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Voluntary Worldwide Efforts to Curb Nuclear Weapons

The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), consisting in a group of nuclear supplier nations, aims “to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of Guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear related exports.” The Guidelines seek “to ensure that nuclear trade for peaceful purposes does not contribute to the proliferation of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices which would hinder international trade and cooperation in the nuclear field. The NSG Guidelines facilitate the development of trade in this area by providing the means whereby obligations to facilitate peaceful nuclear cooperation can be implemented in a manner consistent with international nuclear non-proliferation norms.” Current NSG participating governments are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Republic of Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The US-led Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) prohibits shipments of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, as well as missiles and other materials that could be used to produce weapons of mass destruction, to terrorists and potential country proliferators. When the initiative was announced in 2003, 10 countries, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom, joined the US’s effort to define and promote the regime. Today 80 more countries, including Russia, have committed to this voluntary call to action, intercepting items of proliferation concern at sea, on land and in the air before they reach their final destination.

Launched by the US and Russian presidents in 2006, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism fosters wide cooperation in an international partnership against the acquisition, transportation and use of nuclear materials and radioactive substances.

Granted, the results of these and other efforts are difficult to assess, but such voluntary threat-reduction actions show countries can collaborate in an important area traditionally associated with national sovereignty.

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