and the 1998 agreement to go forward with a fissban negotiating committee; China and Russia objected because the language establishing the three working groups gave more relative weight to a fissban in comparison to PAROS; and the NAM objected because the proposal seemed to have stronger language for a fissban relative to the subject of nuclear disarmament {18.1 - 24.3.00}.
In 2001-3 and 2004, Chinese refusal to allow an ad hoc group to begin negotiations on a fissban without the beginning of negotiations on PAROS and the US refusal to countenance negotiations on PAROS prevented the adoption of a work program by the CD, thus blocking negotiations on any issue.

Multilateral moratorium. Since the nuclear weapon states (NWS) had all stopped production of fissile material [see 612cFIS95 October], in the 1990s the United States sought to persuade India, Pakistan and Israel (then the only states other than the declared nuclear powers capable of producing fissile material for weapon purposes) to agree to a moratorium {19.9.95}. In 1998, the P-5 called on India and Pakistan to halt fissile material production following the two countries' nuclear tests {2.6.98}. These efforts failed [see positions below].

Scope. All proponents agree that the ban should cover production of fissile material for weapon purposes. A few, notably the United States, would like to halt production for any purpose {20.5.96; 16.11.96}. Finally, some countries, inter alia Egypt and Pakistan, would like a treaty to include limits and reductions of current stockpiles of fissile material {7.9.94; 9.9.97}. Proposals to cut off production of tritium have also been advanced {9.12.88}. (Although not a fissile material, tritium is used to boost the power of nuclear weapons.) Six categories of fissile material could be covered by the fissban, including:

    • Pu and HEU in operational nuclear weapons and their logistics pipeline. As long as there is not comprehensive nuclear disarmament, the existence of such material must be accepted.
    • Pu and HEU held in reserve for nuclear explosive purposes, in assembled weapons or in other forms. As a consequence of already ongoing disarmament, nuclear warheads are kept in storage. Further dismantlement is planned, but capacities are sometimes limited. The treaties that are the most likely to address such materials are future strategic arms reduction (START) treaties.
    • Pu and HEU withdrawn from dismantled weapons. Some of this material is technically still in a state that reveals sensitive design information. Further processing will eliminate this attached information, however, capacities are limited. A decision whether the material in this category will be put in reserve or will be considered excess has not yet been made.
    • Pu and HEU considered excess and designated for transfer into the civilian use, but not declared as such. This decision is first taken on a national level.
    • Pu and HEU considered excess and declared for transfer into the civilian use. Examples are 36 tons (t) of Pu declared excess by the US and 50 t declared excess by Russia. Only 2 t of US Pu have been submitted to safeguards so far.
    • Civilian Pu and HEU. These materials and their production facilities are under IAEA full scope safeguards in non-nuclear-weapon States. The nuclear-weapon States (NWS) and States outside the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are not yet obliged to accept similar full-scope safeguards. All materials under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards should be considered civilian
World Plutonium Holdings. In 1999, a classified US intelligence report placed the world's total holdings of weapon-grade plutonium between 235 and 265 metric tons {box 1.2.99}. According to Robert Norris and William Arkin of the Natural Resources Defense Council, this quantity was enough to produce more than 85,000 warheads, assuming the average nuclear warhead uses about three kilograms of plutonium. The US intelligence report gave the following figures for 15 countries' plutonium holdings:

    • Argentina: No weapon-grade plutonium, 6 tons of commercial-grade plutonium
    • Belgium: No weapon-grade plutonium, 23 - 31 tons of commercial-grade plutonium
    • Brazil: No weapon-grade plutonium, 0.6 tons of commercial-grade plutonium
    • Britain: 7.6 tons of weapon-grade plutonium, 98.4 tons of commercial-grade plutonium (about 51 tons separated)
    • China: 1.7 - 2.8 tons of weapon-grade plutonium, 1.2 tons of commercial-grade plutonium
    • France: 6 - 7 tons of weapon-grade plutonium, 151 - 205 tons of commercial-grade plutonium (about 70 tons separated)
    • Germany: No weapon-grade plutonium, 75 - 105 tons of commercial-grade plutonium (about 17 tons separated)
    • India: 150 - 250 kilograms of weapon-grade plutonium, 6 tons of commercial-grade plutonium (less than 1 ton separated)
    • Israel: 300 - 500 kilograms of weapon-grade plutonium, no commercial-grade plutonium
    • Japan: No weapon-grade plutonium, 119 - 262 tons of commercial-grade plutonium (about 21 tons separated)
    • Kazakhstan: 2 - 3 tons of weapon-grade plutonium (Arkin and Norris noted that this is really civil plutonium needing reprocessing to become weapon-grade), no commercial-grade plutonium
    • North Korea: 25 - 35 kilograms of weapon-grade plutonium, no commercial-grade plutonium
    • Pakistan: No weapon-grade plutonium, 0.5 tons of commercial-grade plutonium (none separated)
    • Russia: 140 - 162 tons of weapon-grade plutonium, 65 tons of commercial-grade plutonium (about 30 tons separated)
    • United States: 85 tons of weapon-grade plutonium (Norris and Arkin noted that 64 metric tons of this amount are used in current weapons or stored as intact weapon pits. The remaining 21 tons are stored as solutions, scrap, or waste), 257.2 tons of commercial-grade plutonium (14.5 tons separated. Norris and Arkin added that the world's inventory of weapon-grade plutonium is unlikely to increase while the supply of reactor-grade plutonium will continue to rise {box 1.6.99}.

