Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

The NPT became effective in 1970 and was intended to limit the number of states with nuclear weapons to five: the U.S., the Soviet Union, Britain, France, and China. In doing so, the NPT attempts to: (1) prevent nuclear weapons sales by not assisting other nations with nuclear weapons development; (2) halt the nuclear weapons development programs of non-nuclear weapons states; and (3) promote nuclear disarmament and the peaceful use of nuclear technologies and materials. Over 140 states have pledged not to acquire nuclear weapons and to accept the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency over all their nuclear materials. The treaty, however, is not of indefinite duration. One of the provisions of the treaty was to convene a conference 25 years after entry to decide whether the treaty would continue indefinitely or be extended for a specified time.

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