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Nonproliferation Overhaul Urged

by Jeff Johnson
June 28, 2004 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 82, Issue 26


  Efforts of the U.S. and other nations are far short of what is needed to reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism, says a new report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The 95-page report urges a new approach to toughen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and calls for “more international teamwork than the Bush Administration recognizes” and “more international resolve than previous administrations could muster.” Among recommendations are new provisions to limit access to weapons-usable nuclear materials and tougher sanctions against those who violate the provisions.

Although Carnegie officials praised recent actions of the Bush Administration—specifically, initiatives to secure U.S.- and Russian-originated weapons-usable materials—they said the pace was too slow. They also urged the Administration to end its quest for new low-yield nuclear weapons and its investigation into the development of earth-penetrating nuclear warheads.

In response, Administration officials explained their plans at a conference held along with the report’s release. The Bush Administration wants to study the feasibility of a robust nuclear earth penetrator, said Linton F. Brooks, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration. The weapon is not actually new, and the study is to determine if existing warheads can be adapted to strike buried facilities, he said.

But nuclear weapons, he said, remain a “hedge against an uncertain future,” adding that with the Cold War’s end, nuclear weapons should not be seen in isolation but as “an integral component of American military power.”

Brooks was challenged by conference speakers, including Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), who warned that the weapons will “spark a new arms race” and make nuclear weapons more usable in the future.



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