Verification. A number of states have supported assigning verification responsibility to the IAEA {18.1 - 26.3.99; 10 - 21.5.99}. In order for the IAEA to undertake such a role, the organization would need a much bigger budget.


Plutonium disposition. In March 1999, DOE contracted with US nuclear companies to create MOX fuel assemblies as part of its planned disposition of 34 tons of weapons-grade plutonium declared as excess to military needs. The deal included the modification of six commercial power plants at three sites. DOE said that it would manage the converted plants to avoid the promotion of civilian use of MOX fuel {612b1FIS99 box 1.7}. In December 1999, DOE produced a lifecycle costs study for the US plutonium disposition plan. The study said that all components of the disposition program would be open for international inspection and monitoring {ACR 612b1FIS99 box 1.12}. In January 2000, DOE finalized the plan {4.1.00}. However, Virginia Power, one of the companies contracted for the plan, pulled out {5.4.01}. The Bush administration notified its plutonium disposition policy in 2002, consisting of: cancellation of the immobilization plan; immediate implementation of consolidated long-term storage at the Savannah River site; and continued storage of surplus plutonium pits at the Pantex facility {ACR 612e3FIS02 19.4}.

Tritium supplies. DOE and the Department of Defense (DOD) disagreed over the amount of tritium needed for the US nuclear weapon stockpile. DOE calculated US needs using START I deployment levels, while the DOD used START II as a baseline {ACR 612b1FIS99 box 1.7}. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson announced on 22 December 1999 that DOE had reached an agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to produce tritium for US nuclear weapons in TVA’s civilian light-water reactors at the Watts Bar nuclear plant near Knoxville. Production was scheduled to begin in 2003, but DOE was still funding several other options, including construction of a particle accelerator or a new light-water reactor {ACT 1 - 2.00}. In July 2000, construction of a new US tritium facility began at the Savannah River plant in Aiken, South Carolina. The plant would commence production in 2006 {ACR 612e1FIS00 27.7}. Construction of the plant is running behind schedule and over budget {ACR 612e1FIS02 28.6}. In 2002, the nuclear Regulatory Authority granted the TVA a license to produce tritium at its Watts bar facility {ACR 612e1FIS02 24.9}. In early 2003 the DOE produced a plutonium pit at Los Alamos as part of a US program to resume pit production designed to replace the pits in W-88 warheads for submarine-launched ballistic missiles. The pit, named Qual-1, will undergo heavy testing in hopes of becoming certified by 2007 {ACR 612e1FIS03 22.4}. The Watts Bar station commenced production of tritium in October 2003, marking its first production for nuclear weapon use since the Savannah River plant closed its doors in 1988 {ACR 612e1FIS03 20.10}.

Plutonium pit assembly. The US General Accounting Office (GAO) questioned the evolving plans for production of new plutonium pits for the existing warhead stockpile. The GAO audit said there was insufficient infrastructure at Los Alamos National Laboratory for the task, which would eventually involve the refurbishment of thousands of pits in the reserve and active warhead stockpile {ACR 612b1FIS99 box 1.7; ACR 608bCTB00 26.3 - 26.4}. The National Nuclear Security Administration was tasked to design a plant to manufacture plutonium pits for nuclear weapons, to be operational by 2020 {ACR 612e1FIS02 31.5}. In 2003, the NNSA issued an environmental impact statement regarding construction of a modern pit facility. The statement met opposition due to its mention that the facility would cause at least one cancer death due to radiation for every four and a half years of operation {ACR 612e1FIS03 26.6} In January 2004 the NNSA delayed the final environmental impact statement for a Modern Pit Facility (MPF), but NNSA Administrator Linton Brooks asserted that restoring US capability to manufacture plutonium pits was essential to the nuclear defense policy of the nation {ACR 612e2FIS04 28.1}.


