The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts
Story 2: The Scandal of H-1B Visas — The Outsourcing Of American Jobs To Foreign Workers — End The Cheap Labor Racket — Abolish H-1B Visas — Videos
Obama Admin Gives Company H-1B Workers To Replace Its American Workers
ABC10: American Workers Hurt By H-1B Visa Program
U.S. Worker Replaced By Lower-Cost Foreign Worker Makes Impassioned Plea To Senators
Sessions Details Case Of American Tech Workers Being Forced To Train Their Guest-Worker Replacements
Professor Salzman Testifies At Hearing On Protecting High-Skilled American Workers
ITIF Debate: Is There a STEM Worker Shortage?
The issue of high skill immigration is receiving increased attention as Congress considers comprehensive immigration legislation. Underlying this issue is an ongoing debate surrounding the U.S. labor market for high-skill workers, including those in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. The key policy questions being discussed include: is there a shortage of STEM workers in the U.S. economy; is the U.S. education system producing enough STEM graduates with requisite STEM education; and does high-skill immigration negatively affect the domestic supply of STEM talent?
ITIF will host a lively debate on this critical policy issue. Robert Atkinson, President of ITIF, and Jonathan Rothwell, an Associate Fellow at the Brookings Institution, will argue that the United States does face a STEM worker shortage, which is hampering the development of the innovation economy, and high-skill immigration should be used as a tool to address the skills gap. Hal Salzman, Professor of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University and Ron Hira, Associate Professor of Public Policy at Rochester Institute of Technology, will counter that the country is not experiencing a STEM shortage, and increased immigration will simply exacerbate unemployment and hurt U.S. workers. The debate will be moderated by Kevin Finneran, editor of the National Academies’ Issues in Science and Technology.
Sen. Cruz Amendment to Immigration Legislation to Increase H-1B Visas
Sen Ted Cruz Wants to DOUBLE Immigration
Bjorn Billhardt testifies to Senate Judiciary Committee
Experts: Proposed Guest Worker Expansions Would Let Tech Companies Import 100% Of New Hires
Attorney For Displaced Tech Workers: H-1B Increase Would Put Countless More Americans Out Of Work
Professor Hira Testifies At Hearing On Protecting High-Skilled American Workers
Ron Hira – Domestic IT & BPO Sourcing Can Generate Good American Jobs: The Role for Policy
Ron Hira Associate Professor of Public Policy at Rochester Institute of Technology, Research Associate at Economic Policy Institute and co-author of the book, Outsourcing America, giving the opening keynote at Momentum 2013
MidPoint | Ron Hira discusses his column in The Hill calling the H-1B visa the “Outsourcing Visa.”
Ron Hira on H1B Immigration Visas Current Debate – Point of View
The Future of American Jobs – A Discussion about Outsourcing
Reality of H-1B
Bill Gates Asks Senate For Infinite Number Of H 1B Visas
Lou Dobbs on Post Docs & PhDs Being Paid Peanuts & Exploited Through H-1B
Outsourcing America – Sen Byron Jorgan
LOU DOBBS TONIGHT 04.05.07 – H1B Visa Abuse
H-1B Work Visas: Basic Requirements
Silenced workers who lost jobs to H-1B visa abuse (quietly) speak out
The Senate Judiciary Committee recently held a hearing into abuses of the H-1B skilled guest worker visa program. Lawmakers heard experts describe how the use of foreign workers has come to dominate the IT industry, with many tech giants using the program to fire well-paid current workers and replace them with workers from abroad at significantly lower pay.
“The current system to bring in high-skill guest workers … has become primarily a process for supplying lower-cost labor to the IT industry,” two experts who testified at the hearing, Howard University’s Ron Hira and Rutgers’ Hal Salzman, wrote recently. “Although a small number of workers and students are brought in as the ‘best and brightest,’ most high-skill guest workers are here to fill ordinary tech jobs at lower wages.”
Exhibit A in the abuse of H-1Bs was the case of Southern California Edison, which recently got rid of between 400 and 500 IT employees and replaced them with a smaller force of lower-paid workers brought in from overseas through the H-1B program. The original employees were making an average of about $110,000 a year, the committee heard; the replacements were brought to Southern California Edison by outsourcing firms that pay an average of between $65,000 and $75,000.
“Simply put, the H-1B program has become a cheap labor program,” Hira, author of the bookOutsourcing America, testified. “To add insult to injury, Southern California Edison forced its American workers to train their H-1B replacements as a condition of receiving their severance packages.”
It was a powerful presentation, especially in light of the fact that many Republicans and Democrats in Congress do not want to address abuses of the H-1B problem but rather want to greatly increase the number of H-1B visa workers allowed into the United States.
But one voice was missing from the hearing, and that was the voice of laid-off workers. That was no accident. In addition to losing their jobs and being forced to train their foreign replacements, many fired workers are required to sign non-disparagement agreements as a condition of their severance. They are workers with families and bills to pay, and they are told that if they do not agree to remain silent, they will be terminated with cause, meaning they will receive no severance pay or other benefits and will face an even tougher search for a new job and a continued career. So they remain silent.
A longtime feature of the Capitol Hill hearing into this or that unfair practice is to hear from the victims of this or that unfair practice. The IT industry has worked to make sure that does not happen in the case of H-1B visa abuse. Still, the Judiciary Committee managed to receive testimonials from four laid-off workers, three from Southern California Edison and one from another company. So to flesh out the H-1B story with the perspective of those who are actually paying the price when H-1B visas are used to displace American workers, here are their anonymous testimonials:
My former company, a large utility company, replaced 220 American IT workers with H-1Bs…we would have to train them in order to receive our severance packages. This was one of the most humiliating situations that I have ever been in as an IT professional.
