REVUE DE DROIT
DE SCIENCES DIPLOMATIQUES ET POLITIQUES
(THE INTERNATIONAL LAW REVIEW - Sottile)
Fondée par le Dr juris
Antoine Sottile - Publiée par C.-L.Heinbach
Case postale 130 - 1211 GENEVE 12 - Suisse
THE NONPROLIFERATION TREATY
IN LIGHT OF NUCLEAR ENERGY DEVELOPMENTS
Anton KELLER, Paul BÄHR and Peter
(courtesy by: Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers, cp 2580, 1211 Geneva 2
research contributed by: EDA & Federal Archives, Bern; ETH Zurich; Irina Gerassimova, UN Library Geneva
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INDEX abstract ¦
¦ security considerations ¦ NPT
obligations ¦ NPT obligations applying to nuclear-weapon
states (NWS) only ¦ NPT obligations applying
to non-nuclear-weapon states (NNWS) only ¦ NPT
obligations applying to all parties to this treaty ¦ implications
of NPT obligations ¦ non-peaceful uses of
nuclear material by NPT-NNWS ¦ definitions
¦ avenues for preventing non-governmental
diversions ¦ economic considerations
¦ nuclear macro-explosions ¦ Plowshare
projects ¦ nuclear micro-explosions ¦
and adverse experiences with the IAEA and other ¦ development
trends and possible consequences on other nuclear energy programs ¦
vs. conventional breeder reactor concepts ¦ input/output
indices of integrated mirco-explosion breeder reactor system ¦
of EURODIF and URENCO programs ¦ NPT
constraints on NNWS regarding micro-explosion system developments ¦
positions on nuclear micro-explosion systems vs. NPT ¦ in
defence of expanded safeguards measures ¦ conclusions
TO THE UNBORNS' HEALTH AND WEALTH,
TO THE MILLIONS' UNIMPEDED SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC PROGRESS
IN REAL SAFETY FROM NUCLEAR THREATS AND ANNIHILATION, AND
TO THE WISDOM AND COURAGE OF THE DOZENS
INFLUENCING THE COURSE OF EVENTS
IN THE ABOVE DIRECTION OR AWAY FROM IT.
202 H.A. KELLER - P. BÄHR - P. B. KALFF
An analysis of the first five years of operation of the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) leads the authors to conclude that q.e.e the treaty has failed to prevent the spread of nuclear explosives capabilities and, due to its exclusive backward focus, is even providing incentives to explore the apparently feasible pure-fusion nuclear explosives road. Yet and again q.e.e. with regard to economic implications, the NPT has proven a nuisance and an unnecessary obstacle in many cases and, in some respects, poses a clear threat of growing dimensions. The vantage point for these conclusions is that of observers actively involved in nuclear micro- and macro-explosives development, respectively application planning.
The obligations undertaken by the parties to the Nonproliferation Treaty and their collateral, the IAEA NPT safeguards, are analysed with regard to their apparent and possible security, political and economic implications. The lack of measures verifying the fulfilment of some key undertakings and the possibility formally accorded NPT Non-Nuclear-Weapon States to import, produce, stock-pile and use explicitly for non-peaceful purposes any quantity even of bomb-grade fissionable material outside all IAEA or other international safeguards, is seen to cast serious doubts on the relevancy of these elaborate safeguards. Furthermore, the IAEA NPT safeguards' almost exclusive attention to governmental diversions is seen to cause a dangerous neglect of the possibly much more real dangers arising from eventual non-governmental diversions of nuclear material. A promising avenue to effectively cope with this latter problem is identified in the form of intergrated nuclear energy systems eventually entailing no transportation and storage of special fissionable material. Related development opportunities are outlined and concentrated research efforts in that direction are recommended.
Besides references to some unfortunate developments concerning the development and eventual availability of the peaceful nuclear macro-explosions technology, the authors present some preliminary economic data on the inertial confinement, or micro-explosion fusion reactor concept as possibly affected by the NPT, too. This novel reactor type avails itself for development of an extremely safe breeder system. With such a plant, conventional nuclear power plants of some three times its own installed power could be run symbiotically and totally independent of enrichment facilities. For such a 1000 MWe breeder is calculated to annually produce some 2000 kg U-233 or plutonium with an input of some 1000 kg lithium and deuterium each and some 2000 kg thorium or natural uranium.
These significant developments and ecologically even more favorable offshots of it (e.g. boron-hydrogen reactors and Plowshare explosives) are seen to be jeopardized by the NPT for reason of its unwitting failure to distinguish between nuclear macro- and micro-explosion systems and due to its focus on fissionable material. An authoritative interpretation promptly and totally exempting nuclear micro-explosion systems from the NPT is thus called for.
Some apparent structural, methodological
and other deficiencies associated with present international efforts to
promote and safeguard the peaceful development of nuclear energy are discussed
and possible remedies proposed.
THE NPT vs. NUCLEAR ENERGY DEVELOPMENTS
1 The Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), in order to prevent «diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices», entails specific obligations to that and similar effects for either Nuclear-Weapon States (NWS), Non-Nuclear-Weapon States (NNWS) or both. Fulfilment of these obligations is taken for granted and subject to no direct control in the case of NWS, whereas in the case of NPT-NNWS, adherance to their respective sovereign undertakings is subject to verification by way of «safeguards». The International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna (IAEA) has been charged with, and has assumed the responsibility of verifying the fulfilment of some but not all of these NPT-NNWS obligations by way of safeguards agreements based in its Blue Book Model (INFCIRC/153). This gives rise to both security and economic questions of apparently growing significance. Moreover, the terms «nuclear weapons» and «other nuclear explosive devices» are nowhere defined in either the treaty itself, its historical elements or its supplementary documents.
2 In particular, absence of a reference to scale i.e. excluding nuclear micro-explosions has become a source of growing anxiety in some industrial circles due to recent research results and experiments in the field of advanced peaceful nuclear energy developments and applications. Also, the not-so-academic question entailing again both economic and security implications of: «Does the NPT cover non-fission-induced fusion explosives?» has gained additional weight due to recent developments.
3 The traditional tools of treaty interpretation by themselves are not seen to suffice to eventually permit the arrival of widely-accepted and reliable answers to what in essence appear to be political questions in the first place and which, therefore, might be addressed most effectively on the occasion of the forthcoming NPT Review Conference and on other suitable levels between the interested governments.
4 Man being what he is, there can hardly be raised a serious objection to effective measures against diversion of significant quantities of nuclear material from safeguarded uses to the clandestine manufacture of explosive devices or for purposes unknown or, for that matter, against effectively safeguarding the use
204 H.A. KELLER - P. BÄHR - P. B. KALFF
of, and nuclear material as such. Indeed, the growing role 1 of and development trends 2 in nuclear energy, as well as apparent trends in political interplays 3, seem to indicate the application of the most effective nuclear material safeguards, science and technology afford, on a world-wide, standardized basis properly reflecting development progresses in all related fields.
5 The presently proposed IAEA safeguards 4 seem to constitute
both a step in the above direction and, hélas,
obstacle on that very road. The former, because of a) their impressive
apparent acceptability to both industry and governments of NPT-NNWS and
built-in adaptability to some related developments. The latter, because
of a) their minuscule chances if not their outright failure
to eventually be applied to all nuclear activities at least in NPT-NNWS
and to all peaceful nuclear activities in all NPT-NWS, b)
failure to provide for the verification of the fulfilment of every and
all obligations undertaken by NPT states, c) their exclusive reliance
on the control of fissionable material and related equipment,
reliance apparently out of political necessity on verification of each
NNWS' or group of NNWS' individual and more or less effective nuclear safeguards
measures and e)
1 Spinard, B. I., «A Projection of Nuclear Power and its Associated Industry», in : Nuclear Proliferation Problems (Jasani, ed.), SIPRI, Almquist & Wiksell, Stockholm, 1974, p. 21-40.
2 Ibidem; see also: OECD, «Energy Perspectives to 1985», Paris, 1975;
Bülow, H., et al., «Entwicklungstendenzen der für die Energienachfrage Relevanten Strukturelemente von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft», PROGNOS, Basel, 1975;
Browa, H., et al., «Energiemodell Industrie», PROGNOS, Basel, 1972;
Bogensberger, H., et al., «Die Bedeutung der Kernenergie für die Deckung des Weltenergiebedarfs», KFK-1995, Karlsruhe, 1974;
Hill, J., «Future Trends in Nuclear Power Generation», Philos. Trans. R. Soc, Ser. A, May 1974, v. 276 (1261), p. 587-601;
«World Nuclear Power: Status, Trends and Markets», NP-19776, Interdevelopment. Inc., Arlington, 1973;
Grenon, M., «Ce monde affamé d'énergie», Laffont, Paris, 1973;
«Laser Fusion Feasibility Project», University of Rochester, Rochester, 1974, p. 13.