Transparency Talks. Discussions on transparency in management of nuclear materials and in the dismantling of warheads have taken place almost continuously since 1994, but with little concrete result.
In January 1994, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin agreed to pursue the transparency and irreversibility of nuclear reductions, including the establishment of working groups for specific measures. None of the measures were implemented {Matthew Bunn, The Next Wave: Urgently Needed New Steps to Control Warheads and Fissile Material, Harvard University and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 4.00}.
At the Clinton-Yeltsin summit in Moscow on 10 May 1995, the United States and Russia agreed to negotiate a series of agreements on Safeguards, Transparency and Irreversibility” (STI) that would ensure that fissile materials removed from weapons could not be re-used to manufacture weapons; that no new fissile material would be produced for weapons; and that civilian fissile material would not be used to make weapons {ACR 612b1FIS95 10.5}. The agreements would involve data exchanges on warhead and material stockpiles. The two sides started working on six separate agreements, but negotiations soon stalled. In the fall of 1995, the entire initiative collapsed when Russia pulled out of all STI discussions after an interagency policy review.
According to Oleg Bukharin of Princeton University's Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, and Kenneth Luongo, director of the Russian-American Nuclear Security Advisory Council (RANSAC), the failure of the talks was due to distractions and uncertainties created by Russia's presidential elections; inadequacy of the Russian interagency process; lack of interest on the part of the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy (Minatom); resistance from the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB); and a lack of a consistent high-level political attention in the United States.”
On 17 September 1996, the IAEA, Russia, and the United States signed an agreement on nuclear stockpile monitoring called the Trilateral Initiative, which included international monitoring of the irreversibility of nuclear disarmament steps. The parties aimed to conclude a legal verification agreement, a verification fund, and technical arrangement {ACR 612b1FIS 5.8.99}. For this initiative, the goal was to prevent material from being used in new nuclear weapons rather than to store material removed from nuclear weapons.
Meetings were ongoing throughout 1997 {ACR 612b1FIS97 24.5; 28.8; 30.9}, and the three parties conducted a review of the initiative in September 1998 {ACR 612b1FIS98 22.9}. Technical difficulties and political wrangling were reported at first {ACR 612b1FIS98 16.3} but progress was reported in 1999 {ACR 612b1FIS99 5.8}. In 27 September 1999, the three parties announced that Los Alamos National Laboratories had completed a verification system using information barrier technology, which would allow physical monitoring of fissile stocks while protecting atomic secrets regarding the size and shape of plutonium pits {ACR 612b1FIS99 27.9}. In 2001, the three parties reviewed the progress of the initiative. They made progress in developing new verification technologies and the development of a model for Subsidiary Arrangements dealing with the details of the implementation of new agreements under the initiative {ACR 612e3FIS01 8.9}. The three parties reviewed the working of the initiative in 2002 {ACR 612e3FIS02 16.9}.
At a presidential summit in 1997, the United States and Russia agreed to measures relating to the transparency of strategic nuclear warhead inventories and the destruction of strategic nuclear warheads and any other jointly agreed technical and organizational measures, to promote the irreversibility of deep reductions including prevention of a rapid increase in the number of warheads. However, this statement was met with some confusion as to its actual meaning in the U.S. bureaucracy, and resistance to warhead transparency in some portions of Russia's bureaucracy remained despite the statement, according to Bukharin and Luongo. In 2001, the Bush administration expressed its preference to store, rather than dismantle, at least part of the warheads to be rendered surplus under a new strategic arms reduction agreement with Russia to be finalized in 2002 {ACR 617bST301 13 - 15.11}.
Since early 1998, work on verification and dismantling nuclear warheads has shifted from government-to-government initiatives to technical nuclear laboratory exchanges. Joint research was conducted on a lab-to-lab basis, but in November 1998, Russia first interrupted and then delayed the implementation of warhead transparency contracts, which remain incomplete {Oleg Bukharin and Kenneth Luongo in US-Russian Warhead Dismantlement Transparency: The Status, Problems, and Proposals, Princeton University/Center for Energy and Environmental Studies Report 314, 4.99}. According to a September 1999 audit by the US General Accounting Office, continued resistance by MINATOM to new transparency projects and technologies was slowing lab-to-lab efforts, and as a result, the United States does not have access to the Russian weapons dismantlement facilities or to the weapons dismantlement process {ACR 612b1FIS99 22.9}.
At their Moscow summit in May 2002, Presidents Bush and Putin established two joint expert groups to deal with fissile material disposition {ACR 612e3FIS02 24.5}. The group on accelerated ways to reduce weapons-grade fissile materials identified several areas for cooperation {ACR 612e3FIS02 16.9}.

Plutonium production and disposition efforts. Various talks and programs have been undertaken to cap the production of military-grade plutonium, shut down or modify reactors that produce civilian-grade plutonium in spent reactor fuel, and permanently dispose of weapons-grade plutonium through burning in civilian reactors as Mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel or through vitrification, which involves mixing Pu with other materials and burying the mixed product to block reprocessing for weapons use. Specific bilateral programs are as follows:

> A US-Russian Plutonium Production Reactor Agreement was signed in Moscow in September 1997. The agreement's goal was to end weapon-grade plutonium production in Russia soon after 2000. Under the agreement, Russia would modify, with US assistance, three plutonium-producing reactors by the end of the year 2000 to end production of weapon-grade plutonium and permanently shut down other Russian plutonium-producing reactors not currently in use. (Originally, the reactors were to be decommissioned, but the two countries later agreed to convert the reactor cores.) The US plutonium-producing reactors, closed since 1989, would remain closed. The converted Russian reactors would operate until the end of their normal lifetimes, subject to safety considerations {Bukharin and Luongo, op cit.}.
The United States would provide Russia with stage-by-stage financing for the conversion of the Russian reactors. A Joint Implementation and Compliance Commission, in charge of the implementation of the agreement, held its first meeting in December 1997 {ACR 612b1FIS97 11.12} and met again October 1998 {ACR 612b1FIS98 6 - 8.10}. Inspections of the two countries’ shutdown reactors were proceeding {ACR 612b1FIS99 22 - 29.6}. However, the plan drew increasing criticism from experts because, under the proposed modifications, the reactors would use HEU transported from other regions in Russia or even from other countries, increasing the chances of diversion and proliferation of HEU for weapons purposes. In October 1999, the US Congress terminated funding for the project in the FY00 defense bill {ACR 612b1FIS99 5.10}. In 2000, Russia asked the United States to abandon the project, arguing that it would cost less to shut down the plants still producing energy and build alternate facilities than to convert the plants as envisaged under the agreement {ACR 612e3FIS00 15.2}. In 2001, Russia asked the United States to postpone the deadline for implementing the agreement to 2006 from 2004 {ACR 612e3FIS01 17.8}.