The whole IT department was going through the same fate as myself. Those were the longest and hardest five months of my life. Not only did I lose a work family, but I lost my job and my self-esteem. We had constant emails sent by HR that we could not talk about this situation to anyone or make posts to social media. If we did, we would be fired immediately and not get our severance.
We had jobs and there was no shortage of skilled labor that would make it necessary to bring in H-1Bs. We were let go and replaced by foreign workers who certainly weren’t skilled to take our positions.
I am an IT professional and worked for Southern California Edison for over two decades. I was a loyal employee and always received outstanding reviews. A foreign worker with a H-1B visa recently replaced me.
I am the sole provider of my children. Due to a disability, finding employment at the same wage and with a work modification will be very difficult…It is an ominous possibility that in five years or less I may have no assets, suffer from severe pain and will need to go on full disability with a catastrophic decrease in income. The loss of my job may rob me of a secure retirement.
My layoff has made my children fearful of their future and the security of their home. If I stay in the IT field I run a high risk of again being replaced by a foreign worker.
It’s a farce teaching our kids STEM when the government is permitting U.S. companies to abuse the H-1B visa program, which allows foreigners to take these future jobs from them.
I voted for President Obama and was appalled that he implemented a rule change, which allows work permits to H-1B spouses. My future votes will only go to candidates that support reforms to the H-1B visa program that preserve the American worker.
I started working at Southern California Edison several decades ago. SCE was a company that many people started with at a young age, could work there through their lifetimes, and retire with a good pension and benefits. That was my plan. And I would have been able to do exactly that — until an executive announced a couple years ago that my department was going to be outsourced.
We were forced to train the less qualified foreign workers hired to take our jobs.
Over 400 hardworking, intelligent people have lost their jobs due to the H-1B visa program. Many of us, and countless more like us, face enormous hurdles to find new jobs — why would companies want to hire us when they can hire cheaper workers on the H-1B visa to do our jobs for us?
As longtime employees we loved the work we were doing and the people we were working with. We did a great job. Our work mattered. The work we performed was instrumental in building a world-class business unit.
Through no fault of my own my job was just given to someone else with a lot less experience, knowledge and skills, lowering my standard of living and raising theirs so Edison could save a few dollars and reward stockholders with a few more pennies on their dividends.
I and most of my co-workers are completely disgusted that Edison can fire us and replace us with foreign workers, abusing the H1-B program. We cannot understand how the CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission), Governor and Congress, President and media can all ignore this abuse and just pretend it doesn’t matter. It’s as if we no longer matter or have value as human beings or American citizens.
It’s certainly true that other workers in other industries have lost jobs because companies wanted to cut costs. Highly-paid middle-aged workers have been replaced by younger employees working for less. That can be an unhappy fact of life in today’s economy. But in the case of H-1Bs, the federal government is expressly giving a special permit to foreign workers — actually, to large outsourcing firms that use H-1Bs to bring those workers to the U.S. — in order to displace American workers. And now many lawmakers in both parties — their task made simpler by the enforced silence of fired and angry workers — want even more H-1Bs. Is that something the government should do?
As tech giant calls for more foreign workers, Senate hears of displaced Americans
Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, believes passionately that the United States needs more skilled foreign workers. He has long advocated increasing the number of so-called H-1B visas, which allow those workers to come to the U.S. for several years and, in many cases, work for lower wages than current employees. Schmidt is frustrated that Congress hasn’t done as he and other tech moguls want.
“In the long list of stupid policies of the U.S. government, I think our attitude toward immigration has got to be near the top,” Schmidt said during an appearance this week at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. “Everyone actually agrees that there should be more H-1B visas in order to create more tech, more science, more analytical jobs. Everyone agrees, in both parties.”
The Eric Schmidt pleading for more foreign workers is the same Eric Schmidt who boasts of turning away thousands upon thousands of job seekers who apply for a few prized positions at Google. For example, at an appearance in Cleveland last October to promote his book, How Google Works, Schmidt explained that his company receives at least 1,000 applications for every job opening. “The good news is that we have computers to do the initial vetting,” Schmidt explained, according to an account in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Other tech leaders join Schmidt in calling for more foreign workers. Some companies are actually lobbying for more H-1Bs and laying off American staff at the same time. For example, last year Microsoft announced the layoff of 18,000 people at the very moment it was pushing Congress for more guest worker visas.
Given all that, there’s not quite the unanimous agreement on the need for more foreign workers that Schmidt claims. At a hearing this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, a number of experts testified that the H-1B program, so sought-after by CEOs, is being abused to harm American workers.
Ron Hira, a Howard University professor and author of the book Outsourcing America, told the story of Southern California Edison, which recently got rid of 500 IT employees and replaced them with a smaller force of lower-paid workers brought in from overseas through the H-1B program. The original employees were making an average of about $110,000 a year, Hira testified; the replacements were brought to Southern California Edison by outsourcing firms that pay an average of between $65,000 and $75,000.
“To add insult to injury,” Hira said, “SCE forced its American workers to train their H-1B replacements as a condition of receiving their severance packages.”
Hira testified that such situations are not unusual. And on the larger issue of whether there is, as many tech executives claim, a critical shortage of labor in what are called the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — another professor, Hal Salzman of Rutgers, testified that the shortage simply does not exist.
“The U.S. supply of top-performing graduates is large and far exceeds the hiring needs of the STEM industries, with only one of every two STEM graduates finding a STEM job,” Salzman testified. “The guest worker supply is very large [and] it is highly concentrated in the IT industry, leading to both stagnant wages and job insecurity.”
The hearing also featured Jay Palmer, a former Infosys project manager who blew the whistle on a case in which the big outsourcing firm paid $34 million in fines for worker visa violations. “I watched this on a daily basis,” Palmer told the Judiciary Committee. “I sat in the offices in meetings with companies that displaced American workers only because the Americans who had been there 15 or 20 years were being paid too much money.”
So not everyone agrees with Schmidt on the need for more H-1B workers. Certainly not the laid-off IT employees at Southern California Edison. And not the workers reportedly displaced by similar practices at Disney, Harley Davidson, Cargill, Pfizer and other companies. Who knows? Maybe some of those workers have been among the 1,000-plus who apply for every Google opening.
To hear the witnesses before the Senate Judiciary Committee tell it, Congress needs to act — not to increase the number of H-1Bs but to close the loopholes that allow them to be so badly abused at such a cost to American workers. “Congress and multiple administrations have inadvertently created a highly lucrative business model of bringing in cheaper H-1B workers to substitute for Americans,” Hira told the committee. “Simply put, the H-1B program has become a cheap labor program.”
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(a)(15)(H). It allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. If a foreign worker in H-1B status quits or is dismissed from the sponsoring employer, the worker must either apply for and be granted a change of status to another non-immigrant status, find another employer (subject to application for adjustment of status and/or change of visa), or leave the U.S.
The regulations define a “specialty occupation” as requiring theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor including but not limited to biotechnology, chemistry, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, law, accounting, business specialties, theology, and the arts, and requiring the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent as a minimum (with the exception of fashion models, who must be “of distinguished merit and ability”). Likewise, the foreign worker must possess at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and state licensure, if required to practice in that field. H-1B work-authorization is strictly limited to employment by the sponsoring employer.
Structure of the program
Duration of stay
The duration of stay is three years, extendable to six years. An exception to maximum length of stay applies in certain circumstances
- If a visa holder has submitted an I-140 immigrant petition or a labor certification prior to their fifth year anniversary of having the H-1B visa, they are entitled to renew their H-1B visa in one-year or three-year increments until a decision has been rendered on their application for permanent residence.
- If the visa holder has an approved I-140 immigrant petition, but is unable to initiate the final step of the green card process due to their priority date not being current, they may be entitled to a three-year extension of their H-1B visa. This exception originated with the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000.
- The maximum duration of the H-1B visa is ten years for exceptional United States Department of Defense project related work.
H-1B holders who want to continue to work in the U.S. after six years, but who have not obtained permanent residency status, must remain outside of the U.S. for one year before reapplying for another H-1B visa. Despite a limit on length of stay, no requirement exists that the individual remain for any period in the job the visa was originally issued for. This is known as H-1B portability or transfer, provided the new employer sponsors another H-1B visa, which may or may not be subjected to the quota. Under current law, H-1B visa has no stipulated grace period in the event the employer-employee relationship ceases to exist.
Congressional yearly numerical cap and exemptions
The current law limits to 65,000 the number of foreign nationals who may be issued a visa or otherwise provided H-1B status each fiscal year (FY). Laws exempt up to 20,000 foreign nationals holding a master’s or higher degree from U.S. universities from the cap on H-1B visas. In addition, excluded from the ceiling are all H-1B non-immigrants who work at (but not necessarily for) universities, non-profit research facilities associated with universities, and government research facilities. Universities can employ an unlimited number of foreign workers as cap-exempt. This also means that contractors working at but not directly employed by the institutions may be exempt from the cap as well. Free Trade Agreements carve out 1,400 H-1B1 visas for Chilean nationals and 5,400 H-1B1 visas for Singapore nationals. However, if these reserved visas are not used, then they are made available in the next fiscal year to applicants from other countries. Due to these unlimited exemptions and roll-overs, the number of H-1B visas issued each year is significantly more than the 65,000 cap, with 117,828 having been issued in FY2010, 129,552 in FY2011, and 135,991 in FY2012.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services starts accepting applications on the first business day of April for visas that count against the fiscal year starting in October. For instance, H-1B visa applications that count against the FY 2013 cap could be submitted starting from Monday, 2012 April 2. USCIS accepts H-1B visa applications no more than 6 months in advance of the requested start date. Beneficiaries not subject to the annual cap are those who currently hold cap-subject H-1B status or have heldcap-subject H-1B status at some point in the past six years.
Tax status of H-1B workers
The taxation of income for H-1B employees depends on whether they are categorized as either non-resident aliens or resident aliens for tax purposes. A non-resident alien for tax purposes is only taxed on income from the United States, while a resident alien for tax purposes is taxed on all income, including income from outside the US.
The classification is determined based on the “substantial presence test“: If the substantial presence test indicates that the H-1B visa holder is a resident, then income taxation is like any other U.S. person and may be filed using Form 1040 and the necessary schedules; otherwise, the visa-holder must file as a non-resident alien using tax form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ; he or she may claim benefit from tax treaties if they exist between the United States and the visa holder’s country of citizenship.
