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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. President Dwight Eisenhower officially proposed a cutoff in 1956, a suggestion the Soviets opposed until January 1989, when Mikhail Gorbachev first supported the idea. At the time, President George H.W. Bush rejected the proposal for fear of undermining the U.S. nuclear deterrent. President Obama has signaled his support for the FMCT and would be an essential component to his administration's goal of securing all loose fissile material in four years.

An FMCT is essential to a non-proliferation agenda as it would help reduce the risk of these materials becoming available in sufficient quantities for terrorists or rogue states being able to construct their own nuclear device. The FMCT would also be a step towards curbing the already bloated stockpiles of HEU and plutonium that could be used to create new nuclear devices in the future. This treaty, combined with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and Non-Proliferation Treaty start to build the necessary international coalition for the disarmament of nuclear weapons world-wide.

Researcher Corner

Global Fissile Material Report 2009 - The International Panel on Fissile Materials publishes an annual report on the state of fissile materials around the world. This is an in-depth and scientific look at both the problem and the possible solutions to securing loose nuclear material world-wide.

Fissile Material Working Group - Many organizations, including Physicians for Social Responsibility, particpate in this Working Group that contains shared resources and information on our collective push to reduce this threat.

With thanks to the author and the Threat Convergence Journal, we repost Dr. Elizabeth (Libby) Turpen's article "Sustainable Nuclear Security: A Holistic Approach to Address Risk Convergence."

Libby, who from 2001 to 2009 was the co-director of the “Cooperative Nonproliferation Program” at the Stimson Center, reminds us that when working to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world, “The challenge is vast and time is of the essence.”

Read her thought provoking piece and join our ongoing efforts to enhance our security.

For more information on the Threat Convergence Journal, click here.

Action Alerts

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  • Dr. Ira Helfand Speaks at the UN

    Dr. Ira Helfand spoke before the Untied Nations General Assembly on September 10, 2015 as part of a panel addressing the pursuit of a nuclear weapons free world. Read more »

  • Video: We Have an Iran Deal! Now What?

    Watch PSR Security Program's latest webinar to understand the details of the Iran Deal and what you can do to keep the deal safe from Congress. Featuring speaker Kelsey Davenport, Arms Control Association. Read more »

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