In depth

Finding out more

About nuclear armament

On this occasion we offer three types of materials that we feel may be of use in learning more about subjects related to nuclear armament.

First, a map with the member countries of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), distinguishing between those possessing nuclear weapons and those that do not. It also shows the four states (North Korea, Pakistan and Israel) that are not members of the treaty.

Map with the member countries of the NPT possessing nuclear weapons

Second, a collection of resources - books, websites and organisations - which analyse nuclear weapons.

Finally, for the first time in Catalan, we offer the complete text of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). 


Perry, J. William, Scowcroft Brent & Charles D. Furgusen. U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy. Council on Foreign Relations, Independent Task Force Report. No. 62, USA 2009

The Council on Foreign Relations is a think tank - an independent non-party organisation which is also a publisher, which aims to inform citizens of the state of the global system and the foreign policy options of the United States and other countries. The Council sponsors the Independent Task Forces, which include members of civil society and government representatives, among other members. These Task Forces are designed to focus public debate on foreign policy issues.

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy is a report by the Independent Task Force which makes recommendations for US policy and assesses the current state of nuclear weapons in the post-Cold War world. The main focus of the report is how to eliminate nuclear weapons, and sets out an agenda which is the responsibility of the Obama Administration. This agenda is based on the need to establish preventive programmes in order to reduce and protect existing nuclear arsenals, and prevent the creation of new arsenals to ensure that even in a hostile geopolitical atmosphere, nuclear weapons will never be used. According to the report, the Obama Administration must assume a position of leadership by ensuring that steps to reduce the danger of nuclear proliferation are taken in the next four years. The chapters of the Report are: The Need for a New Policy Assessment (Chapter 1); The New Security Environment (Chapter 2); US-Russia Relations (Chapter 3); US-China Relations (Chapter 4); Preventing Proliferation (Chapter 5); Security Practices and the Future of the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex (Chapter 6) and a series of recommendations and proposals for US policy. These recommendations include measures to move towards the achievement of important objectives: preventing nuclear terrorism and reinforcing a nuclear non-proliferation regime.

Dokos, P. Thanos. Countering the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction: NATO and EU options in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. London: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2008.

According to Dokos, the most significant geostrategic phenomenon of the post-cold war period is the acquisition of dangerous weapon manufacturing capabilities by developing states in the South. These states have increased their arsenals in response to regional conflicts, military aid from the superpowers, and a shared belief that military power confers some degree of status within the international system. In the post-war world, developing states have become regional powers and have ambitions which often bring them into conflict with developed states. For these developing states, obtaining a Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) means that they have achieved regional power status, and can thereby challenge the domination of the international system by Northern states. Regional instability has led to nuclear use, development and proliferation becoming a very important issue on the strategic agendas of developing states. In June 1994, NATO considered this problem with its document "Policy Framework on Weapons of Mass Destruction", which since then has been included in all the alliance documents published by the organisation, and the EU has also made non-proliferation a key issue, as shown by the documents "European Security Strategy" and "EU Strategy Against Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction" (2003). Weapons of mass destruction have also been a central issue in US national security policy. Dokos agrees that actions against proliferation need to be considered carefully, and feels that they will continue to play an important role in this century. This book, which is based on existing literature, is an assessment of the threat that weapons of mass destruction pose to Western security. It does so from various perspectives, which are explored in detail in all the chapters. These are: The emerging security environment in the Mediterranean and the Middle East (Chapter 1); Recent developments in arms control and non-proliferation (Chapter 2); Assessing the proliferation threat (Chapter 3); WMD terrorism (Chapter 4); WMD capabilities of selected countries in the Mediterranean and Middle East (Chapter 5); WMD proliferation: threats and challenges to Western security and NATO's response (Chapter 6); Basic principles of US counter-proliferation strategy (Chapter 7) and the EU's response to WMD proliferation (Chapter 8).

Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, final report, Weapons of Terror: Freeing the World of Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Arms, Stockholm, Sweden, 1 june 2006

Weapons of mass destruction commission

The Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission is an organisation that is mainly financed by the Swedish government. It is a response to the need to create an independent international committee dedicated to non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament of weapons of mass destruction. The Commission's final report, 'Weapons of Terror: Freeing the World of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Arms' (2006) follows on from the tradition of the other three reports financed by the Swedish government in the same area: Common Security (Sweden, 1982), the Report of the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapon (Australia, 1996) and the Report of the Tokyo Forum for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (Japan, 1998). The latest report looks at the current state of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, and is a practical agenda for the prevention of proliferation and the promotion of global disarmament of weapons of mass destruction. It does so by emphasising the need for a cooperative approach to collective security, while stressing the important role played by the United States in defining the actions to be taken. The report covers two main questions: Why action is necessary and What must be done. The chapters include: Reviving disarmament (Chapter 1); Weapons of terror: threats and responses (Chapter 2); Nuclear, biological and chemical weapons (Chapters 3, 4 and 5); Delivery means, missile defences, and weapons in space (Chapter 6); Export controls, international assistance, and non-governmental actors (Chapter 7); Compliance, verification, enforcement and the role of the United Nations (Chapter 8), followed by a series of recommendations by the Commission and an overview of its work since it was founded in 2003. This is all done with the ultimate objective of "Working towards the outlawing of all weapons of mass destruction once and for all".

Allison T. Graham, Coté R. Owen, Flakenrathe A. Richard, & Steven E. Miller. Avoiding Nuclear Anarchy: Containing the Threat of Loose Russian Nuclear Weapons and Fissile Material. CSIA Studies in Intrenational Security No. 12. The MIT Press. Cambridge, Massachusettes, 1996

This book analyses the potential consequences of 'nuclear leakage' and the proliferation of weapons in the ex-Soviet Union could have for US national security. The authors say that while the threat of nuclear weapons being sold on the international black market and/or smuggled by a "rogue state" or a terrorist group is high, the United States has no reliable defence mechanism against these dangers. Based on information from government officials in both the west and the ex-Soviet Union, the book lists these new nuclear threats and sets out how US national policy must be redefined to deal with them. The study has three objectives: a) to draw attention to the most serious direct threat to US interests: nuclear leakage; b) to define the threat of nuclear leakage in detail, considering the potential consequences, in order to guide US foreign policy towards preventing this threat from becoming a reality; and c) to deal with this threat as a priority in order to resolve it as a matter of urgency, which requires cooperation with the Russian government (which has been lacking, according to the authors). These objectives are considered in the four chapters of the book. These are: Risks of nuclear leakage (Chapter 1) Stakes: nuclear leakage as a threat to the interests of the USA (Chapter 2); Response: inadequacies of American policy (Chapter 3); The Challenge: A Response Commensurate With The Stakes (Chapter 4). According to authors, the threat of a nuclear weapon exploding in the USA, Russia, Europe or the Middle East has increased since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The biggest challenge associated with the Soviet nuclear legacy is therefore to enhance security and protection from nuclear weapons and nuclear materials located in Russia, in order to prevent nuclear weapons from falling into new hands.

Allison T. Graham, Carnesale Albert, Joseph S. Nye Jr (editors) Hawks, Doves & Owls : An Agenda for Avoiding Nuclear War. W. W. Norton & Company. London, 1985

This book is a good example of how the possibility of nuclear war was considered during the Cold War. It can be used as a reference work for examining the geopolitical climate of the 1980s, when the end of the Cold War was not foreseeable in the near future. The book was written for policymakers, citizens, nuclear weapons and international security experts, and students. The book is a continuation of Living with Nuclear Weapons (1983) and aims to engage the reader in the debate on "the most important issue of our time: How to prevent a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union?" It does so by examining the acquisition of nuclear weapons, use and no-use policies, diplomatic initiatives and arms control, and their effects on the likelihood of nuclear war. According to the authors, the main objective of the USA should be to protect and defend American values and interests while avoiding a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. While the "construction/destruction" of weapons is what receives most attention, the authors highlight the key role played by other areas when assessing the likelihood of war. These include errors made by machines, individuals and organisations, all of which received little attention within the debate on nuclear war. The aim of Hawks, Doves and Owls is to create a conceptual structure to assess the risks of nuclear war, and to identify actions that reduce the likelihood of it occurring. The book is divided into 3 sections: The shape of the problem; Paths to nuclear war; and Conclusions, including an "Agenda for Action"".

Carnesdale, Albert, Doty, Paul, and Stanley Hoffman et al. Living with Nuclear Weapons. The Harvard Nuclear Study Group. Harvard University Press. London. 1983

This book was written by six Harvard scholars working together to give various perspectives on nuclear issues. It is a valuable document as it can be taken as an analysis of the prevailing trends on nuclear weapons in the early 1980s. The book is designed to present all the perspectives of the nuclear debate and engage the reader, by considering that the international community faces the "nuclear dilemma". The central subject is: "Can mankind continue to live with nuclear weapons?" It tries to answer this question by examining the history of nuclear arsenals and contemporary weapons; it highlights the potential scenarios that could lead to a nuclear war; it analyses the measures that could be considered to promote arms control and disarmament; it studies the dangers of nuclear proliferation; it analyses nuclear strategies; and does all the above with a view to generating informed public opinion and encouraging people to become aware of nuclear weapons. The authors believe that individual thought and the development of personal beliefs are necessary for a mobilisation of civil society on nuclear issues, and at a time when the media are responsible for disseminating news, institutions like universities must assume their responsibility for providing the public with an objective and non-partisan perspective on global affairs. This must be done by giving civil society a participative role in political decision-making. Living with Nuclear Weapons is written in response to this need, and is divided into three sections: The nuclear paradox; the current situation; and what can be done? It is written in a clear and concise language to be accessible to all types of readers.


The Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy 

This institute has been working since 1995 to promote effective approaches to international security, disarmament and arms control. The Acronym Institute engages with governments and civil society, providing information, analysis and strategic thought on a wide range of issues relating to peace and security, with particular emphasis on multilateral treaties and initiatives.

The Acronym Institute works with policymakers and non-governmental organisations to promote non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament, disseminate information and maximise opportunities for negotiation in all possible forums. When arms control measures are blocked, as is currently the case with the ratification of the treaty and proposed ban on production of fissionable materials, the Acronym Institute works to foster a constructive dialogue and alternative approaches.

The Acronym Institute aims to:

  • Provide highly reliable information, undertake high quality monitoring of negotiations at the UN, the Disarmament Conference, and the NPT review process. Its publications include the ACRONYM Reports on the CTBT negotiations and the NPT review process. The Acronym Institute Blog provides coverage and commentary on key international conferences.
  • Promote other ratifications and the full application of arms control treaties;
  • Foster dialogue between states with nuclear weapons and identify specific actions to make progress in transparency, arms control and confidence building measures, focusing on unilateral initiatives, joint agreements and declarations, and multilateral negotiations;
  • Exchange information on weapons and issues related with non-proliferation between diplomats, parliamentarians and civil servants, with a view to more effective participation, especially in states located in regions with high tension or a risk of proliferation.

United Nations Office for Disarmament 

The Office for Disarmament was established in 1998 as part of the Secretary General's programme for UN reform. Subsequently, in 2007, it became the United Nations Office for Disarmament (UNODA).

The Office works towards the objective of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and the strengthening of the various disarmament regimes. It also promotes disarmament work in the sphere of conventional weapons.

UNODA provides material and organisational support for the General Assembly and its First Committee, the Disarmament Commission, the Conference on Disarmament and other bodies related to disarmament at the United Nations.

UNODA supports the development and application of disarmament measures after conflict, such as disarming and demobilising ex-combatants and helping them to reintegrate into civil society. It also publishes various publications:

  • The United Nations Disarmament Yearbook
    A source rich in historical details of the developments, trends and milestones achieved in multilateral disarmament over more than thirty years. The first part contains an annual compilation of texts and statistics of the resolutions and decisions on disarmament taken by the General Assembly. The second part presents the main areas from a multilateral perspective over the year and a timeline of the subjects covered. Available on the UNODA website.
  • UNODA Update
    A quarterly electronic bulletin that provides important information on disarmament as well as on the activities of the UNODA. Available on the UNODA website.
  • ODA Occasional Papers
    A biannual publication with presentations made at international events, symposiums, seminars and workshops organised by the UNODA or its regional offices in Lima, Lomé and Kathmandu. Available on the UNODA website.
  • UNODA website.
    A comprehensive website on all issues related to disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control, including a database with a search engine for resolutions on disarmament and decisions dating back to the fifty-second session (1997); a United Nations register of conventional weapons; databases with the text and status of treaties; educational resources; etc...