In July 1998, the United States and Russia signed a military Plutonium Management Agreement covering cooperation on management of plutonium from dismantled weapons. The agreement established a Joint Steering Committee on Plutonium Management to implement it. The committee met in December 1998 {ACR 612b1FIS99 End-1998, 2.99} and again in June 1999 {ACR 612b1FIS99 7.6}. At the latter meeting, the committee welcomed the idea of trilateral cooperation with Japan, which already has agreed on a bilateral basis to produce MOX fuel pellets using Russian military plutonium holdings {ACR 612b1FIS 23.2.99, 18.6.99, 12.8.99}. US-Russian efforts were also being coordinated with Russian-French-German efforts {ACR 612b1FIS98 2.6, 12 - 14.4.99}. In 2000, the G-7 decided to assist Russia in dismantling nuclear weapons {ACR 612e3FIS00 12.4}. In 2001, Russia and China agreed to cooperate in producing MOX fuel {ACR 612e3FIS01 20.7}.

This agreement was followed in September 1998 by a US-Russian Plutonium Disposition Agreement, under which the two countries committed to converting 50 tons of plutonium withdrawn from military programs into forms unusable for military use {ACR 612b1FIS98 2.9}. The two countries aimed to sign a formal Bilateral Plutonium Disposition Agreement by September 1999. Negotiations on the final agreement were underway but budgetary problems and disagreements were causing problems {ACR 612b1FIS98, 27.7.99}. Russia and Canadaare also considering cooperation on commercial disposition of Russian military-grade plutonium in Canadian civilian reactors through the use of MOX fuel assemblies {box 1.6.99; ACR 612b1FIS box 31.7.96, 10.2.99}. The United States and Canada were conducting a MOX fuel experiment to support this cooperation {ACR 612b1FIS 2.9.99, 7.12.99}. Presidents Clinton and Putin finalized the agreement in June 2000, which provides for each side to remove 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium from temporary storage and place it in a “safe, transparent and irreversible disposition.” The agreement was signed in Washington on 31 August 2000 {ACR 612e3FIS00 4.6.00; 31.8.00}. Russia later said costs for implementing the plan had soared and Russia would need Western help to finance it {ACR 612e3FIS00 20.9}. The Russian cabinet approved the agreement and sent it to the Duma in May 2001 {ACR 612e3FIS01 7.5}. The Bush administration was considering abandoning the agreement because of its high cost, with DOE estimating the cost for disposing of the US plutonium at $6.6 bn {ACR 612e3FIS01 20.8}. However, the administration decided in early 2002 to retain the agreement {ACR 612e3FIS02 23.1}. In March 2003 the USA and Russia signed agreements to facilitate the shutdown of three Russian nuclear reactors under the US-Russian Elimination of Weapons-Grade Plutonium Production Program {ACR 612e3FIS03 3.3}.

Mayak fissile material storage facility . As part of the Cooperative Threat Reduction program [see below], the United States and Russia are undertaking to construct a weapons-grade plutonium storage facility at Mayak to help centralize fissile material holdings {4.99}. However, the two countries have not been able to reach agreement on a verification regime to give the United States confidence that the fissile material being stored at Mayak came from nuclear weapons, and the US General Accounting Office released a report in April 1999 criticizing the increasing costs of the project, which were partially due to a lack of promised contributions from Russia. A major stalling point was Russia’s insistence that the United States provide reciprocal transparency measures {Bukharin and Luongo, op cit.}. In 2000, Russia decided to construct a new storage facility in northwest Russia rather than at Mayak to store spent fuel and other nuclear waste {ACR 612e3FIS00 3.3}. In 2001, the Mayak facility built a generator that uses weapon-grade plutonium form dismantled warheads {ACR 612e3FIS01 23.4}. With funding from the USA and Russia, construction of a storage facility for fissile material was completed at the Mayak Chemical Plant in 2003 {ACR 612e1FIS03 16.12}. The storage facility was the first of its kind to be commissioned in Europe, and it was hoped to be fully operational by the end of 2004 {ACR 612e2FIS04 26.5}. That deadline was apparently not met, however.
Russia consideredstoring foreign nuclear waste from Germany, Japan, Spain, South Korea, Switzerland, and Taiwan, and using the revenue generated toward plutonium disposition {ACR 612b1FIS 12.1.99}. A US company, Non Proliferation Trust, Inc., was formed to handle the project {ACR 612b1FIS 20.4.99}. In late 1999, Russian Energy Minister Yevgeniy Adamov openly advocated reprocessing the stored waste for commercial resale after an interim period of storage, a proposal that would violate the original nonproliferation goals of the storage plan {26.8.99}.
In 2000, MINATOM announced plans to import 20,000 tons of spent reactor fuel for reprocessing at the Mayak facility, yielding Russia an estimated 421 billion over 10 years {ACR 612e3FIS01 11.4.01}. In 2001, Russia passed legislation approving the import of spent fuel for reprocessing in Russia {ACR 12e3FIS01 6.6; 11.7}. The first shipment of spent fuel was received from Bulgaria in November 2001 {ACR 612e3 9.11.01}. The United States may consider allowing Russia to process US-origin spent fuel {ACR 612e3FIS02 5.7}.
A US-Russian agreement on US funding for reprocessing spent fuel from Russian SSBNs was underway in 1999, supporting ongoing START I treaty implementation under Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) programs [see below] {ACR 612b1FIS99 9.8}. With additional assistance from Norway through the Arctic Military Environmental Cooperation program (AMEC), these plans called for construction of new storage and transport casks for the transport of the fuel to the Mayak facility {26.10.99}. In line with a commitment made by Japan, Germany, and the United States at the G-8 summit in Cologne, Japan was also studying ways of disposing Russian spent naval fuel {ACR 612b1FIS 10.99}. In August 2000, the United States and Russia agreed to expand cooperation on the dismantling and storage of reactor fuel from dismantled Russian nuclear submarines {ACR 612e3FIS00 31.8}. By late 2002, Russia had decommissioned 190 nuclear submarines and dismantled 68 of them {ACR 612e3FIS02 23.9}.

