LOOKING BACK: The 1978 Nuclear Nonproliferation Act

By Sharon Squassoni

The 1978 Nuclear Nonproliferation Act (NNPA) sought to tighten the criteria for nuclear cooperation and reshape the nuclear fuel cycle. Many of its provisions have been forgotten, but the NNPA regained notoriety this year with the approval of the U.S.-Indian nuclear cooperation agreement. The objectives of the NNPA are timeless and in no danger of being achieved soon.

The solutions proposed by the NNPA may still be necessary to ensure the long-term viability of the nuclear nonproliferation regime, particularly those related to sensitive parts of the nuclear fuel cycle-uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing-that can produce fissile material either for fuel or for weapons.

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1 comment:

Leonard Weiss said...

As the chief architect of the NNPA, I appreciate Sharon Squassoni's summary of important parts of the act. The earlier bills she mentions dealt with only those aspects of nuclear exports covered by Title III (out of five titles) of the NNPA. The other titles contain ideas that were unique to the Senate bill introduced at markup by Senator John Glenn, including the idea of an International Nuclear Fuel Authority contained in Title I. Title V, which deals with providing assistance to other countries in the development of green energy technologies, is also an idea waiting to be implemented,not only as a nonproliferation tool, but in its own right as an energy development imperative.