3 The present face of world politics reflecting, of course, social, economic and political gradients and tensions within and between states is poked with incidents of terrorism of various natures and degrees. With these gardients and tensions key sources for aspirations to changes still growing, national and international terrorism is likely to stay with us and become an ugly, everyday affair of increasing sophistication like, e.g., the Vietnam war was, or rather still is. Sooner or later, it is likely to penetrate the diplomatic world, either as target or vehicle. Nuclear material, under such circumstances, is seen as an instrument
of unparalleled effectiveness and commensurate attractiveness for both governmental and non-governmental terrorism the latter, conceivably, serving occasionally as camouflage for the former.
4 IAEA, «The Structure and Content of Agreements Between the Agency and States Required in Connection, with die Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons» (generally referred to as «Blue Book»), INFC1RC/153, Vienna 1971.
6 Disturbing as the last point most certainly is is likely to remain so, and may even prove disastrous before long , another fact deserves serious attention for reason of its security and political implications. Reference is made here to the NPT's unbalanced approach to safeguards, whereby the simple signature of the NWS is taken as a guarantee that their respective commitments will be honored, while the signature of the NNWS must be complemented by safeguards measures intended to verify compliance with their obligations under the NPT 6.
7 In our NPT analysis of 1968 7, we pointed out that in
attempting to bar NNWS from the fission road to a nuclear weapon capability,
the NPT inadvertently, yet inevitably would seem to give impetus to the
pursuit of the only remaining road thus left open to that end, namely the
pure-fusion road. In 1969 8, we identified a likely vehicle
for use on that road, namely the fusion device triggered by an argon bomb-pumped
dye laser. Since then, various developments observed seem to have unhappily
confirmed our earlier assessment. Moreover, the worldwide growth of the
role assigned to nuclear energy and the correspondingly growing availability
of weapon-quality fissile material is seen to facilitate what is obliquely
referred to as «non-governmental diversion» a proliferation
road which the NPT's authors have left for the states to care about.
5 For a discussion of the feasibility to produce crude nuclear bombs and radiation weapons (reflecting related USAEC studies), see: McPhee, J., «The Curve of Binding Energy», Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York, 1974; Taylor, T., et al, «Nuclear Theft: Risks and Safeguards», Ballinger, Cambridge, Mass., 1974.
For an excellent discussion of the background of eventual non-governmental diversions of special fissionable material, see: Willrich, M., «Nongovernmental Nuclear Weapon Proliferation», in: Nuclear Proliferation Problems, op. cit., p.168-186.
6 ENDC/PV. 362, § 17; see also: Imai, R., «The Non-Proliferation Treaty: The Japanese Attitude Three Years After Signing», in: Nuclear Proliferation Problems, op. cit., p. 247, 252.
7 Keller, H. A., et al., «On the Economic Implications of the Proposed Nonproliferation Treaty», International Law Review (Sottile), N° 1, Geneva 1968 (...[www.solami.com/NPT68.htm ¦ .../NPT.htm]); see also: Young, E., «The Control of Proliferation: The 1968 Treaty in Hindsight and Forecast», ISS Adelphi Papers Nr. 56, London, 1969; Young, E., «A Farewell to Arms Control?», Penguin Books ISBN 014 02.1593 X, London, 1972; Boerner, B., «Rechtsfolgen des Atomsperrvertrages für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland», Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Energierecht, Universität Köln, Bd. 22, Köln, 1968; Jasani, B., (ed.), «Nuclear Proliferation Problems, SIPRI, Stockholm, 1974, passim.
8 «Non-Fission-Induced Nuclear Fusions - Recent Developments and Perspectives», Colloquium Report, Doublekay-6970, Basel, 1969.
206 H.A. KELLER - P. BÄHR - P. B. KALFF
8 To what extent, under such circumstances, the NPT and its IAEA safeguards can reasonably be expected to prevent or slow the proliferation of governmental fission explosives capabilities beyond the effectiveness of the already operational factors will be discussed below on the background of the present IAEA NPT safeguards model, safeguards measures indicated by political reality and corresponding reactor development indications and opportunities. Indeed, the recent Indian example does not bode well to nuclear security policies resting on the present NPT and may indeed turn out to be an unexpectedly constructive and decisive element in the eventual development and implementation of a more effective and balanced approach to an increasingly pressing world problem.
B. NPT Obligations
9 The NPT's perhaps inevitably assymetric design implies an assumption that the NPT-NWS's related commitments in the view of NPT-NWS are relatively marginal, or that, for them, circumstances are and will remain such, that non-compliance with these obligations would necessarily be against their own best interests and thus out of the question or sufficiently improbable. And while the latter view may very well indeed be correct without, however, being necessarily recognized as such and reflected in the related actions or inactions eventually taken by the responsible authorities , it would be rather difficult to see how the former proposition could reasonably be sustained by and after detailed analysis of these numerous commitments. It may thus be well to take a closer look at these NPT obligations.
1. NPT OBLIGATIONS APPLYING TO NUCLEAR-WEAPON STATES ONLY
10 The obligations falling under this heading are contained in NPT
«Each nuclear-weapon State Party to this Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear-weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices».
THE NPT vs. NUCLEAR ENERGY DEVELOPMENTS 207
11 The obligations falling under this heading are contained in NPT
«Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices; and not to seek or receive any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices».
«Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes to accept safeguards, as set forth in an agreement to be negotiated and concluded with the International Atomic Energy Agency in accordance with the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Agency's safeguards system, for the exclusive purpose of verification of the fulfilment of its obligations assumed under this Treaty with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. Procedures for the safeguards required by this Article shall be followed with respect to source or special fissionable material whether it is being produced, processed or used in any principal nuclear facility or is outside any such facility. The safeguards required by this Article shall be applied on all source or special fissionable material in all peaceful nuclear activities within the territory of such State, under its jurisdiction, or carried out under its control anywhere».
«Non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty shall conclude agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency to meet the requirements of this Article either individually or together with other States in accordance with the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Negotiations of such agreements shall commence within 180 days from the original entry into force of this Treaty. For States depositing their instruments of ratification or accession after the 180-days period, negotiation of such agreements shall commence not later than the date of such deposit. Such agreements shall enter into force not later than eighteen months after the date of initiation of negotiations».
3. NPT OBLIGATIONS APPLYING TO ALL PARTIES TO THIS TREATY
12 The obligations falling under this heading are devided into those issuing from the NPT preamble with no legally binding character and into those with legally binding character issuing from NP
«Each State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to provide:
(a) source or special fissionable material, or
(b) equipment or material especially designed or prepared for the processing, use or production of special fissionable material,
to any non-nuclear-weapon State for peaceful purposes, unless the source or special fissionable material shall be
subject to the safeguards required by this Article».
confirms the «inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty» and thus, by implication, their corresponding obligation to abstain from any interference in, and perhaps even to facilitate the execution of this right by such a state «to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty».
«All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do so shall also co-operate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world».
THE NPT vs. NUCLEAR ENERGY DEVELOPMENTS 209
«Each Party to the Treaty undertakes to take appropriate measures to ensure that, in accordance with this Treaty, under appropriate international observation and through appropriate international procedures, potential benefits from any peaceful applications of nuclear explosions will be made available to non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty on a non-discriminatory basis and that the charge to such Parties for the explosive devices used will be as low as possible and exclude any charge for research and development. Non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty shall be able to obtain such benefits pursuant to a special international agreement or agreements, through an appropriate international body with adequate representation of non-nuclear-weapon States. Negotiations on this subject shall commence as soon as possible after the Treaty enters into force. Non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty so desiring may also obtain such benefits pursuant to bilateral agreements».
«Each of the Parties to this Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control».
13 Good or bad, for better or for worse, the NPT has become a fact
of life and indeed of singular importance in international relations. The
security and economic implications of inadequate or direct non-compliance
by NPT-NWS with their obligations thus undertaken have acquired a commensurate
importance the more so, as some of the security and economic benefits entailed
in the NPT for NNWS can, under this treaty, no longer be developed by NNWS
themselves, but must be sought from the NWS 9. An expansion
of the IAEA NPT safeguards to the effect
9 These include:
1. Deterrence against governmental nuclear blackmail, and actual nuclear attacks. See die related UN Security Council Resolution S/Res/255.
2. Provision of nuclear explosion services for peaceful ends. See: §§ 28-37.
210 H.A. KELLER - P. BÄHR - P. B. KALFF
of actively monitoring the adherence of all parties to the obligations undertaken by them under this treaty would thus seem highly desirable 10.
14 Whether such an expansion is now or at all politically feasible
is, of course, an all-together different ball game. Indeed, the IAEA NPT
safeguards model does not provide for verification of compliance with any
obligations undertaken by NPT-NNWS, other than those defined in Art. III.l
of the NPT, thus leaving essentially unchecked those entailed in Art. III.2,
as well as others 11. Granted, technical and/or financial considerations
10 A further set of arguments in favor of strengthening the IAEA NPT safeguards leaving aside the not-so-convincing-ones of US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, made last fall is offered by: Prawitz, J., «Arguments for Extended NPT Safeguards», in Nuclear Proliferation Problems, op. cit., p. 158-167.