HEU Agreements . On 14 January 1994, the United States and Russia signed a bilateral agreement that would permit Russia to receive about $12 bn by selling low-enriched uranium (LEU) diluted from 500 metric tons of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) to the United States for 20 years {ACR 611e3ST194 14.1}. A new HEU contract {ACR 612b1FIS 23.11.96; 18.12.96} was reached after trouble with, and continuing negotiations over, the original agreement {ACR 612b1FIS 16.1.96, 29 - 30.6.95; 6.8.96}.
The agreement was bogged down in 1998 and 1999 in differences over interpretation of the agreement and low uranium prices {ACR 612b1FIS98 24.7}. In September 1998, the two countries agreed on certain steps to facilitate the implementation of the deal {ACR 612b1FIS98 22.9}. This agreement was formalized in March 1999 with the signing of a government-to-government agreement. Late in 1999, DOE and the US Enrichment Corporation (USEC), the US entity responsible for purchasing the Russian blended-down HEU and converting it into nuclear fuel for commercial use, sorted out differences over prices {ACR 612b1FIS99 30.10, 1.12}. By late 2000, 100 tons of Russian HEU had been converted for use in reactors {ACR 612e3 3.10.00}. By March 2001, the program was running 40 percent ahead of schedule and by September, the USEC had converted 125 tons of HEU {ACR 612e3FIS01 28.3; 26.9}, although the incoming Bush administration began a review of the program {ACR 612e3FIS01 18.1}. In 2002, the two sides approved new terms to cover the remaining 12 years of the program {ACR 612e3FIS02 19.6}.
With brokering by US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, German-Russian cooperation in the commercial disposition of military HEU was also being pursued in 1999. German and Russian fuel fabrication companies concluded commercial agreements with German, Swedish, and Swiss utility companies {ACR 612b1FIS box 1.7.99, 8.9.99}, followed by additional agreements with Canadian and French fuel fabrication companies to purchase the equivalent of 260 million pounds of HEU over the next 15 years {ACR 612b1FIS99 26.3}. In April 2000, Russia and Japan concluded an agreement for Japanese use of Russian LEU, blended down from HEU dismantled Russian warheads {ACR 612e3FIS00 12.4.}. In 2003 US DOE Secretary Spencer Abraham summarized US accomplishments in fissile material disposition, including completion of a campaign in which 38 reactors using US-origin HEU in 22 countries converted to LEU {ACR 612e3FIS03 19.9}. In 2004 the repatriation of Russian-origin HEU from Uzbekistan was successful. The HEU was sent to a facility near Dmitrovgrad, where it underwent a down-blending process to become LEU {ACR 612e2FIS04 13.9}.

Material Protection, Control, and Accounting (MPC&A) . The United States and Russia have fostered a series of separate but related programs to increase security around facilities with HEU and plutonium holdings (Material Protection); rationalize the management of Russian fissile materials (Material Control); and create accurate databases that would represent the true locations and quantities of Russian holdings (Material Accounting). Established in 1994, the MPC&A program has expanded to 77 projects and a FY99 budget of $137 mn {ACR 612b1FIS 16.9.99}. Most of the money was intended to supply Russian facilities with devices that could reduce the potential for theft of weapons-grade material, including security cameras, tamper-proof seals, and portal detectors [for specific examples, see ACR 612b1FIS99 box 30.9]. In March 1999, the DOE announced that to date we have completed security upgrades for over 30 metric tons of weapons usable nuclear materials. [By 2000]...we expect to bring an addition 20 tons under control. And by the end of 2000, we expect that number to double for a total of 100 tons {ACR 612b1FIS99 3.3}. In July 1999, the US National Academy of Sciences recommended that funds be increased to create a new materials accounting system and provide additional security to non-weaponized nuclear material, which was more dispersed than originally thought by US officials {ACR 612b1FIS99 18.7}. In 2000, the US GAO concluded that the program had achieved only “limited progress” {ACR 612e3FIS00 March}. The first MPC&A technical center opened in Novosibirsk in 2000 {ACR 612e3FIS00 4.4}. In 2001, Russian scientists detected a flaw in the US-supplied software for monitoring weapons-grade nuclear materials {ACR 612e3FIS01 11.7}. A late 2001 review led to a decision to expand the program {ACR 612e3FIS02 10.1}.
During 1999, The United States and Russia completed the installation of security systems on Russian Navy Ship PM-63, a submarine service vessel that holds and supplies fresh fuel for SSBNs and SSNs in the Russian Navy {ACR 612b1FIS99 16.9}. In September, Russian officials granted the US future access to sensitive submarine bases to expand security upgrades {ACR 612b1FIS box 30.9.99}. In November, a new nuclear weapons security assessment and training center was opened to serve as the central site for testing security technologies, equipment, and procedures {ACR 612b1FIS 1.11.99}. In 2001, DOE and MINATOM reached agreement on granting US experts access to Russian nuclear cities. The agreement awaits approval by the Russian government {ACR 612e3 27.12.01}.