Persons in their first year in the U.S. may choose to be considered a resident for taxation purposes for the entire year, and must pay taxes on their worldwide income for that year. This “First Year Choice” is described in IRS Publication 519 and can only be made once in a person’s lifetime. A spouse, regardless of visa status, must include a valid Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or Social Security number (SSN) on a joint tax return with the H-1B holder.
Tax filing rules for H-1B holders may be complex, depending on the individual situation. Besides consulting a professional tax preparer knowledgeable about the rules for foreigners, the IRS Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens, may be consulted. Apart from state and federal taxes, H-1B visa holders pay Medicare and Social Security taxes, and are eligible for Social Security benefits.
H-1B and legal immigration
Even though the H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa, it is one of the few visa categories recognized as dual intent, meaning an H-1B holder can have legal immigration intent (apply for and obtain the green card) while still a holder of the visa. In the past the employment-based green card process used to take only a few years, less than the duration of the H-1B visa itself. However, in recent times the legal employment-based immigration process has backlogged and retrogressed to the extent that it now takes many years for guest-work visa holders from certain countries to obtain green cards. Since the duration of the H-1B visa hasn’t changed, this has meant that many more H-1B visa holders must renew their visas in one or three-year increments for continued legal status while their green card application is in process.
Dependents of H-1B visa holders
H-1B visa holders can bring immediate family members (spouse and children under 21) to the U.S. under the H4 Visa category as dependents. An H4 Visa holder may remain in the U.S. as long as the H-1B visa holder retains legal status. An H4 visa holder is not eligible to work or get a Social Security number (SSN). However, a DHS ruling made on Feb 24, 2015 provides certain H4 visa holders with eligibility to work, starting May 26, 2015. An H4 Visa holder may attend school, get a driver’s license, and open a bank account in the U.S. To claim a dependent on a tax return or file a joint tax return, the dependent must obtain an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN), which is only used for tax filing purposes.
When an H-1B worker goes outside of U.S. for vacation, he or she has to get the visa stamped on his passport unless he has already done so for re-entry in the United States. The interview is taken in U.S. Embassy by a visa officer. In some cases, H-1B workers can be required to undergo “administrative processing”, involving extra, lengthy background checks. Under current rules, these checks are supposed to take ten days or less, but in some cases, have lasted years.
Evolution of the program
Changes in the cap, number of applications received, and numbers of applications approved vs. visas issued
During the early 1990s, the cap was rarely reached. By the mid-1990s, however, the allocation tended fill each year on a first come, first served basis, resulting in frequent denials or delays of H-1Bs because the annual cap had been reached. In 1998, the cap increased to 115,000.
American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 (Hatch-Abraham-Gramm; PL106-313 sections102 and 103; 114 Stat 1251; enacted 2000-10-03; signed by Bill Clinton 2000-10-17) granted government functionaries amnesty for over-shooting the H-1B limit by 22,500 in FY1999 and by about 30,000 in FY2000; temporarily increased H-1B “cap”/”limit” to 195K for FY2001 through FY2003; exempted all individuals being hired by institutions of higher education, as well as non-profit and government-research organizations, from the cap, and § 105, 114 Stat. 1253 permitted portability, i.e. employer/sponsor change.
The H-1B Visa Reform Act of 2004 mandated that, “…the first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of aliens with U.S.-earned masters’ or higher degrees will be exempt from any fiscal year cap…” Additionally, universities, nonprofit research organizations affiliated with universities, and governmental research organizations are exempt from the H-1B cap. For all other new H-1B applicants, the congressionally mandated H-1B visa cap is 65,000 annually.
For FY2007, with applications accepted from 2006 April 1, the entire quota of visas for the year was exhausted within a span of 2 months on May 26, well before the beginning of the financial year concerned. The additional 20,000 Advanced Degree H-1B visas were exhausted on July 26.
For FY2008, the entire quota was exhausted before the end of the first day that applications were accepted, April 2. Under USCIS rules, the 123,480 petitions received on April 2 and April 3 that were subject to the cap were pooled, and then 65,000 of these were selected at random for further processing. The additional 20,000 Advanced Degree H-1B visas for FY2008 was exhausted on April 30.
For FY2009, USCIS announced on 2008 April 8, that the entire quota for visas for the year had been reached, for both 20,000 Advanced and the 65,000 quota. USCIS would complete initial data entry for all filing received during 2008 April 1 to April 7, before running the lottery, while 86,300 new visas were approved.
For FY2010, USCIS announced on 2009 December 21, that enough petitions were received to reach that year’s cap.
For FY2011, USCIS announced on 2011 January 27, that enough petitions were received to reach that year’s cap on January 26.
For FY2015, USCIS announced on 2014 April 10 that received about 172,500 H-1B petitions during the filing period which began April 1, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption.
Numbers of applications approved
The applications received are evaluated by USCIS, and some subset are approved each year. It is possible for an individual to file multiple applications, for multiple job opportunities with a single employer/sponsor or with multiple employer/sponsors. It is possible for an individual applicant to have multiple applications approved and to be able to choose which one to take.
In its annual report on H-1B visas, released in 2006 November, USCIS stated that it approved 130,497 H-1B visa applications in FY2004 (while 138,965 new visas were issued through consular offices) and 116,927 in FY2005 (while 124,099 new visas were issued via consular offices).
In FY2008, a total of 276,252 visa applications (109,335 initial, 166,917 renewals and extensions) were approved, and 130,183 new initial visas were issued through consular offices.
In FY2009, 214,271 visas were approved, with 86,300 being for initial employment, and 127,971 being for continued employment) and 110,988 initial H-1B visas were issued from consular offices.
