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Arms Control Treaties

Physicians for Social Responsibility's Security Program is primarily focused on the development of institutions and treaties to help build the necessary international consensus to move towards global disarmament. This section covers the Strategic Arms Reduction, Comprehensive Test Ban, Non-Proliferation, and Fissile Material Cut-off Treaties which represent steps to PSR's overal goal of the abolition of nuclear weapons. 

PSR work with lawmakers to signal the clear and devestating medical consequences of even the detonation of one of these devices as well as the health risks associated with the production, transportation, and storage of nuclear weapons. Our work centers around spreading awareness of these medical consequences, a robust grassroots program that puts pressure on members of Congress, and building support for these treaties in the general public.

This section includes information on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), and the Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC). The START includes information on this bi-lateral treaty between Russia and the United States that has been used to make reductions in each country's nuclear arsenals in an effort to reduce the two biggest arsenals in the world. The CTBT describes the international effort to ban the testing of nuclear weapons and the urgency for the United States to ratify this Treaty. The NPT is a cornerstone of the nuclear disarmament effort and marks a promise from non-nuclear weapon states not to pursue a nukes program with the understanding that nuclear weapon states will take immediate action to move their country towards disarmament. Finally, the NWC represents an effort to propose an international treaty similar to the Biological Weapons Convention that would outlaw the possession and use of nuclear weapons world-wide.

Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty: The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) was originally signed between the U.S. and Russia on July 31, 1991 and entered into force on December 5, 1994.  START I expired on December 5, 2009.  On April 8, 2010 the New START Treaty was signed in Prague by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.  It will enter into force after ratification by the respective legislative bodies of both countries. The United States’ Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) passed the New START out of committee on September 16, 2010. All Democrat Senators and Republican Senators Lugar, Corker, and Isakson voted in favor of the New START. On December 15th, the US Senate voted 66-32 in favor of bringing New START to the floor of the Senate. On December 22nd, the Senate voted 71-26 in favor of ratifying New START. Text of the New Start treaty

The Comprehensive Text Ban Treaty: The concept of banning nuclear testing originated with arms control advocates in the early 1950’s after over 50 nuclear explosions had been registered between July 1945 and December 1953.  Prime Minister Nehru of India initially proposed the elimination of all nuclear test explosions worldwide, but no treaty was launched as a result of public concern in the context of the Cold War.  Nuclear tests resumed, but in 1961 Physicians for Social Responsibility documented the presence of strontium-90 (a by-product of nuclear tests) in the teeth of children around the world, confirming that nuclear tests pose serious public health dangers. Text of the CTBT

Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty: The proposed Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) would strengthen nuclear non-proliferation norms by adding a binding international commitment to existing constraints on nuclear weapons-usable fissile material. A FMCT would ban the production of fissile materials, principally highly enriched uranium and plutonium, for nuclear weapons purposes although still allowing restricted production for civilian purposes. The FMCT was first discussed in 1946 in the Acheson-Lilienthal Report on the international control of atomic energy and the Baruch Plan. Text of the FMCT

Non Proliferation Treaty: The Non-Proliferation Treaty is the cornerstone of nuclear disarmament policy in the world. The language of the treaty defines the relationship between nuclear and non-nuclear states, aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and places obligations on all parties to make good faith efforts for mutual reductions in nuclear arsenals world-wide. Under the treaty, Nuclear Weapon States are defined as the five states that exploded a nuclear device before January 1, 1967 (United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, and China). Text of the NPT

Nuclear Weapon Convention: The Nuclear Weapons Convention would ban the production, testing, use and possession of nuclear weapons, and establish a timeframe for their elimination. International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) founded the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) which has organized over 200 organizations in 50 countries to sign a pledge for a nuclear weapon free world and pushes the Nuclear Weapons Convention. Text of NWC