Cooperative Threat Reduction : Started in 1991 with the aim of providing assistance to eligible states of the former Soviet Union (FSU) in order to dismantle WMD and to reduce the threat of proliferation, this program has provided assistance to Belarus, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine. Cooperation with Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan was renewed in 1999 {26.5.99; 31.5.99; ACR 612b1FIS99 15 - 16.6, 31.7}. Early in 2001, an independent commission called for a large increase in US CTR funding for efforts in Russia {ACR 612e3 10.1.01}. The Bush administration, however, began a review of the program and planned funding cuts for the program and be {ACR 612e3FIS 15.3; 29.3}. By the end of the year, however, the administration came around to the view that the program worked well and was well managed. Accordingly, the administration decided to continue with the program {ACR 612e3FIS01 27.12}. The administration decided in 2002 to seek increased funding for the program {ACR 612e3FIS02 8.1}.
According to the US Defense Department, the program's main objectives are:

  • Accelerating the elimination of Russian missiles, bombers, submarines, a land-based missile launchers to assist Russia in meeting Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty requirements [see ACR section 611]
  • Enhancing the safety security, control, and accounting of nuclear warheads in transport and at all of Russia's nuclear weapon storage sites
  • Ending Russia's production of weapons-grade plutonium
  • Constructing a facility for the storage of nuclear material for up to 12,500 dismantled nuclear warheads
  • Assisting Russia to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention by dismantling former chemical weapons production facilities and helping to destroy chemical weapons [see ACR section 704].
US-Kazakhstan efforts involved the securing and safe disposition of spent fuel in a reactor near the Iranian border, which posed a proliferation risk because of the plutonium content in the waste {19.12.99}. The project was completed in mid-2001, by sealing the material in steel canisters. The canisters would be eventually transferred to a permanent storage facility {ACR 612e3FIS01 12.7}.

Expanded Threat Reduction Initiative (ETRI) . Together with various nonproliferation initiatives under the US DOE and State Department, this program has updated the original CTR objectives and has expanded the funding for most of the above US-Russian projects.

G-8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction . At its Kananaskis, Canada, summit on 27 June 2002, the G-8 decided to establish the partnership with a $20 billion fund, to support projects, initially in Russia, to address nonproliferation, disarmament, nuclear safety, and counter-terrorism {ACR 612e3FIS02 27.6}. In June 2003 at its summit in Evian, France, the G-8 discussed its many achievements, including the recent conclusion of the Multilateral Nuclear Environment Program for the Russian Federation. The summit reaffirmed a commitment to the $20 bn fund established at Kananaskis in 2002 {ACR 612e3FIS03 3.6}.


In March 1997, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Russia, Switzerland, and the United States met under the aegis of the IAEA in Vienna and reached an agreement in principle to increase transparency on holdings and transfers of plutonium. The agreement was signed at the end of 1997. Similarly, in June 1999, the G-8 countries ( Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United States) issued a joint communiqué after their summit in Cologne, Germany, stressing the importance of safe fissile materials management.

Algeria wanted the treaty to include existing stockpiles {18.1 - 26.3.99}.

Australia has called for an international convention barring the manufacture of weapon-grade fissile material {24.9.96; 20.1.97}. A treaty officially remains among Australia’s “highest priorities.” {Peace and Disarmament News 11.97}

Brazil has suggested that committee discussions on the scope of the treaty could deal with the question of existing stockpiles. It has called for talks within a nuclear disarmament committee {20.1.97; 17.4.97; 11.5 - 26.6.98}.

Britain ended its HEU production for weapons in 1963, in part because it could obtain the material from the United States. On 18 April 1995, Britain announced an end to fissile material production {18.4.95}. It gives mild support to a treaty, hesitating because it has concerns about intrusiveness {20 - 21.4.94; 20.1.97}. The British Strategic Defense Review of 1998 for the first time made public Britain’s holdings of fissile materials {8.7.98}. Along with France and the United States, Britain has also advocated the establishment of a permanent ad hoc committee that would convene until it completed its mandate, regardless of whether the CD completed a work program {10.5 - 25.6.99}.

Canada has made statements in support of a treaty {20.1.97}. It has proposed that, pending the conclusion of the fissban, the NWS should be urged to commit themselves to forever cease production of fissile material for weapons, to reduce their fissile material stockpiles and place more of them under IAEA safeguards {5.97}.
In 1999, Canada argued that it did not want stockpiles included in the treaty but asserted it will be vital that in parallel with its negotiation, all states with stockpiles engage in measures (national, bilateral, multilateral) to enhance transparency and to reduce those stockpiles irreversibly. Canada also asserted that countries possessing stockpiles should make formal moratorium commitments, beginning with the NWS {18.1 - 26.3.99}.
In its own national policies, Canada has advocated that its domestic power industry utilize Mixed-Oxide (MOX) fuel pellets that have been made partly from the plutonium of dismantled US and Russian warheads. The government has defended this measure as a safe contribution to arms reductions in the face of strong domestic environmental opposition, saying there was no technical, health or safety problems foreseen with this concept. {ACR box 1.6.99}.