In FY2010, 192,990 new visas were approved, with 76,627 being for initial employment and 116,363 being for continuing employment. 117,828 new visas were issued through consular offices
In FY2011, 269,653 new visas were approved, with 106,445 being for initial employment and 163,208 being for continued employment. 129,552 new visas were issued through consular offices.
In FY2012, 262,569 new visas were approved with 136,890 being for initial employment and 125,679 being for continued employment.
American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000
The American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 (AC21) and the U.S. Department of Labor’s PERM system for labor certification erased most of the earlier claimed arguments for H-1Bs as indentured servants during the green card process. With PERM, labor certification processing time is now approximately 9 months (as of Mar 2010).
Because of AC21, the H-1B employee is free to change jobs if they have an I-485 application pending for six months and an approved I-140, and if the position they move to is substantially comparable to their current position. In some cases, if those labor certifications are withdrawn and replaced with PERM applications, processing times improve, but the person also loses their favorable priority date. In those cases, employers’ incentive to attempt to lock in H-1B employees to a job by offering a green card is reduced, because the employer bears the high legal costs and fees associated with labor certification and I-140 processing, but the H-1B employee is still free to change jobs.
However, many people are ineligible to file I-485 at the current time due to the widespread retrogression in priority dates. Thus, they may well still be stuck with their sponsoring employer for many years. There are also many old labor certification cases pending under pre-PERM rules.
Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008
The Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008, which, among other issues, federalizes immigration in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, stipulates that during a transition period, numerical limitations do not apply to otherwise qualified workers in the H visa category in the CNMI and Guam.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
On Feb. 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (“stimulus bill”), Public Law 111-5. Section 1661 of the ARRA incorporates the Employ American Workers Act (EAWA) by Senators Sanders (I-Vt.) and Grassley (R-Iowa) to limit certain banks and other financial institutions from hiring H-1B workers unless they had offered positions to equally or better-qualified U.S. workers, and to prevent banks from hiring H-1B workers in occupations they had laid off U.S. workers from. These restrictions include:
- The employer must, prior to filing the H-1B petition, take good-faith steps to recruit U.S. workers for the position for which the H-1B worker is sought, offering a wage at least as high as what the law requires for the H-1B worker. The employer must also attest that, in connection with this recruitment, it has offered the job to any U.S. worker who applies who is equally or better qualified for the position.
- The employer must not have laid off, and will not lay off, any U.S. worker in a job essentially equivalent to the H-1B position in the area of intended employment of the H-1B worker within the period beginning 90 days prior to the filing of the H-1B petition and ending 90 days after its filing.
Changes in USCIS policy
After completing a policy review, the USCIS clarified that individuals who spent more than one year outside of U.S. and did not exhaust their entire six-year term can choose to be re-admitted for the “remainder” of initial six-year period without being subject to the H-1B cap.
After completing a policy review, the USCIS clarified that, “Any time spent in H-4 status will not count against the six-year maximum period of admission applicable to H-1B aliens.”
USCIS recently issued a memorandum dated 8 Jan 2010. The memorandum effectively states that there must be a clear “employee employer relationship” between the petitioner (employer) and the beneficiary (prospective visa holder). It simply outlines what the employer must do to be considered in compliance as well as putting forth the documentation requirements to back up the employer’s assertion that a valid relationship exists.
The memorandum gives three clear examples of what is considered a valid “employee employer relationship”:
- a fashion model
- a computer software engineer working off-site/on-site
- a company or a contractor which is working on a co-production product in collaboration with DOD
In the case of the software engineer, the petitioner (employer) must agree to do (some of) the following among others:
- Supervise the beneficiary on and off-site
- Maintain such supervision through calls, reports, or visits
- Have a “right” to control the work on a day-to-day basis if such control is required
- Provide tools for the job
- Hire, pay, and have the ability to fire the beneficiary
- Evaluate work products and perform progress/performance reviews
- Claim them for tax purposes
- Provide (some type of) employee benefits
- Use “proprietary information” to perform work
- Produce an end product related to the business
- Have an “ability to” control the manner and means in which the worker accomplishes tasks
It further states that “common law is flexible” in how to weigh these factors. Though this memorandum cites legal cases and provides examples, such a memorandum in itself is not law and future memoranda could change this.
Protections for U.S. workers
Labor Condition Application
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is responsible for ensuring that foreign workers do not displace or adversely affect wages or working conditions of U.S. workers. For every H-1B petition filed with the USCIS, there must be included a Labor Condition Application (LCA) (not to be confused with the labor certification), certified by the U.S. Department of Labor. The LCA is designed to ensure that the wage offered to the non-immigrant worker meets or exceeds the “prevailing wage” in the area of employment. (“Immigration law has a number of highly technical terms that may not mean the same thing to the average reader.” last updated 2011 March 31, visited 2012 November 5) The LCA also contains an attestation section designed to prevent the program from being used to import foreign workers to break a strike or replace U.S. citizen workers.
While an employer is not required to advertise the position before hiring an H-1B non-immigrant pursuant to the H-1B visa approval, the employer must notify the employee representative about the Labor Condition Application (LCA)—or if there is no such representation, the employer must publish the LCA at the workplace and the employer’s office. Under the regulations, LCAs are a matter of public record. Corporations hiring H-1B workers are required to make these records available to any member of the public who requests to look at them. Copies of the relevant records are also available from various web sites, including the Department of Labor.
History of the Labor Condition Application form
The LCA must be filed electronically using Form ETA 9035E. Over the years, the complexity of the form increased from one page in 1997 to three pages in 2008, to five pages as of August 2012.