Of course, the NPTs all too-evident failure to prevent the vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons, as well as the apparent lack of real progress in nuclear disarmament as provided for in Art. VI would not by themselves speak against this treaty or its provisions. For it could not realistically be expected to significantly alter the political climate between the NPT-NWS a climate which has not been, and is not likely to become conducive to that effect if nuclear lambs essentially contend themselves with the unparalleled abdication of their right to become nuclear tigers and leave the rest to the merci of those nuclear tigers which have pressed for this abdication. Accordingly, it is doubtful that real progress in the desired direction of nuclear disarmament will, eventually, issue from any conceivable changes of, additions to, or supplementary instruments of the present NPT which might be tabled at the forthcoming NPT Review Conference, or later. And as conditions do not seem to be ripe yet for the dialectic process to take place fully by way of the previously proposed «third forces scenario» providing for the pooling of respective resources by NNWS in particular appreciable effects in the above direction are conceivable only if the obligations entailed in Art. VI applying to both NWS and NNWS will finally be taken seriously at least by the NNWS themselves and will be developed by them into a system of genuine leverage against the NPT-NWS's respective apparent complacency and indifference (see also: §§ 67-69). Various views of States in the above direction are compiled in: GOV/COM. 22/6, p. 18-21.
11 The IAEA Safeguards Conference of 1970 was provided with a IAEA working paper (GOV/COM. 22.3, § 12) wherein the following reasoning was developed:
«The agreement to be concluded by 'each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty is that described in Article III.l of the Treaty. This requires only that safeguards be applied on nuclear material with a view to preventing diversion while the material is in a special nuclear activity within the territory of such State, under its jurisdiction, or carried out under its control anywhere. It is not required, therefore, that the agreements referred to should cover the obligations set forth in Article III.2 of NPT which relate to materials that will leave the State. It is to be noted, moreover, that the obligations contained in Aurticle III.2 fall equally upon nuclear- and non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty and are related to equipment and to other special materials as well as to nuclear material».Furthermore, in its comment on p. 13, the IAEA stated: «Under NPT the State has the obligation to ensure that exports of nuclear material would be made in accordance with Article III.2 but compliance with this obligation would not be verified by the Agency under the present Agreement». This has given rise to a number of questions first raised by the authors in 1970 (Doublekay-7001, p. 9-11):
also have indicated this solution without apparent loss of effectiveness. However, the authors' present concern is neither the technically attainable vs. the actually attained level of perfection of the safeguards system, its financial and/or political acceptability, nor, for that matter, its effectiveness in attaining the stated objective of IAEA NPT safeguards 12. For these perhaps highly efficient, economic instruments made and implemented by renowned experts and highly motivated and competent international public servants serve an objective the relevancy of which may no longer be beyond doubt if indeed it ever was.
D. Non-Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Material by NPT-NNWS
15 With the IAEA NPT safeguards systems, the question arises anew:
Why bother at all with safeguards exclusively directed against governmental
diversions? For, under the NPT,
any NNWS is eligible to receive
any quantity even of bomb-grade nuclear material from any willing supplier,
is permitted to stockpile this material and all without control, under
the ominous «non-peaceful» exemption clause of Art. III.2
may even be permitted to produce nuclear explosive parts, or
(Continuation of preceding page.)
1. Does this mean that the exporting State will have the right or even the obligation to verify compliance of the receiver State with some or all of the applicable obligations entailed in the NPT?Some related views of States are compiled in: GOV/COM. 22/6, p. 31. See also: GOV/COM. 22/27; GOV/COM. 22/63.
2. What consequences does this entail for a) the exporting firm, b) the exporting State, c) the importing State, d) the importing firm, e) third States having an interest that these obligations are fulfilled and their fulfilment be verified to their satisfaction?
3. What might happen, if the exporting State for whatever reason refuses to take the responsibility for «verifying the fulfilment» of some or all of the NPT obligations undertaken by an importing NNWS?
4. How can an exporting NPT State discharge its obligations under Article III.2, if it is requested by and is prepared to supply material and/or equipment falling under this Article to a) a NNWS, b) a NPT-NNWS?
5. Does the NPT provide the right to signatory States interested in reliable verification of the fulfilment of the obligations undertaken by a NPT-NNWS, in the partial or total absence of such IAEA verifications, to intervene in the affairs of NPT-NNWS?
6. Can and should the IAEA's role in implementing the NPT safeguards be curtailed by way of interpretation alone, e.g. without parallel amendments of the NPT?
212 H.A. KELLER P. BÄHR - P. B. KALFF
at least non-explosive radiation weapons 13. The reason for this astonishing fact is a simple reservation in Art. III.2 of the NPT, providing that the prohibition to supply NNWS nuclear material and equipment outside the required safeguards applies only to nuclear material and equipment intended for peaceful purposes!
16 The Swiss Government considers the NPT to cover non-fission-induced nuclear weapons 14. By the same token, the United States Government has formally stated:
«The treaty deals only with what is prohibited, not with what is permitted»15.17 - When the US and the USSR delegations to the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Committee (ENDC, now CCD) in Geneva jointly introduced their first draft of the NPT control Article III on January 18, 1968 17, the Rumanian 18, the Swedish 19 and the
«The NPT prohibits ... transferring complete nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices to any recipient ...» 16.
«In the course of their work, the consultants found it necessary to make a number of assumptions concerning the application of safeguards under the NPT as follows: (...)18 With the IAEA Safeguards Conference's basic working paper of May 1970 23, light finally penetrated the surface, and the Conference was invited to work out the conditions for «Non-application of safeguards to nuclear material to be used in non-peaceful activities». Reflecting an encouraging awareness, openmindedness and independance, the Swiss Delegation to the
(c) The safeguards system will be applied under the NPT in most non-nuclear-weapon States, where all nuclear material will be subject to safeguards; ...».
214 H.A. KELLER P. BÄHR - P. B. KALFF
Safeguards Conference, on June 15, 1970, raised the following questions formally 24:
20 If then, as it appears to be the case, this mile-wide loop-hole cannot be closed for whatever mix of reasons, it would not seem to hurt the nonproliferation cause to admit so much quite the contrary. In fact it would permit to concentrate our scarce resources for attacking and eventually neutralizing the much more real dangers arising from eventual non-governmental diversions of special fissionable material.
E. Avenues for Preventing Non-Governmental Diversions
21 Transport and storage of special fissionable material are seen
to provide the two most significant opportunities for non-govern-
24 GOV/COM/OR. 2, § 56 (translated from: «Declaration de la Delegation Suisse», DPF, Berne, 1970, p. 8).
THE NPT vs. NUCLEAR ENERGY DEVELOPMENTS 215
mental diversions. And if the change of focus from governmental to non-governmental diversion safeguards would indicate a radically new approach to safeguards from the point of view of those eventually entrusted with the related tasks, the parameters «transport» and «storage» may by themselves lead the thinking away from conventional safeguards concepts the more they are allowed to dominate this thinking. And dominate they must if non-governmental diversions are seriously going to be sought to be prevented by all available means. Which leads to the theoretically ideal solution of a contained nuclear energy system entailing zero transport and storage of special fissionable material.
22 What are the opportunities, what the limits from the scientific and the technological point of view for such a system? The main input, of course, would still be natural uranium or thorium, but that, by itself, could hardly serve for terror, blackmail or even weapon production purposes. This source material would then have to be converted to nuclear fuel on site, fully automatically, preferably in a continuous fashion requiring no storage for the fuel and, ideally, spent fuel would be processed fully on site, too. The nuclear fuel thus produced would be used exclusively at the nuclear power plant thus served, with thermal and electrical energy being the system's only significant output.
23 This theorical model depends, for its realization, primarily on the commercial availability of source material conversion systems (SMCS), the installation and operation of which will result in economically and/or politically acceptable fuel costs. Possible SMCS candidates are seen primarily in the following systems 25:
216 H.A. KELLER - P. BÄHR - P. B. KALFF
tive conversion systems. With the possible exceptions of the ultra-centrifuge and the jet-nozzle systems none of these SMCS is likely to become commercially available before some ten years, even assuming sufficient r&d funds to be available. Nevertheless, a concentrated effort to fully explore this novel nuclear avenue appears to be indicated by, and is recommended because of the inherently high safety against non-governmental diversions of special fissionable material uniquely provided by the INES system.
25 The importance of an international treaty in terms of its security, political and/or economic significance tends to equip it and its provisions with a commensurate momentum of their own, governed primarily by related developments and the laws of political expediency. Thus, provisions of initially secondary importance may suddenly be discovered to avail themselves for meeting a need which may not have been foreseen and whose satisfaction with a given treaty instrument may consequently not reflect the original intentions and objectives of its signatories, and may in fact run counter both the treaty's proclaimed objectives and the legitimate interests of those having subscribed to it.