Material produced by Hannah Mccurdy


Signed at Washington, London, and Moscow July 1, 1968
Ratification advised by U.S. Senate March 13, 1969
Ratified by U.S. President November 24, 1969
U.S. ratification deposited at Washington, London, and Moscow March 5, 1970
Proclaimed by U.S. President March 5, 1970
Entered into force March 5, 1970

The States concluding this Treaty, hereinafter referred to as the "Parties to the Treaty",
Considering the devastation that would be visited upon all mankind by a nuclear war and the consequent need to make every effort to avert the danger of such a war and to take measures to safeguard the security of peoples,
Believing that the proliferation of nuclear weapons would seriously enhance the danger of nuclear war,
In conformity with resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly calling for the conclusion of an agreement on the prevention of wider dissemination of nuclear weapons,
Undertaking to cooperate in facilitating the application of International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards on peaceful nuclear activities,
Expressing their support for research, development and other efforts to further the application, within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards system, of the principle of safeguarding effectively the flow of source and special fissionable materials by use of instruments and other techniques at certain strategic points,
Affirming the principle that the benefits of peaceful applications of nuclear technology, including any technological by-products which may be derived by nuclear-weapon States from the development of nuclear explosive devices, should be available for peaceful purposes to all Parties of the Treaty, whether nuclear-weapon or non-nuclear weapon States,
Convinced that, in furtherance of this principle, all Parties to the Treaty are entitled to participate in the fullest possible exchange of scientific information for, and to contribute alone or in cooperation with other States to, the further development of the applications of atomic energy for peaceful purposes,
Declaring their intention to achieve at the earliest possible date the cessation of the nuclear arms race and to undertake effective measures in the direction of nuclear disarmament,
Urging the cooperation of all States in the attainment of this objective,
Recalling the determination expressed by the Parties to the 1963 Treaty banning nuclear weapon tests in the atmosphere, in outer space and under water in its Preamble to seek to achieve the discontinuance of all test explosions of nuclear weapons for all time and to continue negotiations to this end,
Desiring to further the easing of international tension and the strengthening of trust between States in order to facilitate the cessation of the manufacture of nuclear weapons, the liquidation of all their existing stockpiles, and the elimination from national arsenals of nuclear weapons and the means of their delivery pursuant to a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control,
Recalling that, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, States must refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations, and that the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security are to be promoted with the least diversion for armaments of the worlds human and economic resources,
Have agreed as follows:


Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices.


Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices; and not to seek or receive any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.


  1. Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes to accept safeguards, as set forth in an agreement to be negotiated and concluded with the International Atomic Energy Agency in accordance with the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Agencys safeguards system, for the exclusive purpose of verification of the fulfillment of its obligations assumed under this Treaty with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. Procedures for the safeguards required by this article shall be followed with respect to source or special fissionable material whether it is being produced, processed or used in any principal nuclear facility or is outside any such facility. The safeguards required by this article shall be applied to all source or special fissionable material in all peaceful nuclear activities within the territory of such State, under its jurisdiction, or carried out under its control anywhere.
  2. Each State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to provide:
    • source or special fissionable material, or
    • equipment or material especially designed or prepared for the processing, use or production of special fissionable material, to any non-nuclear-weapon State for peaceful purposes, unless the source or special fissionable material shall be subject to the safeguards required by this article.
  3. The safeguards required by this article shall be implemented in a manner designed to comply with article IV of this Treaty, and to avoid hampering the economic or technological development of the Parties or international cooperation in the field of peaceful nuclear activities, including the international exchange of nuclear material and equipment for the processing, use or production of nuclear material for peaceful purposes in accordance with the provisions of this article and the principle of safeguarding set forth in the Preamble of the Treaty.
  4. Non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty shall conclude agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency to meet the requirements of this article either individually or together with other States in accordance with the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Negotiation of such agreements shall commence within 180 days from the original entry into force of this Treaty. For States depositing their instruments of ratification or accession after the 180-day period, negotiation of such agreements shall commence not later than the date of such deposit. Such agreements shall enter into force not later than eighteen months after the date of initiation of negotiations.


  1. Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with articles I and II of this Treaty.
  2. All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do so shall also cooperate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world.


