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Nuclear proliferation

From dKosopedia

Nuclear proliferation is the spread from nation to nation of nuclear weapons, which is made possible through the development of nuclear power plants and related technologies.

The primary focus of anti-proliferation efforts is to maintain control over the specialized materials necessary to build such devices because, this is the most difficult and expensive part of a nuclear weapons programme. (In the Manhattan Project, 90% of the budget was dedicated to isotope separation and enrichment.) The main materials whose generation and distribution is controlled are highly enriched uranium and plutonium. The scientific and technical means for weapons development, although non-trivial, are generally available in order to develop rudimentary, but working nuclear devices. (The Nth Country Experiment is an excellent example of this.)

The International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) safeguards system under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1968 has been an international success. It has involved cooperation in developing nuclear energy while ensuring that civil uranium, plutonium and associated plants are used only for peaceful purposes and do not contribute in any way to proliferation or nuclear weapons programmes. In 1995 the NPT was extended indefinitely.

Most countries have renounced nuclear weapons, recognising that possession of them would threaten rather than enhance national security. They have therefore embraced the NPT as a public commitment to use nuclear materials and technology only for peaceful purposes.



External links

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This page was last modified 19:47, 31 January 2007 by dKosopedia user Corncam. Based on work by dKosopedia user(s) BartFraden and Lestatdelc. Content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

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