China reportedly ended its HEU production for weapons in 1987. Off-the-record comments by Chinese officials indicated plutonium production for weapons has been stopped as well. {Lisbeth Gronlund and David Wright, Beyond Safeguards, Union of Concerned Scientists 5.94}. China objected to a cutoff in 1994, to avoid becoming frozen in permanent inferiority to the United States and Russia in fissile materials stockpiles {20 - 21.4.94}, but agreed to work with the United States to achieve a global non-discriminatory cutoff {4.10.94}. China further moderated its position in favor of a cutoff in 1996 {9.10.96}. In October 1997, it agreed with the United States to pursue cutoff negotiations in the CD {29.10.97}. However, in 1999, it questioned the fissban’s importance, saying there were other issues of much higher priority, such as missile defense, NATO expansion, and NATO strikes against Yugoslavia {10 - 21.5.99}. Throughout 1999 and into 2000, China was blocking all proposals in the CD that did not give equal importance to the subject of prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS) {10.5 - 25.6.99; 27.7 - 7.9.99}, and in 2000 it circulated a detailed working paper on this position {ACR 805dCD00 9.2}. In 2001–2004, China continued to oppose negotiations on fissban without simultaneous commencement of negotiations on PAROS.

Egypt has called for a treaty negotiated by the CD's nuclear disarmament committee {20.1.97; 11.5 - 26.6.98}. In 1999, it said that the fissban must not allow de jury or de facto recognition or acceptance for the possession of nuclear weapons by any states non-member of the NPT. It also held that the treaty must not imply acceptance of indefinite possession of nuclear weapons by the legal nuclear weapon states.
Egypt had argued for a fissban with a broad scope, covering all fissile materials potentially usable in the manufacturing of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices across the world, including the military stocks possessed by all states on an equal footing. The treaty should cover all fissile material production and storage facilities as well {18.1 - 26.3.99}. Egypt continued to call for an ad hoc committee on fissban in 2001 {21.1 - 27.3 01}.

France ended plutonium production for military purposes in 1992 and has since closed down and begun dismantling both its plutonium production and its uranium enrichment facilities at Marcello and Pierrelattee {ACR box 15.9.96; 27.7 - 7.9.99}. France is hesitant about the treaty because of fears of intrusive inspections {20 - 21.4.94; 20.1.97}. Along with Britain and the United States, France has also advocated the establishment of a permanent ad hoc committee that would convene until it completed its mandate, regardless of whether the CD completed a work program {10.5 - 25.6.99}. France has expressed increasing frustration at the lack of progress on a fissban in the CD, in part because its decision to dismantle its own production capabilities would be hard to reverse. According to one expert, if the moratoria currently observed by four of the nuclear-weapon States were to collapse, Paris may find itself with an unwelcome choice: to limit its nuclear forces, sink considerable finance into building new production facilities (which might be less acceptable politically than in the past), or to use La Hague for military as well as commercial reprocessing” {10.5 - 25.6.99; 27.7 - 7.9.99}.

Germany argued for a treaty that would not create different categories of states and would have the same verification obligations for all countries, regardless of their nuclear status under the NPT or their NPT signatory status. The treaty should not cover existing stocks but should be flexible enough to deal with changing conditions, such as the reduction of current stockpiles. It added that the FMCT should not impose new burdens and costs on states already subject to an extended full-scope safeguard regime.” Germany asserted that countries with excess military fissile material should undertake measures to enhance transparency. They should also stop fissile material production, apply IAEA safeguards to excess material, and foster the irreversible reduction of such stocks {18.1.-26.3.99}. In 1998, the newly formed Social-Democratic-Green Coalition government in Germany announced major plans to phase out its reliance on nuclear power, but it has since backtracked. Germany now remains committed to an eventual phase-out, but not as a priority issue {box 1.2.99}.

India for many years sought to link the treaty to a timebound framework for nuclear disarmament, which has been one of the major stumbling blocks for moving forward in the CD talks. Indian HEU and plutonium production may be continuing at unsafeguarded facilities {454.B box 11.9.98}. India rejected a regional cutoff {20 - 21.4.94} but for a while supported a global cutoff, preferably without the inclusion of civilian stockpiles or production {7.7.95}. In 1997, India announced that it would not sign a fissban treaty {1.6.97}. However, instead of rejecting any negotiations on stockpiles, India later argued that negotiations must be within the framework of a commitment to the total elimination of nuclear weapons {9.9.97; DD 7 - 8.97}. After its nuclear tests in May 1998, India announced its willingness to join fissban negotiations without any reference to nuclear disarmament {11.5 - 26.6.98; 2.6.98}. During CD discussions in 1999, India supported the reestablishment of an ad hoc committee under the Shannon Mandate [see above], but it opposed renegotiating the Mandate in order to allow for a permanent committee status {10.5 - 25.6.99}. India feared that renegotiation would allow Pakistan to seek inclusion of its concerns about existing fissile material stockpiles, which could affect India's existing caches of HEU and weapons-grade plutonium {10.5 - 25.6.99}. India also said in late 1999 that it was opposed to a voluntary moratorium on fissile material production {28.11.99}. In 2001, India supported ad hoc committee negotiations on fissban {2.8 - 13.9.01}.

Israel , the only CD member still opposed to fissban negotiations, continues to produce plutonium at Dimona. Experts believe that Israel has used some of the material in nuclear weapons [see ACR 453e 1993]. Israel did not favor a fissile cutoff {19.9.95}. Late in 1998, Israel finally reversed its position {11.8.98}.

Italy says existing stockpiles should be left out of the fissban in order to conduct timely and successful negotiations {18.1 - 26.3.99}.

Japan called upon the NWS to declare a weapon-grade fissile material production moratorium and suggested guiding principles for the fissban {10 - 21.5.99}.

