That same year, after seeing the results of the destruction left behind in Japan, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom called for and brought about the creation of a U.N Atomic Energy Commission (UNAEC) for the purpose of, “entirely eliminating the use of atomic energy for destructive purposes.” (NPT Background) The next year, the United States proposed to the UNAEC the a plan written by Bernard Baruch. This plan, known as the Baruch Plan, proposed to promote the peaceful use of nuclear technology, prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, eliminate all arsenals of nuclear weapons, and implement safeguards by means of effective regulation by creating the International Atomic Development Authority (IADA). In theory, the IADA would have had managerial control or ownership over, “all atomic energy activities potentially dangerous to world security” as well as the, “power to control, inspect, and license all other atomic activities.” (Baruch)
Unfortunately, due to growing Cold War tensions, this plan was dismissed and soon an arms race broke out between the USSR and the United States. The stockpiling of nuclear weapons between these two countries led other countries to pursue nuclear weapons to protect themselves; in the span of 1952 to 1964 the United Kingdom, France, and China had joined the pack of nuclear states.
On top of the proliferation of these five countries, advances in nuclear energy further underscored the threat of nuclear proliferation and the need for nuclear safeguards. As a result, in 1957, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was formed by 81 nations, “to facilitate the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, while ensuring that the assistance the Agency provides will not be used for military purposes.” (NPT Chronology) Soon after, on the initiative of Ireland, the UN General Assembly adopted resolutions 1380 and 1576 in 1959 and 1960 respectively with the overall goal of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.4 These two resolutions mark the beginning of a series of resolutions and treaty drafts culminating in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
In the following series, we are going to explore the layout of the NPT, from the text of the treaty to it’s bi-decade review conferences and other protocols; discuss which challenges it faces in the modern era; and see if there are any improvements or additions that can be made to the NPT to make it the most effective it can be in the modern era.
"Baruch Plan." Atomicarchive.com: Exploring the History, Science, and Consequences of the Atomic Bomb. Atomic Archive, n.d. Web. 23 July 2013.
Burger, Terry W. "Fat Man And Little Boy." America in WWII. America in WWII, Aug. 2005. Web. 20 July 2013.
"NPT Background." The Nuclear Information Project. Federation of American Scientists, n.d. Web. 25 July 2013.
"NPT Chronology." The Nuclear Information Project. Federation of American Scientists, n.d. Web. 23 July 2013.