Nuclear Nonproliferation: A Primer

Nuclear Nonproliferation: A Primer

Nuclear Nonproliferation: A Primer

Nuclear Nonproliferation: A Primer

Synopsis

This overview of the technical and political dimensions of nuclear nonproliferation aims to guide the student of arms control through the fundamentals of nuclear physics, nuclear reactors and the nuclear fuel cycle in language familiar to any interested reader. The author likewise explains clearly the evaluation of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, the system of international nuclear safeguards and the prospects for the extension of NPT in 1995.

Excerpt

The effort to control the spread of nuclear weapons has been more successful in the past half century than many dared hope, and is more firmly institutionalized today than ever before. Still, new challenges, stemming from changes in technology, governments, and international politics, appear constantly on the horizon. Common to all these challenges is the problem of providing access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes while preventing its diversion to military use.

The changing face of nonproliferation created by international events such as the Gulf War and the breakup of the Soviet Union creates a demand for new blood in the field, including both area and topical specialists, and requires educational resources geared to these newcomers. This primer forms part of that educational effort. An initiative of the CIS Nonproliferation Project of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, this book was originally intended as an introduction to the field for the project's core group of aspiring nonproliferation specialists in the former Soviet Union. The effort has grown, however, into a broad-based introduction useful to a much larger audience: students, journalists, and others new to the field can profit from the information presented here. This primer presumes no previous experience with nuclear issues but presupposes an interest in serious study of the field. It provides a comprehensive overview of nonproliferation, from the technical basics to the history and politics of nonproliferation efforts.

Because the science of nuclear energy is at the heart of the nonproliferation challenge, the primer begins with a simple introduction to nuclear fission in Chapter 1, followed by descriptions of the nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear reactors in Chapters 2 and 3. Readers averse to scientific topics may begin their study later in the book, but are likely to return eventually to the technical sections as the need to comprehend the fundamentals of nuclear power becomes evident.

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