26 A situation of this nature seems now in the making. The NPT provides
for verification of the obligations undertaken by its signatories, a.o.,
by way of international controls of their peaceful nuclear facilities and
the involved fissionable material in particular. At the time of its development
the NPT's reference to «other nuclear explosive devices» was
generally considered to be directed at excavation-type peaceful applications
of nuclear explosives, generally described as Plowshare programs27.
Another nuclear explosion aspect of potentially far broader interest and economic significance has been outlined in a theoretical way in our 1968 study and in the meantime has acquired concrete form. In Article IV, the NPT specifies :
«Nothing in this Treaty shall he interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty»._______________
THE NPT vs. NUCLEAR ENERGY DEVELOPMENTS 217
27 The reservation that the related rights for peaceful nuclear activities are limited by the obligations undertaken under Articles I and II may turn out to be economically and politically a highly damaging one to NNWS. As such it may be inadmissible inasmuch as it may jeopardize both the development and early availability of «soft» Plowshare devices, as well as of some advanced nuclear reactors involving laser, electron or other high-energy beams and entailing no comparable ecological loads. For neither eventually feasible non-fission-induced boron/hydrogen explosives, nor the concept to compress minute quantities of fission and/or fusion material with such beams to the effect of technically contained nuclear micro-explosions, can be denied to involve a «nuclear explosive device».
B. Nuclear Macro-Explosions
28 On the subject of peaceful uses of nuclear explosions, the NPT has served to focus world-wide attention on a highly promising new technology for economic large-scale excavations even though, primarily for ecological reasons, it has, for the moment, moved out of focus in the very country of its birth, the United States 28. Air blast and seismic effects aside, radioactivity releases on any level in the view of a growingly ecology-minded public have become, and are likely to remain the key obstacle to the early large-scale application of the presently still «hard» Plowshare technology anywhere in the western world.
29 The Soviet Union is known to have placed itself in the forefront of this technology's development and is reported to have actually commenced the execution of one of its key Plowshare projects, namely the link of, and partial diversion of the Arctic-bound Pechora River to, respectively with the Kama River eventually leading into the Caspian Sea by way of an over 100 km long, nuclearly excavated canal 29. No positive assurance has been obtained that the radioactivity problem known to be associated with nuclear surface excavations has been solved there under which circumstances a basic requirement would be met for Plowshare to qualify as a soft, i.e. an ecology-oriented or even ecologically safe technology.
30 Individual ecological reservations notwithstanding, numerous Plowshare
projets of equally vast economic significance for the areas directly involved
and beyond have indeed been conceived of, as is evidenced in the following
indicative list of possible application sites for corresponding water resources
management within and beyond the involved drainage basins.
28 AP, «U.S. to End Atoms-for-Peace Tests», International Herald Tribune, 3/5/71.
29 Kirejev, V. W., et al., «Excavation by Grouped Nuclear Explosions in Alluvial Rocks», IAEA-TC-I-4/14, Vienna, 1975.
218 H. A. KELLER - P. BÄHR - P. B. KALFF
31 In light of these significant opportunities for applications of the eventually available soft Plowshare technology, it seemed proper to seek every possible guarantee that under the NPT these services would actually become available under adequate international mechanisms providing them on a non-discriminatory, equitable basis with due consideration of all relevant factors 30. In exchange for the abdication of their sovereign rights to develop the peaceful nuclear explosion technology for economic development of their natural resources, the NNWS were thus given assurances in Article V to the effect that:
«... potential benefits from any peaceful applications of nuclear explosions will be made available to non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty on a non-discriminatory basis and that the charge to such Parties for the explosive devices used will be as low as possible and exclude any charge for research and development»._____________
THE NPT vs. NUCLEAR ENERGY DEVELOPMENTS 219
|New Suez Canal||Mediterranean,
|Gabgaba||Nile||oroys, hp, n||
|Batetela||Congo||oroys, hp, n||
2. MIDDLE & SOUTH AMERICA
|New Panama Canal||Atlantic,||navigation||
|fr, hp, c||
|fr, hp, c||
|ri, hp, n||
||ri, hp, n||
220 H.A. KELLER - P. BÄHR - P. B. KALFF
Plowshare Project Rivers or Seas involved Main Purposes States Involved
||oroys, hp, n||
3. ASIA (excl.
USSR for lack of data)
|ri, fr, n, c||
||ri, fr, hp, n,||c China,|
||oroys, hp, n||
navigation sea-level navigation
hp hydro-power development
c local climate changes through alteration of hydrological cycles
oroys off-river over-year storage
n river navigation development
ri integration of drainage basins of rivers involved
fr flood control, flood relief
33 Yet, in its ratification message to Congress, the United States Senate unopposed by the US Government, which is bound by such directives stated :
THE NPT vs. NUCLEAR ENERGY DEVELOPMENTS 221
equally unchallenged unilateral decision by the U.S. Congress to practically stop apparently for economy reasons the further development of the peaceful nuclear excavation technology, or for that matter, of the NRC's recent unilateral and, formally and initially, infinite suspension apparently for review purposes of all exports of enriched uranium 32.
34 Numerous countries have expressed interest in the early and equitable availability of the Plowshare technology. The above-mentioned unilateral actions seem to have limited for the time being the sources of the promised «potential benefits» to just one, the Soviet Union. Moreover, the ominous bilateral arrangements allowed under NPT Article V, are seen even less to provide for adequate consideration and protection of the related interests of countries eventually affected by the execution and/or operation of such far-reaching Plowshare projects.
35 On the technical and ecological side it is to be noted that at
present only one technology is known to eventually entail, for all practical
purposes, neither primary nor secondary radioactivity. Yet, that very technology
if and when mastered is also understood to require no special fissionable
32 In this context, a decision handed down by a US Court of Appeals appears to put all related US obligations under the NPT into an alarming perspective, even though the decision in question has no evident link to nuclear energy matters. As quoted and commented on by Detlev VAGTS of the Harvard Law School (in: Breaking the UN Embargo on Rhodesian Trade: Its Significance for Mining Interests, WWP & I, p. 42-44), the court said:
«We think that there can be no blinking the purpose and effect of the Byrd Amendment. It was to detach this country from the UN boycott of Rhodesia in blatant disregard of our treaty undertakings. The legislative record shows that no member of Congress voting on the measure was under any doubt about what was involved then; and no amount of statutory interpretation now can make the Byrd Amendment other than what it was as presented to Congress, namely a measure which would make and was intended to make the United States a certain treaty violator.
Under our constitutional scheme, Congress can denounce treaties if it sees fit to do so, and there is nothing the other branches of government can do about it ...».
VAGTS thus comments (authors additions in brackets):
«It is not clear how often the combination of causes will arise for another version of this drama... However, other countries may assume the role of outcast (or special, perhaps secret US friend, as the case may be) as world politics shift. If that happens, we know that the United States will participate in the boycott (of some Non-Nuclear-Weapon States, e.g. concerning peaceful nuclear explosion services, and/or delivery of nuclear material, equipment and/or know-how) only up to the point where its own interests seem to be adversely affected, regardless of its treaty commitments».And while VAGTS, of course, comments on the concrete case of the UN embargo on Rhodesia, his observations on the Byrd Amendment and the related court ruling as indicated by the authors' additions would seem to readily avail themselves for extrapolation and application to the US obligations under the NPT
222 H. A. KELLER - P. BÄHR - P. B. KALFF
instead readily available and practically uncontrollable source materials 33.
36 Available data suggest that the USSR Plowshare programs have been
developed to the level of industrial applications in several fields, particularly
water and mineral resources development
This pioneering work is commendable and the Soviet Union deserves credit for both the technology's factual development and its efforts on the international, level to exempt it from all technology-unrelated restraints such as those issuing from efforts to curb the nuclear arms race and proliferation.
37 Nevertheless, dependency on any one single national source for such economic key services is hardly acceptable or even ideal for those interested in them, and the option to seek to obtain them on either a bilateral or an international basis does not significantly alter this outlook. This unfortunate situation is seen to have further strengthened the respective reservations of several key countries and in fact may be expected to eventually result in experiments similar to and beyond that of India.
C. Nuclear Micro-Explosions
38 The concept to compress fusion pellets to supra-high densities
and to ignite them to the effect of technically contained, nuclear micro-explosions
by way of specially tailored, ultra-short laser bursts is generally credited
to Dr. John H. Nuckolls of the University of California's Lawrence Radiation
Laboratory (now: LLL, for Lawrence Livermore Laboratory). It dates back
to the early sixties, may be viewed as a spin-off of Nuckolls' involvement
in nuclear weapons r&d, and its development to-date has most probably
benefitted considerably from the LLL's advanced nuclear weapon codes, studies
and related know-how 35.
33 Although not presently discussed with regard to this technology's eventual security implications, it goes without saying that the very significant economic and ecological advantages of this technology can be expected to be paralleled by a commensurate security drawback.
