Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

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Overview

The Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons is the cornerstone of the nonproliferation regime. It entered into force in 1970, and 190 states have subscribed. The treaty covers three mutually reinforcing pillars—disarmament, nonproliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy—and is the basis for international cooperation on stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. The basic bargain at the core of the NPT is sound: Countries with nuclear weapons will move towards disarmament; countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them; and all countries can access peaceful nuclear technology.

NPT 50th Anniversary

On July 1, 1968, the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons was opened for signature in three Depository state capitals: Washington, London, and Moscow. This year we mark the NPT’s 50th anniversary. The United States celebrates this important milestone and applauds the immeasurable contribution this landmark treaty has made to international security. The NPT has provided the essential foundation for international efforts to stem the looming threat – then and now – that nuclear weapons would spread across the planet.

The maintenance of a strong nonproliferation regime grounded in the NPT helped create a secure and stable security environment conducive to progress in nuclear disarmament. The NPT facilitates cooperation on peaceful uses of nuclear energy that diagnose and fight diseases, develop new crops, manage scarce water resources, and broadly apply nuclear science and technology that meet UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and to mark the occasion, we have begun an historical access project to make available documents relating to NPT history. The project includes newly declassified scenario documents and background memos leading up to the NPT’s signing in Washington as well as the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency’s in-house history of the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee. We hope to continue this effort leading up to the 2020 anniversary.

NPT Signing Documents

ACDA History of the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee

The History of the NPT in Pictures

The NPT Review Process

The Treaty allows for the Parties to gather every five years to review its operation. At the 1995 Review and Extension Conference, the Parties extended the Treaty indefinitely and formalized the practice of convening a Review Conference every five years, as well as holding Preparatory Committee meetings during each of the three years preceding a RevCon. The 2015 NPT RevCon took place at the United Nations in New York in May 2015.

The second of three Preparatory Committee meetings preparing for the 2020 RevCon was held in Geneva from April 23-May 4, 2018. The 2018 Preparatory Committee meeting focused on agreement on procedural issues related to PrepCom III and the 2020 Review Conference. States Parties laid out their national views through general statements.

In May 2017, NPT States Parties gathered at the Vienna International Centre for the 2017 Preparatory Committee under Chair-designate Ambassador Henk Cor Van der Kwast of the Netherlands. All documents and statements are available at the U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna website.