By signing the LCA, the employer attests that:
- The employer pays H-1B non-immigrants the same wage level paid to all other individuals with similar experience and qualifications for that specific employment, or the prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of employment, whichever is higher.
- The employment of H-1B non-immigrants does not adversely affect working conditions of workers similarly employed.
- On the date the application is signed and submitted, there is not a strike, lockout, or work stoppage in the course of a labor dispute in the occupation in which H-1B non-immigrants will be employed at the place of employment. If such a strike or lockout occurs after this application is submitted, the employer must notify ETA within three days, and the application is not used to support petition filings with INS for H-1B non-immigrants to work in the same occupation at the place of employment until ETA determines the strike or lockout is over.
- A copy of this application has been, or will be, provided to each H-1B non-immigrant employed pursuant to this application, and, as of the application date, notice of this application has been provided to workers employed in the occupation in which H-1B non-immigrants will be employed:
- Notice of this filing has been provided to bargaining representative of workers in the occupation in which H-1B non-immigrants will be employed; or
- There is no such bargaining representative; therefore, a notice of this filing has been posted and was, or will remain, posted for 10 days in at least two conspicuous locations where H-1B non-immigrants will be employed.
The law requires H-1B workers to be paid the higher of the prevailing wage for the same occupation and geographic location, or the same as the employer pays to similarly situated employees. Other factors, such as age and skill were not permitted to be taken into account for the prevailing wage. Congress changed the program in 2004 to require the Department of Labor to provide four skill-based prevailing wage levels for employers to use. This is the only prevailing wage mechanism the law permits that incorporates factors other than occupation and location.
The approval process for these applications are based on employer attestations and documentary evidence submitted. The employer is advised of their liability if they are replacing a U.S. worker.
Limits on employment
According to the USCIS, “H-1B nonimmigrants may only work for the petitioning U.S. employer and only in the H-1B activities described in the petition. The petitioning U.S. employer may place the H-1B worker on the worksite of another employer if all applicable rules (e.g., Department of Labor rules) are followed. Generally, a nonimmigrant employee may work for more than one employer at the same time. However, each employer must follow the process for initially applying for a nonimmigrant employee.”
H-1B fees earmarked for U.S. worker education and training
In 2007, the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA), reported on two programs, the High Growth Training Initiative and Workforce Innovation Regional Economic Development (WIRED), which have received or will receive $284 million and $260 million, respectively, from H-1B training fees to educate and train U.S. workers.Seattle Times $1 billion from H1-B fees have been distributed by the Labor Department to further train the U.S. workforce since 2001.
According to the
Criticisms of the program
The H-1B program has caused a number of criticisms.
No labor shortages
Paul Donnelly, in a 2002 article in Computerworld, cited Milton Friedman as stating that the H-1B program acts as a subsidy for corporations. Others holding this view include Dr. Norman Matloff, who testified to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration on the H-1B subject. Matloff’s paper for the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform claims that there has been no shortage of qualified American citizens to fill American computer-related jobs, and that the data offered as evidence of American corporations needing H-1B visas to address labor shortages was erroneous. The United States General Accounting Office found in a report in 2000 that controls on the H-1B program lacked effectiveness. The GAO report’s recommendations were subsequently implemented.
High-tech companies often cite a tech-worker shortage when asking Congress to raise the annual cap on H-1B visas, and have succeeded in getting various exemptions passed. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), described the situation as a crisis, and the situation was reported on by the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and Washington Post. Employers applied pressure on Congress. Microsoft chairman Bill Gates testified in 2007 on behalf of the expanded visa program on Capitol Hill, “warning of dangers to the U.S. economy if employers can’t import skilled workers to fill job gaps”. Congress considered a bill to address the claims of shortfall but in the end did not revise the program.
According to a study conducted by John Miano and the Center for Immigration Studies, there is no empirical data to support a claim of employee worker shortage. Citing studies from Duke, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Georgetown University and others, critics have also argued that in some years, the number of foreign programmers and engineers imported outnumbered the number of jobs created by the industry. Organizations have also posted hundreds of first hand accounts of H-1B Visa Harm reports directly from individuals negatively impacted by the program, many of whom are willing to speak with the media.
Studies carried out from the 1990s through 2011 by researchers from Columbia U, Computing Research Association (CRA), Duke U, Georgetown U, Harvard U, National Research Council of the NAS, RAND Corporation, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rutgers U, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Stanford U, SUNY Buffalo, UC Davis, UPenn Wharton School, Urban Institute, and U.S. Dept. of Education Office of Education Research & Improvement have reported that the U.S. has been producing sufficient numbers of able and willing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) workers, while several studies from Hal Salzman, B. Lindsay Lowell, Daniel Kuehn, Michael Teitelbaum and others have concluded that the U.S. has been employing only 30% to 50% of its newly degreed able and willing STEM workers to work in STEM fields. A 2012 IEEE announcement of a conference on STEM education funding and job markets stated “only about half of those with under-graduate STEM degrees actually work in the STEM-related fields after college, and after 10 years, only some 8% still do”.
Wage depression is a chronic complaint critics have about the H-1B program: some studies have found that H-1B workers are paid significantly less than U.S. workers. It is claimed that the H-1B program is primarily used as a source of cheap labor. A paper by George J. Borjas for the National Bureau of Economic Research found that “a 10 percent immigration-induced increase in the supply of doctorates lowers the wage of competing workers by about 3 to 4 percent.”