34 Nordyke, M. D., «A Review of Soviet Data on the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Explosions», LLL, UCRL-51414 Rev. 1, TID-4500, UC-35, Livermore, 1974 (reproduced in: Doublekay-7502, op. cit.).
35 Hora, H., «Laser Plasmas and Nuclear Energy», Plenum Press, New York, 1975; Emmet, J. L., et al., «Fusion Power by Laser Implosion», Scientific American, New York, June 1974; Boyer, K., «U.S. AEC Laser-Fusion Program», LA-DC-72-1113, LASL, Los Alamos, 1974; Brueckner, K. A., et al., «Laser-Driven Fusion», Rev. Mod. Phys., Vol. 46, N° 2, April 1974;
39 Even though, significant development efforts on the micro-explosion, or inertial confinement thermonuclear reactor concept have, in earnest, been started only in this decade primarily in the United States and the Soviet Union. In 1971, an American industrial group, KMS Industries, Inc., Ann Arbor, Mich., obtained USAEC permission «to conduct, at its own expense, a research and development program in which it would attempt to achieve controlled thermonuclear reactions that might be applied in a potential fusion power reactor. The work would involve the irradiation of pellets of thermonuclear material by a high-power, short-pulsed laser. The pellets would be heated to thermonuclear temperatures... very rapidly and the thermonuclear energy possibly released on a controlled basis in a reactor».
40 Efforts by the authors started in early 1972 to interest some
non-American atomic energy authorities and involved industries in this
novel approach to peaceful nuclear energy development and applications
have led to some preliminary arrangements. More recently, a company was
established in Switzerland which, eventually, might serve as a catalyst
for the previously proposed broader and internationally supported venture
onto those new horizons. Related programs are known
(Continuation of preceding page.)
Teller, E., «Futurology
of High-Intensity Lasers», in: Laser Inter action, (Schwarz + Hora,
eds), Vol. 3 A, Plenum Press, New York, 1974, p. 3-10; Charatis, G., et
al., «Experimental Study of Laser Driven Compression of Spherical
Glass Shells», KMSF-U219, Ann Arbor, 1974; Lubin, M., et al., «Short-Pulse-Laser-Heated
Plasma Experiments», Nuclear Fusion, Vol. 13 (6), 1973, p. 829-838;
Booth, L. A., «Central Station Power Generation by Laser-Driven Fusion»,
LA-4858-MS, Vol I, 1972; McCann, T. E., et al., «Neutron Production
in Electron Beam Targets», APS meeting, Albuquerque, June 1972; Winterberg,
F., «Production of Dense Thermonuclear Plasmas by Intense Ion Beams»,
Plasma Physics, Vol. 17, 1974, p. 69-77; Yonas, G., et al., «Electron
Beam Focusing and Application to Pulsed Fusion», Nucl. Fusion, Vol.
14, 1974, p. 731-740.
For an analysis of the NPT-related issues and the opportunities evolving from the nuclear micro-explosion development, see: Keller, H. A., et al., «A Documentation and Interpretation on Laser- and Electron Beam-Induced Fusion Energy», DoubIekay-7251, Basel, 1972; also, by the same author: «A Case for Pioneering Actions on Nuclear Micro-Explosion Systems», Life Report IV, Doublekay-7351, Basel, 1973.
Papers reflecting related programs outside the United States are indicatively listed in footnote 36.
The apparently horrendous financial and economy implications of the projected investments in conventional nuclear energy programs, and the savings eventually attainable by way of the micro-explosion reactor systems, deserve and are planned to be analysed in detail separately.
224 H.A. KELLER - P. BÄHR - P. B. KALFF
to have been commenced, a.o., in Britain, France, Canada, Australia, Japan, Israel and Switzerland 36.
41 A corresponding key invention covering hybrid pellets was made
by an AEC-independent United States scientist in Switzerland under contract
with the author in August 1972 37.
36 The Swiss Federal Institute for Reactor Research, EIR in Würenlingen, a.o., is conducting numerical and other studies on various aspects of hybrid micro-explosion systems using fissionable and fusionable material.
of Micro-Explosion Works Conducted Outside the United States:
«The Institutes which reported definitely on fusion neutrons from laser produced plasmas are:
Lebedev-Institute (Group of Basov-Kxyukov) (USSR)
Limeil Laboratories CEA (France)
Laser Energetics Lab., University of Rochester (USA)
Sandia Laboratories (USA)
Osaka University (Japan)
Max Planck-Institute, Garching (FRG)
Lebedev-Institute (Group of Basov-Sklizkov) (USSR)
Lawrence Livermore Labs (USA)
Los Alamos Scientific Labs (USA)
Naval Research Labs (USA)
Lebedev-Institute (Group of Prokhorov-Pashinin) (USSR)
KMS-Fusion Industries (USA)
Academy of Science, Peking (China)
Polish Academy of Science (Poland)
... The Soreq Nuclear Institute (Israel), the Australian State University and the Battelle Institute, Golombus, Ohio (USA) are very advanced in producing neutrons».
Excerpt from: Laser Interaction, (Schwarz + Hora, eds.), Vol. 3 B, Plenum Press, New York, 1974, p. 799-800.
Indicative scientific publications are seen to be:
Basov, N. G., et al., «Investigation of Plasma Parameters at the Spherical Heating of the Isolated Solid Target by High-Power Laser Radiation», Lebedev Physical Institute, Moscow, in: Laser Interaction, op. cit., Vol. 3/B, New York, 1974;
Hora, H., «Coupling of Laser Radiation into Plasma by Dynamic Absorption Causing Super-Efficient Compression*), Atomkernenergie, Vol. 24-3, 1974, p. 187-192;
Hughes, J. L., «Laser-CTR Developments in Australia», Australian National University, Canberra, in: Laser Interaction, op. cit., Vol. 3 B, New York, 1974, p. 755-773;
Yamanaka, C, et al., «Thermonuclear Fusion Plasma Heated by Lasers», Institute of Laser Engineering, Osaka, in: Laser Interaction, op. cit., Vol. 3 B, New York, 1974, p. 629-665;
Spalding, L, «Some Reactor Implications of Laser Fusion», UKAEA, Culham Laboratory, Abingdon, in: Laser Interaction, op. cit., Vol. 3/B, New York, 1974, p. 775-797;
Floux, F., et al., «X-Ray Emission from Laser Created Plasmas», Phys. Lett., A. Vol. 45 (6), 1973, p. 483-484;
Weil, S. (ed.), «Selected Bibliography on Plasma Production by Lasers», Israel AEC, Tel Aviv, 1973;
Hohla, K., «The Iodine Laser, A High Power Gas Laser», Institute for Plasma Physics, Munich, in: Laser Interaction, op. cit., Vol. 3 A, New York, 1974, p. 133-146;
Decoste, R., et al., «Linear and Nonlinear Heating of a Cold Dense Plasma by Pulsed CO2 Laser Radiation», Report 73-895-01, Institut de Recherche de lHydro-Québec, Varennes, 1973;
Seifritz, W., et al., «Laser Induced Thermonuclear Micro-Explosion Using Fissionable Triggers», ANS Philadelphia paper, EIR, Würenlingen, 1974.
37 Winterberg, F., «Micro-Fission Explosions and Controlled Release of Thermo-nuclear Energy», Nature, Vol. 241, Feb. 16, 1973, p. 449-450.
THE NPT vs. NUCLEAR ENERGY DEVELOPMENTS 225
Attempts to safeguard its prompt availability for investigation and eventual development by way of the IAEA journal Nuclear Fusion were accompanied by the following developments:
42 This incident 40 raises some questions concerning the handling of scientific information by the IAEA, as well as the observance of key IAEA statutory obligations. Which in no way is a reflection on the integrity, competence or sincerity of the IAEA officials involved, but is to question some of the policies, methods and basic reasonings which have led to this institutionalized reversed spin-off.
The inventor was issued a secrecy order by the AEC (which reportedly obtained a copy of the manuscript by way of the IAEA referee) and the US Mission in Vienna intervened promptly at the IAEA with the result that the IAEA refused to publish the paper on the ground that it contains «restricted data» 38. Three Soviet scientists jointly published an intriguingly similar-looking English-version paper as an original work (containing a possible duplication of a calculation error contained in the manuscript submitted to Nuclear Fusion) with priority claims in apparent conflict with those of the inventor 39.
3. Development Trends
and Possible Consequences
on Other Nuclear Energy Programs
43 Since 1972 a dislocation in fusion r&d priorities away from
magnetic to inertial confinement can be observed and recent de-classifications
in the laser-fusion field by the AEC can be expected to advance this process
still further. The total US expenditures on fusion r&d in 1974 reached
about 100 mio $, almost half of which went into micro-explosion programs.
38 The key details of this case have been presented and analysed in Doublekay-7351,. op. cit., p. viii-x, 3/4.
39 Askarjan, G. A., et al., «Application of Super-High Compression of Matter by Reactive Ablation Pressure for Production of Microcritical Mass of Fisser, Production of Super-Strong Magnetic Field and Acceleration of Charged Particles», Lebedev, Preprint N° 109, Moscow, 1973.
