Nonproliferation Treaty and Peaceful Application of Nuclear Explosion

15 Pages Posted: 30 May 2009

See all articles by Robert D. Bartels

Robert D. Bartels

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Date Written: 1968


On January 18, 1968, the United States and the Soviet Union submitted to the Conference of the Eighteen-Nation Committee on Disarmament a joint draft treaty to ban the spread of nuclear weapons. The draft provides that nuclear-weapon states will not assist non-nuclear-weapon states in manufacturing or acquiring "nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices." This would preclude the development of nuclear explosions for peaceful purposes by non-nuclear-weapon states. Some non-nuclear-weapon states have objected to these provisions because of their concern over their possible inability to benefit fully from peaceful applications of nuclear explosions. Therefore, the draft also provides that the parties to the treaty shall cooperate to "insure that potential benefits from any peaceful applications of nuclear explosions will be made available through appropriate international procedures to non-nuclear-weapon states" party to the treaty and that such non-nuclear-weapons states may "obtain any such benefits on a bilateral basis or through an appropriate international body with adequate representation of non-nuclear-weapon states."

In terms of availability, experience, and general acceptability, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is the most likely candidate to serve as a universal supplier of explosive devices and of technical assistance for peaceful applications of nuclear explosives. This Comment will explore the kinds of procedures that would be appropriate for dealing with peaceful uses of nuclear explosions in such a way as to further the purposes of the proposed nonproliferation treaty, and will examine the problems that would be faced by the IAEA in instituting and administering these procedures.

Keywords: nuclear weapons, nonproliferation, international law

Suggested Citation

Bartels, Robert D., Nonproliferation Treaty and Peaceful Application of Nuclear Explosion (1968). Stanford Law Review, Vol. 20, 1968. Available at SSRN:

Robert D. Bartels (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States

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