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The article aims to assess the effectiveness of the non-proliferation regime established more than 40 years ago with the adoption of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Since that time the international community had achieved considerable success in the prevention of nuclear weapons’ proliferation. Nevertheless, while noting the results of the NPT and the verification system established under that instrument, one cannot remain silent about the shortcomings of the system and the non-compliance with some of its provisions. By its structure and provisions the NPT has divided States into two groups, distinguishing those possessing and those not possessing nuclear weapons. In effect, the rights and obligations of the Contracting Parties to the NPT are tailored to the group to which they belong, and the gravest violation of the NPT is that when States seek to change their status as defined in the NPT, notably by trying to munfacture or control of nuclear weapons. Under the NPT, research in, production and application of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes are inalienable rights, but their exercise should be in keeping with the basic obligation of nonnuclear-weapon States under the Treaty not to acquire in any form nuclear weapons and not to carry out unauthorized nuclear activities under the guise of their peaceful nuclear programs. While emphasizing the need to strengthen the non-proliferation regime, the article describes in nutshell the nuclear program of two States (the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) which gave cause for serious international concern.

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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: A. Ringbom, Klas Elmgren, Karin Lindh, Jenny Peterson, Theodore Bowyer, James Hayes, Justin McIntyre, Mark Panisko, and Richard Williams

Abstract  

Following the claimed nuclear test in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on October 9, 2006, and a reported seismic event, a mobile system for sampling of atmospheric xenon was transported to the Republic of South Korea (ROK) in an attempt to detect possible emissions of radioxenon in the region from a presumed test. Five samples were collected in the ROK during October 11–14, 2006 near the ROK–DPRK border, and thereafter transported to the Swedish Defense Research Agency (FOI) in Stockholm, Sweden, for analysis. Following the initial measurements, an automatic radioxenon sampling and analysis system was installed at the same location in the ROK, and measurements on the ambient atmospheric radioxenon background in the region were performed during November 2006 to February 2007. The measured radioxenon concentrations strongly indicate that the explosion in October 9, 2006 was a nuclear test. The conclusion is further strengthened by atmospheric transport models. Radioactive xenon measurement was the only independent confirmation that the supposed test was in fact a nuclear explosion and not a conventional (chemical) explosive.

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