The footnote of this preprint reads: «This paper reproduces a Lebedev Physical Institute Report of July, 1972, which was sent to JETP-Letters August, 1972 (published with delaying in Vol. 17 NIO, May 20, 1973)».
40 The Swiss Government sought to obtain an explanation of the circumstances of this matter from the IAEA but reportedly has received less than satisfactory answers to-date. As the legitimate interests of a wider audience seem thus to have been jeopardized, a more productive inquiry aimed at forestalling other such happenings might be called for by an interested party: The related key provision of the IAEA Statute is seen to be Article VII.F. See also: GOV/COM. 22/6, p. 27-29.
226 H.A. KELLER - P. BÄHR - P. B. KALFF
A US Congressman recently introduced a bill for the accelerated development of micro-explosion fusion systems on a scale paralleling the Manhattan project of the early fourties 41. Recent data strongly suggest hybrid micro-explosion systems (using both fissionable and fusionable material for obtaining higher gain factors 42 and/or for high-efficiency breeding of U-233 or plutonim in the blanket zone) to offer substantial economic advantages. Most significant, in the case of the eventual boron-hydrogen reaction 43, this particular hybrid system would entail almost no radioactive wastes.
44 All these programs and activities have already led to expectations significantly altering the nuclear energy supply outlook for as early as the second half of the eighties and beyond in that they hold the promise and possibility to essentially by-pass the presently planned uranium enrichment facilities. As explained below, this seems to be feasible and economically indicated under conditions fully meeting the overall electricity demand and the fuel requirements of the fission power plants then in operation.
4. Micro-Explosion vs. Conventional Breeder Reactor Concepts 44
45 The plutonium inventory in a 1000 MWe fast breeder reactor is about 2500 kg, representing a capital investment of some 25 mio $ at present prices. The presently developed liquid metal breeder reactor (LMFBR) is calculated on this scale to produce some 100 kg plutonium (or the more valuable U-233, depending on the feed input) per year, compared to some 250 kg for a corresponding gas-cooled breeder reactor (GCFBR) which, however, seems to trail the LMFBR significantly with regard to their development levels.
46 In contrast to this, a micro-explosion breeder reactor trailing,
of course, both LMFBR and GCFBR in development levels will require a
thorium or natural uranium inventory of some 150 t
41 US Congressman Richard T. Hanna, «The Fusion Energy Act», H.R. 17538, Congressional Record, 93rd G, Vol. 120, N° 167, Washington, 12/3/74.
42 In die case of pure-fusion micro-explosion systems, the gain factor is calculated to be about 200, whereas in the case of hybrid pellets using both fissionable and fusionable material levels of 1400 and more may be obtained even with smaller reactors units.
43 Weaver, T. A., et al., «Exotic CTR Fuels for Direct Conversion-Utilizing Fusion Reactors», UCID-16230, Livermore, 1973; Hora, H., «First Possible Exotherm Hydrogen-Boron11-Reactions by Laser Compression with the Nonlinear Force», extracts published in Laser Focus, 4, 1975; Hora, H., «Increased Nuclear Energy Yields from the Fast Implosion of Cold Shells Driven by Nonlinear Laser-Plasma Interactions», Institut für Experimentalphysik, Chr. Albrechts-Universität, Kiel, 1975.
44 Private communications to the author. See also:
Seifritz, W., et al., «Uranium and Thorium Shells Serving as Tampers of DT-Fuel Pellets for the Electron Beam Induced Fusion Approach», joint EIR/Nuclear Ltd. paper to be presented at June ANS meeting in New Orleans.
THE NPT vs. NUCLEAR ENERGY DEVELOPMENTS 227
(representing some 4 mio $ at present prices), but no special fissionable material such as plutonium or U-233 for inventory purposes hence the system's unique, inherent safety against an accidental or sabotage blow-up. The financial savings entailed in this inventory feature are not likely to be lost to other design features either. Moreover and economically most significant a 1000 MWe micro-explosion breeder reactor is conservatively calculated to be capable of producing annually, ceteris paribus, over 2700 kg gross 45 and over 2000 kg net U-233 or plutonium. Besides, enough tritium for on-site production of the DT fusion pellets required is thereby obtained as well all of which in forms and ways surpassing present and presently anticipated safety and environmental load standards.
Quantity Present Market Value
Thorium, 150 t 4 mio $
or Natural Uranium 150 t 2.5 mio $
B ANNUAL INPUT
Lithium 1000 kg 20 000 $
Deuterium, <1000 kg >80 000 $
Thorium, >2000 kg >50 000 $
or Natural Uranium >2000 kg >31 000 $
C ANNUAL OUTPUT
U-233, >2000 kg >32 mio $
or Plutonium >2000 kg >20 mio $
Electricity (75% load, 15 mills/KWh)
Breeder Unit 1000 MWe 5900 GWh 88.5 mio $
Conventional Reactor Units
totalling 3000 MWe,
using only fuel supplied
from Breeder Unit >17 700 GWh >267 mio $
Total System Output >23 600 GWh >354 mio $
45 The figures presented are based on LIDSKY's 0.3955 capture rate (rate of D-T reaction neutrons captured in thorium) as quoted in: Leonard, T. A., Review of Fusion-Fission Concepts, Nuclear Technology, Vol. 20, December, 1973. Allowance of a 50% reduction effect is made for reactions characteristical of structure of and material used in pellet, reactor chamber and blanket zone.
228 H.A. KELLER - P. BÄHR - P. B. KALFF
48 In combination with an on-site reprocessing plant and equipped with the indicated fuel flow controls, such an integrated breeder unit in addition to its own fusion pellet-driven 3000 MWth or 1000 MWe installed power would be capable of supplying the fuel for some three conventional 1000 MWe, e.g. high-temperature gas-cooled (HTGR) nuclear power stations running all at the same power level.
49 The annual in- and output indices for an integrated 1000 MWe or 3000 MWth micro-explosion breeder reactor system work out as given in Table II. Although not readily comparable with present-generation reactor fuels supplied by enrichment facilities, the market value of U-233 and plutonium is seen to fairly reflect the capital costs of the development, construction and operation of the enrichment facilities. Table III gives the main indices of the URENCO and the EURODIF programs as reported in the published literature.
Separative work capacity
of main plants (in t/y) 9 000 10 000
kg U-235 contained in fuel produced
plant were set up and run at full capacity
for fuel with following enrichment
2% 68 400 76 000
3% 60 300 67 000
4% 56 300 62 500
5% 53 100 59 000
90 % (the reference plants are not
known to be laid out for such fuels) 46 800 52 000
Required installed electric power (MW) 3 000 250
Estimated plant costs at 1975 prices (mio $) 3 000 2 400
Estimated begin of commercial operations 1979 1977
51 With its potential to annually produce thousands of kilograms of
readily available U-233 or plutonium for feeding additional rather than
pre-emptying satellite conventional nuclear power stations with a multitude
of its own installed power, the
46 Nucleonics Week, January 2, 1975, p. 2; and private communications to the author. See also the forthcoming SIPRI enrichment study and the European Nuclear Conference, Paris, April, 1975.
THE NPT vs. NUCLEAR ENERGY DEVELOPMENTS 229
integrated micro-explosion breeder reactor seems to provide an economically and ecologically highly attractive, viable alternative to the present breeder and enrichment systems. And with the latter's aim of a relatively secure and independent energy supply basis apparently attainable by way of this novel approach with little or no delay, this program would seem worth exploring and safeguarding under any set of circumstances.
5. What Limitations
on Micro-Explosion System Developments
by and for NNWS Might Issue from the NPT?
52 With the NPT failing to distinguish between nuclear micro- and macro-explosions and related devices, the problem now arises as to whether Non-Nuclear-Weapon States irrespective of whether they have abstained from, signed or ratified the NPT are prohibited to take part in the development and implement tation of related programs (whereby alone they could make sure that these benefits will become available to them under acceptable conditions and at the earliest time science and technology rather than political and/or economic expediency afford). This is so, because those countries which due partly to their secret nuclear weapons programs are understood to enjoy a considerable lead in related research and development works, are themselves under the respectively strict obligations defined in Article I of the NPT:
54 These apparently contradictory obligations would not seem to carry the same legal weight. This is even more so as the NPT embodies such other noble declarations of intentions in its preamble as the «cessation of the nuclear arms race», «effective measures in the direction of nuclear disarmament» and the «liquidation of their existing stockpiles ... pursuant to a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control».
