The Non-Proliferation Treaty

Foundation of disarmament policy

Authored by: Mark P. Hilborne

Handbook of Nuclear Proliferation

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  February  2012

Print ISBN: 9781857436044
eBook ISBN: 9780203840849
Adobe ISBN:


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The 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) has been the cornerstone of efforts to curb the proliferation of nuclear weapons since its inception. As such the NPT sits at the centre of the non-proliferation regime and its interconnected arrangements of international treaties, institutions, export controls, nuclear trade agreements, and norms of international nuclear behaviour. The treaty receives the widest support of any arms control or disarmament treaty, with near universal acceptance; it has 189 state signatories, and all but five of those have signed as non-nuclear weapons states. This near universal consensus has conferred a great deal of moral authority on the treaty, and has established a strong norm against the acquisition of nuclear weapons. The treaty also acts as a significant legal barrier to proliferation, and a confidence-building instrument underpinning global and national security.

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