Talks to begin on important nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament treaty

August 11, 1998

Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT) will help prevent a dangerous arms race in South Asia

August 11, 1998 – The non-profit, non-partisan Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) is applauding the decision by the 61-nation Conference on Disarmament (CD) today to convene a committee to negotiate a treaty banning the production of the key nuclear materials for nuclear weapons.

The Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT), which will freeze the production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium (HEU) for nuclear weapons, is vital to forestall a dangerous arms race in South Asia and to reduce tensions on the subcontinent.

"This is a serious attempt to constrain countries, including India and Pakistan, from producing more nuclear materials for weapons," said ISIS policy analyst Corey Gay.

The FMCT is also a step necessary to make significant, verifiable reductions in the nuclear weapons states, particularly in the United States and Russia. The FMCT would codify and verify unilateral commitments made by four of the five nuclear weapon states (the United States, Russia, France, and the United Kingdom) to cease production of fissile material.

"One important step now, is for all states which have not done so, to unilaterally, and publicly declare that they have ceased production of fissile material for weapons," said ISIS President David Albright.

The FMCT negotiations promise to be long and difficult. Two issues which are expected to be addressed in the negotiation are how to effectively verify the ban on fissile material for weapons, and how to address existing stockpiles of unsafeguarded plutonium and HEU.

See also "Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty: What are the benefits of a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT)?"

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