Norway contended that the treaty should be viewed as a step in the nuclear disarmament process, one that would start with banning future fissile material production {18.1 - 26.3.99}. It suggested that the fissban cover future production as envisaged by the Shannon report; excess weapon material—including irreversibility, safety and security measures, and national control, auditing, and transparency measures; HEU for non-explosive purposes and naval propulsion; and military stocks {10 - 21.5.99}.

Pakistan halted HEU production in 1991 at Kahuta {454bSAN 30.1.91, 6.2.92}, but experts believe Pakistan has used some material to make nuclear weapons [see 454eSAN 19.93]. Pakistan supports a global treaty and a regional treaty, as part of a bilateral non-proliferation regime [see 454aSAN 1994]. Pakistan agreed to a mandate without a reference to stockpiles as long as stockpiles could be addressed in the talks {14.2.95}, but Pakistan may never agree to inspections {19.9.95}. In the Second Session of the 1998 CD, Pakistan called a fissban treaty entirely irrelevant and a waste of time of the CD, and refused to consider a treaty unless it addressed existing stockpiles. This position was based on its fear of the growing Indian stockpiles of HEU and plutonium {11.5 - 26.6.98}. After its nuclear tests, Pakistan reversed its stand and agreed to join treaty negotiations {30.7.98}. Its foreign minister asserted that signing the treaty would not affect its nuclear deterrent capability {27.10.98}. Like India, Pakistan has argued that creating a permanent committee was against the CD’s rules of procedure {10.5 - 25.6.99}. On the last day of the 1999 CD session, Pakistanindicated that its support for the fissban was waning, largely due to the continuing production and refining of HEU and plutonium by India. Pakistan also opposed a multilateral moratorium on fissile material production as a first step towards a FMCT {10.5 - 25.6.99}.

Russia supports a cutoff {1.2.94} not covering stockpiles {10 - 21.5.99} and agreed in principle to place some of its stockpile under IAEA safeguards {17.9.96}. Soviet HEU production for weapon purposes ended in 1987 {Gronlund and Wright, op. cit.; 611.B 7.4.89}. Russia agreed to convert its last three production reactors {612b1FIS 15.10.96; 5 - 8.8.97; 23.9.97} and might store 40 percent of the fissile materials from its dismantled weapons under IAEA safeguards at Mayak {ACR 612b1FIS 22.5.98}. At the CD, Russia has consistently supported the establishment of an ad hoc committee to negotiate a fissban {10.5 - 25.6.99; 18.1 - 23.3.00}. In 2001, Russia tabled a proposal for breaking the deadlock in the CD, which proved fruitless {ACR 805bCD01 27.3; 17.5 - 28.6}.

South Africa said that verification arrangements should be made for facilities that have ceased producing such material or have converted to non-military-related production. It also said that the fissban should account for certain other transuranic elements from which nuclear explosive can be made, in order to ensure that the treaty truly limits states’ nuclear weapon arsenals {10 - 21.5.99}. South Africa said in 1999 that it wanted the fissban to take existing fissile material stockpiles into account so that it would be a genuine disarmament measure and not purely address non-proliferation. It also wanted the fissban to include measures that would prohibit the military use of tritium produced in civil reactors. In the last meeting of 1999, South Africa tabled a comprehensive safeguards system for verifying the existence, status, and quantity of all civilian and military nuclear materials, as well as key chemicals utilized in their production {27.7 - 7.9.99}. At the 2002 CD, South Africa presented a working paper on a proposed FMCT {ACR 612bFIS02 23.5}.

Ukraine has made a proposal to include stockpiles in fissban negotiations {15.5.97}. It has indicated that it wants the fissban to include an inspection regime that would allow both regular visits to declared sites and challenge inspections at undeclared facilities. It also favored a treaty that would encompass all uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing facilities. However, it did not want the fissban to administer additional obligations to NNWS with full scope safeguard agreements with the IAEA.

The United States ended HEU production for weapons in 1964, and drastically cut back plutonium production at that time {Gronlund and Wright, op.cit.}. In 1988, plutonium production ended. In 1992, President George Bush formally announced a unilateral US ban on the production of new plutonium and HEU stockpiles for military use {13.7.92; Reporter discussion with DOE official 21.1.98}. In 1993, US President Clinton announced his support of limits to civilian stockpiling of plutonium and use of HEU {27.9.93}. To reduce civilian use of HEU, since 1978 the United States has operated the RERTR program {612.C 19.10.99}. In 1994, the United States decided to configure its nuclear forces so that it could rapidly deploy twice the amount of strategic warheads allowed by START II. Currently, the United States plans to maintain 2,500 fully operational warheads and an additional 3,000 warheads without tritium supplies {Bukharin and Luongo, op cit.}. In 1996, a public disclosure of the US Furthermore, the United States would not accept any restrictions on existing stockpiles, contending that even the act of declaring existing stockpiles could risk legitimizing non-NPT states’ nuclear weapon programs {18.1.-26.3.99}. Along with Britain and France, the United States has also advocated the establishment of a permanent ad hoc committee that would convene until it completed its mandate, regardless of whether the CD completed a work program {10.5 - 25.6.99}. In 2000-2003, the United States maintained its opposition to formal negotiations on PAROS and nuclear disarmament, spurring China to oppose the start of fissban negotiations.
In July 2004 the USA announced that it would drop its own long-time demand for a verification provision to be included in a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, as it no longer believed effective verification was achievable {ACR 612bFIS04 29.7}.


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