Each party to the Treaty undertakes to take appropriate measures to ensure that, in accordance with this Treaty, under appropriate international observation and through appropriate international procedures, potential benefits from any peaceful applications of nuclear explosions will be made available to non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty on a nondiscriminatory basis and that the charge to such Parties for the explosive devices used will be as low as possible and exclude any charge for research and development. Non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty shall be able to obtain such benefits, pursuant to a special international agreement or agreements, through an appropriate international body with adequate representation of non-nuclear-weapon States. Negotiations on this subject shall commence as soon as possible after the Treaty enters into force. Non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty so desiring may also obtain such benefits pursuant to bilateral agreements.


Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.


Nothing in this Treaty affects the right of any group of States to conclude regional treaties in order to assure the total absence of nuclear weapons in their respective territories.


  1. Any Party to the Treaty may propose amendments to this Treaty. The text of any proposed amendment shall be submitted to the Depositary Governments which shall circulate it to all Parties to the Treaty. Thereupon, if requested to do so by one-third or more of the Parties to the Treaty, the Depositary Governments shall convene a conference, to which they shall invite all the Parties to the Treaty, to consider such an amendment.
  2. Any amendment to this Treaty must be approved by a majority of the votes of all the Parties to the Treaty, including the votes of all nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty and all other Parties which, on the date the amendment is circulated, are members of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The amendment shall enter into force for each Party that deposits its instrument of ratification of the amendment upon the deposit of such instruments of ratification by a majority of all the Parties, including the instruments of ratification of all nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty and all other Parties which, on the date the amendment is circulated, are members of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Thereafter, it shall enter into force for any other Party upon the deposit of its instrument of ratification of the amendment.
  3. Five years after the entry into force of this Treaty, a conference of Parties to the Treaty shall be held in Geneva, Switzerland, in order to review the operation of this Treaty with a view to assuring that the purposes of the Preamble and the provisions of the Treaty are being realized. At intervals of five years thereafter, a majority of the Parties to the Treaty may obtain, by submitting a proposal to this effect to the Depositary Governments, the convening of further conferences with the same objective of reviewing the operation of the Treaty.


  1. This Treaty shall be open to all States for signature. Any State which does not sign the Treaty before its entry into force in accordance with paragraph 3 of this article may accede to it at any time.
  2. This Treaty shall be subject to ratification by signatory States. Instruments of ratification and instruments of accession shall be deposited with the Governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which are hereby designated the Depositary Governments.
  3. This Treaty shall enter into force after its ratification by the States, the Governments of which are designated Depositaries of the Treaty, and forty other States signatory to this Treaty and the deposit of their instruments of ratification. For the purposes of this Treaty, a nuclear-weapon State is one which has manufactured and exploded a nuclear weapon or other nuclear explosive device prior to January 1, 1967.
  4. For States whose instruments of ratification or accession are deposited subsequent to the entry into force of this Treaty, it shall enter into force on the date of the deposit of their instruments of ratification or accession.
  5. The Depositary Governments shall promptly inform all signatory and acceding States of the date of each signature, the date of deposit of each instrument of ratification or of accession, the date of the entry into force of this Treaty, and the date of receipt of any requests for convening a conference or other notices.
  6. This Treaty shall be registered by the Depositary Governments pursuant to article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations.


  1. Each Party shall in exercising its national sovereignty have the right to withdraw from the Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country. It shall give notice of such withdrawal to all other Parties to the Treaty and to the United Nations Security Council three months in advance. Such notice shall include a statement of the extraordinary events it regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests.
  2. Twenty-five years after the entry into force of the Treaty, a conference shall be convened to decide whether the Treaty shall continue in force indefinitely, or shall be extended for an additional fixed period or periods. This decision shall be taken by a majority of the Parties to the Treaty.


This Treaty, the English, Russian, French, Spanish and Chinese texts of which are equally authentic, shall be deposited in the archives of the Depositary Governments. Duly certified copies of this Treaty shall be transmitted by the Depositary Governments to the Governments of the signatory and acceding States.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned, duly authorized, have signed this Treaty.

DONE in triplicate, at the cities of Washington, London and Moscow, this first day of July one thousand nine hundred sixty-eight.