An agreement to eliminate nuclear explosive materials

The two main fissile materials used in nuclear weapons are Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU). For details on where these materials can be found, including current inventories, please refer to the Power Point program created by Dr. Annette Schaper of the Peace Research Institute in Frankfurt. Her data is based on the text Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium: 1996: World Inventories, Capabilities and Policies by David Albright, Frans Berkhout and William Walker.

Governments worldwide have proposed that the Ambassadors meeting within the Conference on Disarmament should start negotiations on a Fissile Missile Control Treaty. Two points of contention have arisen.

First, some nuclear weapons states want controls to be only on future production, not current stockpiles.

Second, China believes that it cannot participate in such a Treaty if the US intends to build a missile defence system. The Chinese governments thinks that if the US has the capability of defending against China’s 20 ICBMs, that China will need to build more nuclear weapons. Because of this, they may need more fissile material and thus they won’t sign such a Treaty.

For details on progress toward an FMCT, please check these sites:

Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/nuke/control/fmct/index.html
Acronym Institute (UK): http://www.acronym.org
Reaching Critical Will (operated by WILPF in New York): http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org