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The breakup of the Soviet Union left a cold war nuclear legacy consisting of tens of thousands of nuclear weapons and a sprawling infrastructure for their production and maintenance. This book examines the fate of this vast nuclear weapon complex and the unprecedented non-proliferation challenges associated with the breakup of a nuclear weapon state. It describes the high-level diplomatic bargaining efforts to consolidate in Russia the nuclear weapons based in newly independent Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine and to strengthen central control over these weapons. It surveys the problems associated with dismantling nuclear weapons and the difficulties involved in safely storing and disposing of large stockpiles of fissile material. It reviews the key provisions of the principal nuclear arms control measures and initiatives, including the START I and START II treaties. Finally, the book assesses the contribution of international assistance programmes to the denuclearization process underway in the former Soviet Union.
Highlights and key conclusions of the book
The nuclear disarmament process in the former Soviet Union is taking place in a political and social framework that is far from stable.
The denuclearization assistance provided by the USA and other countries to the former Soviet Union represents only a tiny fraction of their annual defence outlays.
A division of labour between wealthy non-nuclear weapon and nuclear weapon states could be envisaged whereby:
The European Union, as a whole, and its non-nuclear weapon state members in particular, are well-suited to provide crucial assistance in a range of areas:
No effort should be spared to make the fissile materials extracted from nuclear warheads as impervious as possible to recycling into the manufacture of new explosive devices.
A verified global inventory of nuclear warheads and fissile material should be established as soon as possible.
2. Consolidating the nuclear arsenal
3. Controlling the nuclear arsenal
4. Running the dismantlement pipeline
5. Preventing a 'brain drain' from the nuclear weapon complex
6. Preventing leakage of fissile materials and other weapon components
7. Arms control and nuclear weapons in the FSU
8. International denuclearization assistance to the FSU
Annexe A. Selected technical terms and relevant quantities concerning nuclear explosive materials
Annexe B. Documentation on nuclear arms control
Annexe C. British, Chinese, French and US strategic nuclear forces