55 Accordingly, chances for NNWS to reduce the apparent lead of the United States and the Soviet Union and the corresponding dependencies of the NNWS in this field, by way of co-operation arrangements e.g. with US firms and institutes involving the unimpeded exchange of related data, know-how, equipment and material, depend on an authoritative ruling exempting nuclear micro-explosion systems from all NPT restrictions. Unless and until such a ruling is obtained, the NPT would seem to avail itself for conveniently preventing the supply of factually or claimed-to-be-related services, equipments and/or material to any interested NNWS in that the above NPT «obligation» could be invoked whenever circumstances might indicate such a course of action. The related precedents recorded under both the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963 and the NPT are certainly not indicative of a laissez-faire policy on matters of such economic and political significance, any more than are other, more recently recorded unilateral breaches of treaty obligations involving the supply of critically important material.
6. Official Positions on Nuclear Micro-Explosion Systems vs. NPT
56 On the background of the above-mentioned Swiss entry in this field, the USAEC 47 was consulted on the matter last year. In his answer of December 16, 1974, the then AEC General Manager, Dr. John A. Erlewine, managed to evade all point-blank questions elegantly. He referred to the published Hearings of the US Congressional Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, Nov. 10/11, regarding thermonuclear research. He also stated:
THE NPT vs. NUCLEAR ENERGY DEVELOPMENTS 231
58 Such a clarification seems now belately under way. Of course, political factors may figure prominently among the reasons why, until the end of March 1975, the IAEA practically stood aloof of, and refused to take any initiative and much less to develop any measure of leadership on the subject of nuclear micro-explosion systems as may be expected from and befit an international agency with, de facto, different degrees of independence vis-a-vis its member states. And which, incidently, appears to be another candid indication of the degree to which non-nuclear-weapon states can rely on this body for independent, imaginative and relevant guidance on more or less vital nuclear energy matters 48.
59 Even though, the issuing situation where the Agency's director general himself appeared scrambling for guidance on what to expect from, and how to deal with micro-explosion works in relation to IAEA safeguards is seen to have other roots as well. In 1970, the IAEA expressed the view that the safeguards agreement then in the making
232 H. A. KELLER - P. BÄHR - P. B. KALFF
60 In his comment 50 on the respective IAEA report, the author drew attention to apparently relevant developments not linked to safeguards and related techniques. In particular he thus observed, that:
«in the pursuit of a given objective, taking account of technological developments on a given road is patently not enough when scientific and technological progresses in related or entirely unrelated fields may turn that very road into a dead-end street with regard to that objective. For this cardinal reason, the Agency's mandate on NPT safeguarding measures should be defined less in terms of the highest safeguards efficiency science and technology may afford, than in terms of the NPT's overall aim of 'preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices'».61 The author's recommendation then was to broaden the technology outlook far beyond that proposed by the Agency so as to rule out the possibility of being kept ignorant on relevant developments, of eventually being overrun by events and of eventually sitting on a well-oiled, sophisticated and highly cost-efficient, but, hélas, relatively irrelevant safeguards system 51.
62 Although the Australian, Italian, UK, USA and Swiss delegations seemed to underscore this point of the need for dynamic safeguards relevancy at the Safeguards Conference in 1970, the IAEA's final safeguards model provides only that the Agency
«The Agreement should provide that the Parties to same, in the implementation of safeguards pursuant to this Agreement,
1. follow closely, by way of die Agency dissiminate without delay to all other IAEA Member States all knowledge on, and fully take account of all scientific and technological developments which might facilitate the diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices;
2. continuously review the adopted safeguards in light of these developments and eventually adapt, abandon and/or replace those which fail to pass the test of highest relevancy, at the earliest possible date; and
3. take account of technological developments which increase the effectiveness of safeguards including, in particular, developments pertaining to the principle of safeguarding effectively the flow of special fissionable material by use of instruments and other techniques at certain strategic points».
64 On this background, it is not surprising that the first formal introduction of the subject of nuclear micro-explosion systems at the IAEA Board of Governors 53 was not exactly welcomed in all quarters. Yet, the importance promptly attributed to the overdue consideration of this subject by several delegations may be reflected in the sudden haste with which the Agency has felt obliged to try to overcome the consequences of several years of looking in other directions. Thus, by late March 1975, the nuclear-weapon states as well as India, Japan, the Federal Republic of Germany and Switzerland were invited to nominate each an expert for advising the Agency on the nuclear micro-explosion technology and its eventual significance in relation to Agency safeguards.
65 Indeed, the four latter states invited can already fall back on
a few world-renowned authorities in this field. Yet, it is difficult to
see how these specialists will be able in either the hastily convened
two-day or in the likely follow-up meetings to do more than test the
ground for a better-prepared attempt to properly exempt nuclear micro-explosion
systems from all unnecessary NPT restrictions with due consideration of
all relevant factors. For initial indications are that if forced through
the delineation proposals launched by some NWS are on a direct collision
course with what at present are understood
52 INFCIRC/153, op. cit., § 6.
53 Effectuated by the Swiss Governor, Prof. Qaude Zangger; see: GOV/OR. 474, §§ 56-68, session of February 25, 1975.
234 H.A. KELLER - P. BÄHR - P. B. KALFF
to be the NNWS' related vital interests 54. In this security- and economically sensitive field, general agreement on ways and means ascertaining and facilitating the unrestricted exchange of related know-how, material and services would not seem to lay around the corner and indeed may require more patience, understanding for NNWS' related interests and resourcefulness than has been evident in the development of the NPT and the IAEA NPT safeguards.
66 In light of this, it will then be more than interesting for it would seem to be indicative of many important things to follow the IAEA's, the NWS' and the NNWS' related positions and actions, and to see if, how and with which security, political and economic effects the IAEA will administer whatever formula may eventually be adopted for fully or partially exempting nuclear micro-explosion systems from the NPT restrictions.
IV. IN DEFENCE OF EXPANDED SAFEGUARDS MEASURES
67 As discussed elsewhere 55, the NPT entails significant jeopardies with regard to fundamental interests of NNWS. Its assymetric design and structural imbalance concerning the rights and obligations is not conducive to a fair distribution of related burdens and benefits, responsibilities and opportunities between interested NWS and NNWS. How then, could the actually and/or potentially gravely damaging security, political and/or economic consequences of this fait accompli be avoided without undue security risks and without unduly interfering in both sovereign states' internal affairs and their eventual participation in the development and application of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes? The following are seen to be key ingredients for a fruitful search for and development of corresponding solutions:
A clear understanding of every and all NPT obligations undertaken by NWS and NNWS. A clear understanding of the IAEA NPT safeguards provisions. A clear understanding of the national safeguards systems.
THE NPT vs. NUCLEAR ENERGY DEVELOPMENTS 235
68 An analysis of the above-detailed NPT obligations points in the direction of IAEA safeguards encompassing the entire range of NNWS obligations 56. Although entirely compatible with both the letter and the spirit of the NPT, a detailed monitoring of the adherence to some of these obligations could, most significantly, lead to an indirect control of the NPT Nuclear-Weapon States' adherence or lack of it to their related obligations. Indeed, with most nuclear-related benefits expected to eventually accrue to NNWS from or by way of the NPT being covered by NPT obligations applicable to both NNWS and NWS correspondingly, such an instrument might become the most effective single tool for ascertaining the prompt, comprehensive, non-discriminatory and equitable access to these perhaps crucial benefits. For, if NNWS can reasonably be assumed to be effectively deterred from eventually intended non-compliance with their NPT obligations simply «by the risk of early detection», one might assume such risks to entail a similarly high or low effectiveness in the case of obligations undertaken by NPT Nuclear-Weapon States.
A clear understanding of the background for eventual governmental diversions of special fissionable material, A clear understanding of the background for eventual non-governmental diversions of special fissionable material, A clear understanding of the individual states' nuclear energy needs and the underlying factors, dynamics and implications, A clear understanding of the development opportunities, trends and implications in nuclear energy matters.
69 In the course of the above outlined developments, some basic and
some repairable deficiencies in the structure, content and application
of the present international instruments to faciliate and safeguard the
peaceful development of nuclear energy have become evident. A state not
occupying a seat in the governing body of the IAEA would seem to have little
chance to effectively indicate such deficiencies and a non-permanent member
of that exclusive club may be confronted with additional and pursuasive
restraints to always act in the way its related interests would indicate.
This. firm state of affairs gives rise to situations not helpful in and
to the pursuit of the Agency's noble objectives. Serious consideration
of alternative and new approaches to these problems within and without
the given institutions may thus be indicated. One such conceivably acceptable,
viable and effective measure of redress may consist in the setting up of
an Agency- and member-independent, permanent and fully empowered Delegation
of Atlantis at the Board of Governors.
56 Keller, H.A., «Comments ...», op. cit., p. 2-8; see also: comment in footnote 10.
234 H.A. KELLER - P. BÄHR - P. B. KALFF
This delegation would serve and function primarily as an independent conduit for informal and formal testing and introduction of ideas and of information relevant to the Agency's tasks and originating from otherwise inhibited or excluded sources e.g. delegates, individual scientists, scholars or Agency staff members on a, perhaps, anonymous basis 57.
