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Balancing the Three Pillars of the NPT: How can Promoting Peaceful Uses Help?

Publisher: SIPRI
SIPRI, Stockholm:
May, 2022

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is the cornerstone of the non-proliferation regime and the centrepiece of global efforts to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and further the goal of general and complete nuclear disarmament. Although there is no implementation body for the NPT, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been entrusted with key verification responsibilities under Article III of the treaty, where it plays an important role in achieving the objectives under Article IV to foster international cooperation for peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

This paper argues that peaceful uses of science, technology and applications have an important role to play in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Noting that the European Union (EU) is the biggest donor of development assistance, the paper suggests that the EU enhance its contribution to peaceful uses of nuclear science, technology and applications through supporting the IAEA’s technical cooperation activities. This will contribute to delivering the EU’s non-proliferation goals, thus strengthening global human security.


I. Introduction

II. Overview of the global landscape

III. Pillar III and the role of the IAEA

IV. The European Union: Position and strategies 

V. Increasing the EU’s contribution to peaceful uses and to the IAEA

VI. Conclusions


Ingrid Kirsten is a Senior Research Associate at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP).
Mara Zarka is a Research Associate and Project Manager at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP).