Ballistic Missiles

Aside from warheads, missile delivery systems are of the greatest concern in seeking to ensure that a meaningful nuclear force cannot be reconstituted quickly. Reductions in strategic nuclear missile numbers should therefore track reductions in warhead numbers closely. The START agreement provisions for verified destruction of launchers and platforms are a possible model for strategic nuclear ballistic missile reductions involving the nuclear weapon states. Missile capabilities in the Middle East, South Asia and on the Korean peninsula also need to be addressed.

The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty concluded in 1972 by the United States and the Soviet Union recognised the potential for strategic missile defence systems to fuel the offensive arms race as both sides sought to counter the other's defensive systems. By limiting strategic missile defence sites to one per side the ABM Treaty removed a strong incentive to increase offensive forces and paved the way for the START I and II reductions.

Proliferation of missiles and their use in conflicts such as the Gulf War have intensified interest, particularly in the United States, in missile defence systems. While Cold War missile defence proposals centred on strategic ballistic missiles, the present focus is on defences against shorter range theatre missiles. In practice it is likely to become increasingly difficult to draw a clear line between systems to defend against strategic ballistic missiles and those which defend against sub- strategic and particularly theatre ballistic missiles. The deployment of some ballistic missile defence systems during the transition to a nuclear weapon free world could threaten seriously the continuation of the process, particularly as technology capabilities in this field vary significantly.

It will be extremely important for the pursuit of the elimination of nuclear weapons to protect fully the integrity of the ABM Treaty. A global treaty controlling longer range ballistic missiles would provide a universal means of addressing the dangers to international security posed by ballistic missiles; it would also avoid the potential destabilising effect of ballistic missile defence systems. It would increase the confidence of nuclear weapon states that nuclear disarmament will not damage their security, and it would improve the security environment in a number of regions by eliminating destabilising missile arms races. Pending development of such a regime, confidence building measures such as a multilateral ballistic missile launch notification agreement and a ballistic missile flight test ban could be explored.

Nuclear Weapon Free Zones

Nuclear weapon free zones are part of the architecture that can usefully encourage and support a nuclear weapon free world. The spread of such zones around the globe, with specific mechanisms to answer the security concerns of each region, can progressively codify the transition to a world free of nuclear weapons.

Nuclear weapon free zones are an effective means of addressing regional nuclear tensions in a cooperative way and provide ongoing assurance that nuclear activity in a region is confined to peaceful purposes. Their potential contribution to global and regional peace and security was reaffirmed at NPTREC which encouraged development of nuclear weapon free zones, especially in regions of tension such as the Middle East, as a matter of priority. There are also proposals for the establishment of such zones in South Asia, in Central Europe and from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea.

The cooperation of the nuclear weapon states is necessary for the maximum effectiveness of nuclear weapon free zones. To increase the likelihood that nuclear weapon states will become party to nuclear weapon free zones they should be consulted early in the negotiation process. Equally, because of the contribution nuclear weapon free zones can make to disarmament and non-proliferation, the nuclear weapon states should support them including through signing nuclear weapon state protocols.

About half of the earth's surface is already covered by nuclear weapon free zones, comprising the Latin American and the Caribbean countries (Treaty of Tlatelolco), the South Pacific (Treaty of Rarotonga), the ASEAN countries (Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone) and African countries (the Treaty of Pelindaba). Once the ASEAN and African agreements come into force, most of the southern hemisphere (and some parts of the northern hemisphere) will be covered by nuclear weapon free zones. The Canberra Commission encourages development of linkages between all existing and prospective southern hemisphere nuclear weapon free zones to create a southern hemisphere free of nuclear weapons.

Nuclear Trade and Export Controls

All states have an obligation to ensure that their nuclear trade does not contribute, wittingly or unwittingly, to nuclear weapons proliferation by either states or sub-state groups. Meeting this obligation is assisted by a common understanding of what items are sensitive in the nuclear proliferation process and has resulted in development of internationally agreed standards for nuclear exports. Such standards support the non- proliferation regime and foster legitimate trade and cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy by contributing to the climate of confidence essential for international nuclear cooperation.

The importance of nuclear export controls is acknowledged in the NPTREC 'Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament'. These state that new supply arrangements should require acceptance of fullscope safeguards 'as a necessary precondition', thereby clearly specifying the fullscope safeguards supply standard as the accepted global norm for nuclear supply. States looking to develop nuclear weapons also need delivery systems, and a close correlation exists between nuclear weapons proliferation and missile proliferation. More broadly, states seeking to develop weapons of mass destruction may try to develop several categories of weapons simultaneously. Effective export controls on items that could contribute to development of non-nuclear weapons of mass destruction are therefore important to establishing and sustaining an international climate favourable to the elimination of nuclear weapons.

It is essential that export control regimes are transparent in their operation and do not impede legitimate trade and technology transfer.

Eliminating Other Weapons of Mass Destruction

The Commission does not accept the view that nuclear weapons need to be retained to serve as a deterrent against other types of weapons of mass destruction, particularly chemical and biological weapons. Implementation of effective measures to eliminate both types of weapons would significantly enhance global security and provide more conducive circumstances for the elimination of nuclear weapons. While there have been longstanding efforts to prohibit both chemical and biological weapons, these efforts have not yet reached the stage where the international community can be confident that the menace of such weapons has been finally removed.

One hundred and sixty countries have signed the Chemical Weapons Convention since it was opened for signature in Paris in January 1993. The CWC will enter into force 180 days after the 65th country has ratified the convention. The CWC promises to be an effective instrument for controlling chemical weapons but will face a variety of challenges when it becomes operational. A key issue will be universality - a number of important countries in the Middle East and in other regions of tension have not yet signed the convention. The two largest possessors of chemical weapons, the US and Russia, have yet to ratify. It will be vital that the CWC achieve comprehensive participation if its promise is to be realised. Signatories which have not yet ratified the CWC should give high priority to ratification, and non-signatories, particularly in regions of tension, should join this new regime as soon as possible.

The 1925 Geneva Protocol sought to ban use of biological weapons, but a more comprehensive ban was established in the Biological Weapons Convention, which came into operation in 1975. The BWC has been hampered by the lack of formal provisions and machinery to verify compliance, a major deficiency which has been underlined by suggestions that a number of countries have maintained programs to develop such weapons despite the convention's provisions. Negotiations to develop a legally binding instrument to reinforce the BWC, which is expected to contain verification provisions, were commenced only in 1995. These negotiations will need to come to an early conclusion to preserve the BWC's value in maintaining a global norm against biological weapons. Assisted by the rapid advance in biotechnology, these weapons, more so than chemical weapons, have the potential to cause damage on a widespread, strategic scale and could become the new scourge for the next century if current arms control efforts are not successful.

Timing Considerations

The Commission considered carefully the merits of setting out a precise timeframe for the elimination of nuclear weapons, but elected not to do so. However, this does not imply that it accepts the extended timelines imposed by such current constraints as limited warhead dismantlement facilities. Those constraints could obviously be relieved by political decisions and the allocation of resources required to advance dismantlement. Another limiting factor may prove to be establishing the necessary confidence in the verification regime which would be required to take the final step to complete elimination. In this context the Canberra Commission remains convinced of the basic importance of agreed targets and guidelines which would drive the process inexorably toward the ultimate objective of final elimination, at the earliest possible time.

Annex A: Verification

The elimination of nuclear weapons will not be possible without the development of adequate verification. A political judgement will be needed on whether the levels of assurance possible from the verification regime are sufficient. All existing arms control and disarmament agreements have required political judgements of this nature because no verification system provides absolute certainty. This situation has not prevented the international community acting in the area of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction first with the Treaty on the Non- Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards system, then the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Nor has it prevented negotiation and implementation of bilateral nuclear arms control agreements including the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty which eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons.

The nature of nuclear weapons, the secrecy that has surrounded their development and uncertainties about total amounts of nuclear material produced for weapons will make it very difficult, or in the view of some impossible, to be confident that states which have operated large scale military nuclear programs have made full declarations of their holdings of nuclear weapons and fissile material.

This potential uncertainty should not deter reductions to small residual arsenals. At that point the verification system can be re-evaluated and the benefits and risks of further reductions compared. Development and implementation of the verification arrangements needed for each step toward elimination will provide immediate benefit through reducing the dangers posed by nuclear weapons and the threat of nuclear proliferation including nuclear terrorism. And a world of small residual arsenals would still be a safer place than the present world although the dangers of nuclear proliferation and a renewed arms race would remain.

Because no verification system can be perfect it is inevitable that some risk will have to be accepted if the wider benefits of a nuclear weapon free world are to be realised. The international community will need to determine the level of risk acceptable. This decision will be influenced by a range of factors, particularly the global circumstances applying when the elimination stage is reached. That the verification system for a nuclear weapon free world will involve a small probability that attempted breakout might go undetected does not alter the fact a nuclear weapon free world would be, fundamentally, a safer place, as Part One of this report makes clear. Furthermore, in an era in which the accuracy, penetrating power, and destructive force of conventional weapons are increasing rapidly, and economic interdependence is growing, the development of an illegal nuclear force would, in all probability, be self-defeating. It is nevertheless essential that there be a wide and politically acceptable level of confidence in the verification system. For this to be achieved the results of verification activities will need to be transparent to the international community both at the level of states and at the public level.

It should be recognised that a verification regime is composed of both its material and technical features, which should be of the highest order attainable, and the common political and legal commitments which support it. This creates the climate of confidence essential to any successful verification regime. Further, an inclusive approach to verification can increase levels of assurance. In the case of verification for a nuclear weapon free world, technical verification can be supplemented by measures such as transparency in nuclear activity, relevant national intelligence information passed to verification bodies, an enhanced role for individuals in verification and application of effective export controls.

A number of factors will assist development of adequate verification arrangements for a nuclear weapon free world. First, the nuclear weapon scientific/industrial complex is a tightly regulated governmental enterprise, so extensive records of nuclear weapons and weapons fissile material production should be available. Second, nearly 30 years of experience has been accumulated in verifying compliance with the NPT, and IAEA safeguards offer a proven and evolving system for delivering a high degree of assurance that safeguarded nuclear material remains in peaceful use. And, third, there is the experience of the SALT, START, INF, CFE and CWC agreements which individually and collectively demonstrate the powerful influence that political will can exert over what is desirable and possible in terms of verification.

The nuclear disarmament process will be progressive with new verification arrangements required at various stages. Because of the importance of adequate verification it is likely that progress with verification will dictate the timetable for the last stages of disarmament. Verification is likely to involve bilateral US/Russian measures, the nuclear weapon states and the IAEA at various stages of the dismantlement and elimination of nuclear weapons. The undeclared nuclear weapon states and threshold states will have to be involved in nuclear disarmament. Verification measures appropriate to these states' nuclear status at that time will have to be applied. Bilateral or regional involvement could be employed as a means of providing additional assurance and confidence building above and beyond international inspections.

This annex concentrates on measures which may make up a verification regime to provide assurance that states are complying with nuclear disarmament obligations. In addition, it is of crucial importance that there be very high physical security against diversion or theft of nuclear weapons, fissile material (whether of military or civil origin) and nuclear weapon non-nuclear components and materials. A breakdown in physical security could result in nuclear weapons, nuclear material or components coming into the possession of would-be proliferator states or sub-state groups, including terrorists which would jeopardise the disarmament process. Nuclear disarmament will at various stages of the process involve monitored storage of weapons and weapons components including fissile material. It is imperative that the highest standards of physical security be applied to such items and material. Consideration of how this can best be achieved should form part of the nuclear disarmament process.

Developmental work on verification arrangements should begin soon to ensure that movement toward a nuclear weapon free world is not delayed by lack of adequate verification.

The political commitment to eliminate nuclear weapons must be matched by a willingness to make available the resources needed for nuclear disarmament, including for effective verification. The amounts involved are likely to be considerable, especially for the dismantlement of weapons and disposition of their fissile material content, but very much less than developing, maintaining and upgrading nuclear arsenals.

This annex does not seek to be a definitive plan for the verification arrangements for a nuclear weapon free world. Its purpose is to identify some of the issues which will need to be addressed and to offer some comments on these issues. Questions of the mechanisms for applying the verification arrangements are mostly left open as it will be for the countries concerned and the international community as a whole to define these as the process unfolds.

Verification Tasks

The disarmament process will be progressive with new verification arrangements required at various stages. Few facilities in the nuclear weapon states are safeguarded at present and a number of other states operate unsafeguarded fissile material production facilities. The first stage of extending safeguards in these states is likely to be verification of facilities and material covered by a convention to end fissile material production for weapons. Systems will be needed to verify that nuclear warheads are dismantled and destroyed and that their fissile material content cannot be reintroduced to weapons use. To ensure that a nuclear force of strategic significance cannot be reconstituted quickly, a staged process for verified destruction of the nuclear weapons infrastructure is likely to be considered necessary. An intrusive inspection regime and new techniques will be needed to ensure a high probability that significant undeclared nuclear activity would be detected. Development of verification arrangements for each step toward a nuclear weapon free world will, in addition, be of immediate benefit to the existing non-proliferation regime.

Verifying the 'completeness' of declared stocks of warheads and fissile material will be a crucial and difficult operation. The IAEA has expertise in verifying declarations of previously unsafeguarded nuclear programs including its work in Iraq, the DPRK and South Africa after that country renounced nuclear weapons. The extent to which this is transferable to the very large military programs of the nuclear weapon states is to be established.

Another problem for a verification regime lies in the physical characteristics of current nuclear weapons and the fissile materials that are used in the core of the weapon. Many weapons are small, readily transported and readily concealed. The fissile material cores are smaller and thus even more easily concealed. While radiation emitted from these cores can be detected at close range, it is not clear that they would always be detected if in properly shielded storage facilities, even through environmental sampling. However, nuclear weapons in storage deteriorate with time and the ongoing maintenance needed for a secret cache of weapons would carry a risk of exposure or detection.

If a nuclear weapon free world is to be credible and stable, it clearly will have to place prohibitions on much more than just weapons. Irreversibility of nuclear disarmament will also require verified elimination or conversion to exclusively civil use of the facilities used to develop and construct nuclear weapons and dedicated nuclear delivery vehicles. In the transitional period some of the facilities used to develop and construct weapons are likely to be needed to dismantle them, so the nuclear weapon states will need to keep a part of their plant operational until the very last items in the residual stockpiles are disassembled.

Confidence to move to the final elimination phase would be enhanced if by that time all delivery vehicles built primarilyfor nuclear weapons are eliminated, leaving only the residual arsenals of bombs or warheads in monitored storage. It is therefore important that verified elimination of such delivery vehicles occurs in tandem with elimination of nuclear warheads. Means could be devised to make the removal of any weapons from monitored storage and their installation on improvised delivery vehicles as difficult and time-consuming as possible.

Other components which play an important role in nuclear weapons such as tritium should also be subject to a verification regime. Non- nuclear components of a weapon may also need to be taken into account. These are a collection of diverse materials: plastics, metals, chemical high-explosives and also extremely sophisticated electronics and various other items all organised inside the weapon to produce the optimum explosive output from the fissile material. These non-nuclear parts are in some cases made in or near the final assembly facility, but others come from far away, from specialised workshops or enterprises most of whose output may be civilian.

Measures must be taken to preclude leakage of sensitive information during the dismantlement process. Practical options for doing this include requiring states which own nuclear weapons to dismantle them within a containment boundary with monitored inputs and outputs. It may also be possible for international inspectors to estimate, with sufficient accuracy, the fissile material content of the stored fissile material 'pits' from dismantled nuclear warheads without revealing sensitive information. This will depend on a judgement of what constitutes sufficient accuracy and what would be reasonable assumptions about the measures that might be used to defeat such verification.

In the transition to a nuclear weapon free world it will be important to find the right balance between bilateral (US/Russia), plurilateral (nuclear weapon states) and appropriate international inspection of nuclear material made excess to military requirements. Bilateral and plurilateral inspections may be less transparent in the assurance they offer to the non-nuclear weapon states than international inspections. But bilateral or plurilateral inspections may be considered preferable for the verification of material in sensitive forms. The transparency issue could be addressed by the nuclear weapon states perhaps as part of increased accountability at NPT meetings. In areas of regional nuclear tension, bilateral or regional involvement in inspections on nuclear facilities and in monitoring the dismantlement of any nuclear weapons could be employed as a means of providing additional assurance and confidence building above and beyond international inspections.

Canberra Commission Report Continued

Proposition One