70 Nuclear material, and special fissionable material in particular, appears to have become and to remain for some decades an inseparable companion of industrial and economic development as well as a source conveying unparalleled economic and political power upon the bearer be he factual or believed-to-be. This indicates measures safeguarding the public and society as a whole from abuse, exploitation and threats to the health and life of man, without unduly interfering in the delicate fabric of industrial development and the related world markets.
71 The safeguards developed by the International Atomic Energy Agency for application under the Nonproliferation Treaty are recognized as an attempt to strike such a balance. Unfortunately, they are based on a treaty seen to be poked with inconsistencies, unbalanced rights and obligations and, most important, loop-holes of incredible sizes and implications. Specifically:
The treaty's infamous imbalances do not stop at its parties' rights and obligations themselves key sources of considerable economic and security anxieties but cross the security-sensitive verification border, with the Non-Nuclear-Weapon States required to subject themselves to a system verifying the fulfilment of some of their obligations, while the obligations undertaken by the Nuclear-Weapon States remain totally unchecked. The perfectly fitting complement of the above deficiency consists in the NPT Non-Nuclear-Weapon States' formal permission to import from any capable and willing supplier state , produce on its own, stockpile and use any quantity of even bomb-grade fissionable material, all totally exempt from the IAEA NPT or any other international safeguards, provided this material is declared to be for military purposes. What more is needed to render to a total farce the world-widely supported non-proliferation idea, particularly in light of the apparently forthcoming possibility to economically produce very significant quantities of bomb-grade fissionable material
THE NPT vs. NUCLEAR ENERGY DEVELOPMENTS 217
with new enrichment techniques and/or in the course of an on-going new reactor development?72 In short, the road to nuclear proliferation seems paved with good intentions like the NPT and the IAEA NPT safeguards, the primary effects of which appear to be to convey a false sense of security and to divert our attention from the genuine problems. Certainly, the NPT would not only seem to carry its name with questionable merit, but to embody such appalling deficiencies that one wonders whether some problems have produced a solution or the other way around. Indeed, the possibility may not safely be excluded that the present NPT safeguards will fall dangerously short of their stated aims, with the measures and activities thus generated constituting a potentially tragic, for distracting further exercise in irrelevancy something E. F. Schumacher might also describe as:
On the governmental level significant restraints would seem to have, and to continue to operate effectively against any diversion of nuclear material from safeguarded uses to nuclear weapons or purposes unknown even without any international safeguards at all. On the other hand, some forces operating on the non-governmental level would seem to lack precisely those restraints and, moreover, seem measuring up frighteningly well to the task of acquiring and to disastrous effects exploiting the potential entailed in either the factual or made-believe possession of special fissionable material in particular. Of course, neither the NPT, nor the IAEA NPT safeguards seem to have any claim to even recognize that genuine problem, much less to actually do anything with a view to eventually bring these rapidly growing dangers under effective control. For the IAEA NPT safeguards rely essentially on a deterrence-by-the-risk-of-early-detection assumption, the validity of which is not apparent for eventual non-governmental diversions. The NPT has already proven ineffective to prevent the spread of fission explosion capabilities. Moreover, it is not only by design ineffective to prevent the eventual acquisition of pure-fusion weapon capabilities, but actually diverts eventually existing forces onto this very road. Due mainly to developments partly foreseen already at the time of its birth, the relevancy of these deficiencies has grown since the treaty's coming into force. On the other hand, the security relevancy of its safeguards provisions is thereby seen to be decreasing commensurately.
73 With the IAEA NPT safeguards shown to address themselves only to one set of genuine problems and that, moreover, on what appears to be the wrong level and the wrong means
238 H. A. KELLER - P. BÄHR - P. B. KALFF
corrective steps seem to be indicated. An expansion of these safeguards to cover at least all of the obligations undertaken by NPT Non-Nuclear-Weapon States may constitute such a practical first step. Another step may be directed at eventual non-governmental diversions as a major source of dangers, with corresponding measures entailing, perhaps, a radically new approach to safeguards. The most promising possibility to effectively solve this latter problem is presently seen to rest with integrated nuclear energy systems entailing no transportation and/or storage of special fissionable material.
74 All considered, we find ourselves compelled to inquire whether the NPT in fact will turn out to be more than a costly security farce and if so, whether it is not deficient beyond repairs. Inasmuch as this treaty has been and is likely to remain perhaps unnecessarily excessively wanting, we cannot responsibly argue for its preservation in its present form.
75 But then, again political realities may not yet and anyway not soon enough become conducive to the apparently necessary fundamental reappraisal of the proliferation problem and the safeguards approach to contain it. Accordingly, it may be indicated short of dispairing to try to live with the present IAEA NPT safeguards, with no illusions as to their adequacy for effectively coping with a genuine and urgent problem of growing dimensions. For such a flexible posture might at least afford the effective pursuit of the two NPT-related objectives seen to deserve our all attention most:
77 The failure of the NPT to exempt nuclear micro-explosion systems from its restrictions may be innocent in its origin but will remain so only if it will be corrected accordingly and promptly at that. The boron-hydrogen macro- and micro-explosion systems may still be decades away from reality and the micro-explosion breeder concept has indeed only most
THE NPT vs. NUCLEAR ENERGY DEVELOPMENTS 239
recently been conceived and is only now undergoing serious numerical and system analysis. Accordingly, even under the best of circumstances they are not likely to be commercially available before the late eighties apparently imminent related experimental breakthroughs and corresponding financial supports and program leaps notwithstanding. Yet, and to no small degree, these systems' dates and terms of availability are seen to be determined by the restraints allowed to affect their development. And given their conceivably extraordinary eventual impact on existing and planned nuclear energy programs, numerous nuclear projects in the billion dollar range might unexpectedly prove too early to be second best, uneconomic to run or even entirely obsolete. The very commitments to such projects undertaken between now and then might thus become such a restraint which might prove politically and/or economically irresistable. Failure to interprete the NPT to the effect that it will not, in fact and in law, restrict the development of nuclear micro-explosion reactor systems by and for NNWS would be another such restraint one which might cause opportunity costs to the national economies involved not only in terms of billions of dollars, but huge and moreover perhaps unnecessary ecological loads as well.
78 Of course, the question of nuclear micro-explosions also seems to embody vast security and economic implications, irrespective of whether or not in the event, under the NPT and/or other significant constraints all or some selected Non-Nuclear-Weapon States will be allowed to share the responsibilities and eventual fruits of this exiting new nuclear reactor development. This somewhat sobering assessment issues from the prospect implied above, that a micro-explosion breeder reactor seems to be in the cards which while entailing none of the conventional breeder's vast potential dangers would, on a comparable scale, provide over twenty times the latter's capability to produce special fissionable material. And while the NPT Nuclear-Weapon States, under informal and formal recent prodding, belately may have acknowledged this problem area and the need to resolve these problems under consultations with the Non-Nuclear-Weapon States promptly and satisfactorily, the answer for very important technological and economic reasons must not, in the event, be allowed in the form that only those nuclear micro-explosion systems entailing shots with no more than a few kilograms TNT energy equivalent shall be exempted from some or all NPT restrictions.
79 Finally, failure to clearly and promptly exempt the development of nuclear micro-explosion reactor systems by and for NNWS from all NPT restrictions development and application of indicated alternative security measures notwithstanding would appear to constitute a direct violation of at least the proclaimed spirit, if not indeed the letter (Preamble, Article 4), of this treaty. For such failure could produce a severe, if not
240 H.A. KELLER - P. BÄHR - P.B. KALFF
decisive blow against all independent efforts in this field and raise anew the specter of monopolies in economic key sectors. This is the more so, as there are no overriding reasons why, on security grounds, the NPT should be permitted to apply at all to micro-explosion reactor systems as they, or components thereof, cannot be turned into nuclear weapons any more than conventional nuclear reactors can be.
The potential economic interests involved are too significant for NNWS industries to enter into this field and contribute their resources for its exploration and development as long as the NPT Damokles swords hanging over it are not removed. On the other side of the coin and in all frankness we owe our American friends we must admit that the temptations to invoke this convenient instrument for political and/or economic gains are substantial and not neutralizable by declarations of good intentions alone. Unless, of course, one does not mind the existing factual monopoly in nuclear energy matter to have not only been legally sanctioned by over 100 States, but also to have been expanded significantly by way of the NPT.
Accordingly, it would seem to be timely and well to follow the (former) USAEC's suggestion and to take the matter up on the right levels of the governments concerned. And it would seem to be equally timely and well to draw some consequences from the non-proliferation experiences to-date and from the related developments and opportunities, e.g. as outlined in this report. Setting up the proposed Delegation of Atlantis at the IAEA Board of Governors appears to be just the minimum corrective measure thus indicated. Above and beyond that, the stipulated solution outside conventional frames i.e. the development, among Non-Nuclear-Weapon States primarily, of an entirely new international nuclear energy service 58 involving, perhaps, both macro- and micro-explosion systems and services might also be considered with benefit, at least as a longterm objective.
H. Anton KELLER,
Paul BÄHR and Peter B. KALFF.