The Labor Condition Application (LCA) included in the H-1B petition is supposed to ensure that H-1B workers are paid the prevailing wage in the labor market, or the employer’s actual average wage (whichever is higher), but evidence exists that some employers do not abide by these provisions and avoid paying the actual prevailing wage despite stiff penalties for abusers.
Theoretically, the LCA process appears to offer protection to both U.S. and H-1B workers. However, according to the U.S. General Accounting Office, enforcement limitations and procedural problems render these protections ineffective. Ultimately, the employer, not the Department of Labor, determines what sources determine the prevailing wage for an offered position, and it may choose among a variety of competing surveys, including its own wage surveys, provided that such surveys follow certain defined rules and regulations.
The law specifically restricts the Department of Labor’s approval process of LCAs to checking for “completeness and obvious inaccuracies”. In FY 2005, only about 800 LCAs were rejected out of over 300,000 submitted. Hire Americans First has posted several hundred first hand accounts of individuals negatively impacted by the program, many of whom are willing to speak with the media.
DOL has split the prevailing wage into four levels, with Level One representing about the 17th percentile of wage average Americans earn. About 80 percent of LCAs are filed at this 17th percentile level and is generally far lower than average wages .
. This four-level prevailing wage can be obtained from the DOL website,
The “prevailing wage” stipulation is allegedly vague and thus easy to manipulate
, resulting in employers underpaying visa workers. According to Ron Hira, assistant professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the median wage in 2005 for new H-1B information technology (IT) was just $50,000, which is even lower than starting wages for IT graduates with a B.S. degree. The U.S. government OES office’s data indicates that 90 percent of H-1B IT wages were below the median U.S. wage for the same occupation.
In 2002, the U.S. government began an investigation into Sun Microsystems’ hiring practices after an ex-employee, Guy Santiglia, filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Labor alleging that the Santa Clara firm discriminates against American citizens in favor of foreign workers on H-1B visas. Santiglia accused the company of bias against U.S. citizens when it laid off 3,900 workers in late 2001 and at the same time applied for thousands of visas. In 2002, about 5 percent of Sun’s 39,000 employees had temporary work visas, he said. In 2005, it was decided that Sun violated only minor requirements and that neither of these violations was substantial or willful. Thus, the judge only ordered Sun to change its posting practices.
Risks for employees
Historically, H-1B holders have sometimes been described as indentured servants, and while the comparison is no longer as compelling, it had more validity prior to the passage of American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000. Although immigration generally requires short- and long-term visitors to disavow any ambition to seek the green card (permanent residency), H-1B visa holders are an important exception, in that the H-1B is legally acknowledged as a possible step towards a green card under what is called the doctrine of dual intent.
H-1B visa holders may be sponsored for their green cards by their employers through an Application for Alien Labor Certification, filed with the U.S. Department of Labor.
In the past, the sponsorship process has taken several years, and for much of that time the H-1B visa holder was unable to change jobs without losing their place in line for the green card. This created an element of enforced loyalty to an employer by an H-1B visa holder. Critics alleged that employers benefit from this enforced loyalty because it reduced the risk that the H-1B employee might leave the job and go work for a competitor, and that it put citizen workers at a disadvantage in the job market, since the employer has less assurance that the citizen will stay at the job for an extended period of time, especially if the work conditions are tough, wages are lower or the work is difficult or complex. It has been argued that this makes the H-1B program extremely attractive to employers, and that labor legislation in this regard has been influenced by corporations seeking and benefiting from such advantages.
Some recent news reports suggest that the recession that started in 2008 will exacerbate the H-1B visa situation, both for supporters of the program and for those who oppose it. The process to obtain the green card has become so long that during these recession years it has not been unusual that sponsoring companies fail and disappear, thus forcing the H-1B employee to find another sponsor, and lose their place in line for the green card. An H-1B employee could be just one month from obtaining their green card, but if the employee is laid off, he or she may have to leave the country, or go to the end of the line and start over the process to get the green card, and wait as much as 10 more years, depending on the nationality and visa category.
The American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 provides some relief for people waiting for a long time for a green card, by allowing H-1B extensions past the normal 6 years, as well as by making it easier to change the sponsoring employer.
The Out-Sourcing/Off-Shoring Visa
In his floor statement on H-1B Visa Reform, Senator Dick Durbin stated “The H-1B job visa lasts for 3 years and can be renewed for 3 years. What happens to those workers after that? Well, they could stay. It is possible. But these new companies have a much better idea for making money. They send the engineers to America to fill spots–and get money to do it—and then after the 3 to 6 years, they bring them back to work for the companies that are competing with American companies. They call it their outsourcing visa. They are sending their talented engineers to learn how Americans do business and then bring them back and compete with those American companies.” Critics of H-1B use for outsourcing have also noted that more H-1B visas are granted to companies headquartered in India than companies headquartered in the United States.
Of all Computer Systems Analysts and programmers on H-1B visas in the U.S., 74 percent were from Asia. This large scale migration of Asian IT professionals to the United States has been cited as a central cause for the quick emergence of the offshore outsourcing industry.
In FY 2009, due to the worldwide recession, applications for H-1B visas by off-shore out-sourcing firms were significantly lower than in previous years, yet 110,367 H-1B visas were issued, and 117,409 were issued in FY2010.
Social Security and Medicare taxes
H-1B employees have to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes as part of their payroll. Like U.S. citizens, they are eligible to receive Social Security benefits even if they leave the United States, provided they have paid Social Security payroll taxes for at least 10 years. Further, the U.S. has bilateral agreements with several countries to ensure that the time paid into the U.S. Social Security system, even if it is less than 10 years, is taken into account in the foreign country’s comparable system and vice versa.
Departure Requirement on Job Loss
If an employer lays off an H-1B worker, the employer is required to pay for the laid-off worker’s transportation outside the United States.
If an H-1B worker is laid off for any reason, the H-1B program technically does not specify a time allowance or grace period to round up one’s affairs irrespective of how long the H-1B worker might have lived in the United States. To round up one’s affairs, filing an application to change to another non-immigrant status may therefore become a necessity.
If an H-1B worker is laid off and attempts to find a new H-1B employer to file a petition for him, the individual is considered out of status if there is even a one-day gap between the last day of employment and the date that the new H-1B petition is filed. While some attorneys claim that there is a grace period of 30 days, 60 days, or sometimes 10 days, that is not true according to the law. In practice, USCIS has accepted H-1B transfer applications even with a gap in employment up to 60 days, but that is by no means guaranteed.
Some of the confusion regarding the alleged grace period arose because there is a 10-day grace period for an H-1B worker to depart the United States at the end of his authorized period of stay (does not apply for laid-off workers). This grace period only applies if the worker works until the H-1B expiration date listed on his I-797 approval notice, or I-94 card. 8 CFR 214.2(h)(13)(i)(A).
American workers are ordered to train their foreign replacements
Although the alleged reason for the H-1B program is to fill jobs that Americans don’t want to work at, there have been cases where employers used the program to replace their American employees with H-1B employees, and in some of those cases, the American employees were even ordered to train their replacements.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services “H-1B Benefit Fraud & Compliance Assessment” of September 2008 concluded 21% of H-1B visas granted originate from fraudulent applications or applications with technical violations. Fraud was defined as a willful misrepresentation, falsification, or omission of a material fact. Technical violations, errors, omissions, and failures to comply that are not within the fraud definition were included in the 21% rate. Subsequently, USCIS has made procedural changes to reduce the number of fraud and technical violations on H-1B applications.
In 2009, federal authorities busted a nationwide H-1B Visa Scam.
In addition to H-1B visas, there are a variety of other visa categories that allow foreign workers to come into the U.S. to work for some period of time.
L-1 visas are issued to foreign employees of a corporation. Under recent rules, the foreign worker must have worked for the corporation for at least one year in the preceding three years prior to getting the visa. An L-1B visa is appropriate for non-immigrant workers who are being temporarily transferred to the United States based on their specialized knowledge of the company’s techniques and methodologies. An L-1A visa is for managers or executives who either manage people or an essential function of the company. There is no requirement to pay prevailing wages for the L-1 visa holders. For Canadian residents, a special L visa category is available.
TN-1 visas are part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and are issued to Canadian and Mexican citizens. TN visas are only available to workers who fall into one of a pre-set list of occupations determined by the NAFTA treaty. There are specific eligibility requirements for the TN Visa.
E-3 visas are issued to citizens of Australia under the Australia free-trade treaty.
H-1B1 visas are a sub-set of H-1B issued to residents of Chile and Singapore under the United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement of 2003; PL108-77 § 402(a)(2)(B), 117 Stat. 909, 940; S1416, HR2738; passed in House 2003-07-24 and the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement of 2003; PL108-78 § 402(2), 117 Stat. 948, 970-971; S1417, HR2739; passed in House 2003-07-24, passed in senate 2003-07-31, signed by executive (GWBush) 2003-05-06. According to USCIS, unused H-1B1 visas are added into the next year’s H-1B base quota of 58,200.
One recent trend in work visas is that various countries attempt to get special preference for their nationals as part of treaty negotiations. Another trend is for changes in immigration law to be embedded in large Authorization or Omnibus bills to avoid the controversy that might accompany a separate vote.
H-2B visa: The H-2B non-immigrant program permits employers to hire foreign workers to come to the U.S. and perform temporary nonagricultural work, which may be one-time, seasonal, peak load or intermittent. There is a 66,000 per year limit on the number of foreign workers who may receive H-2B status.
H-1B number issued each year for 2006-2008
Issued H-1Bs by continent
Pie chart showing 25% Indian
H-1B Applications Approved
H-1B Applications Approved by USCIS
H-1B Applications Approved by USCIS for those with less than the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree
||No HS Diploma
||Only HS Diploma
||Less Than 1 year of College
||1+ years of College
||Equivalent of Associate’s
||Total Less Than Equivalent of U.S. Bachelor’s
H-1B visas issued per year
new/initial H-1B visas issued by State Department through consular offices
Top H-1B rankings
Companies receiving H-1Bs
||Tata Consultancy Services
||Teaneck, New Jersey
||HCL Technologies Ltd
||Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India
||Armonk, New York
||Larsen & Toubro Infotech
||New York City,New York
||IGATE (merged withPatni)
||Bridgewater, NJ& Bengaluru,India
||London, United Kingdom
||Ernst & Young LLP
||London, United Kingdom
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Book TV: Thomas Reed, “Nuclear Express”
Thomas Reed: A Political History of Nuclear Weapons: 1938 – 2008
Thomas C. Reed, former Secretary of the Air Force and nuclear weapons designer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories talks about the book “The Nuclear Express”, which he co-authored with Danny B. Stillman. At a luncheon seminar at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, he talks about the political history of nuclear weapons: where they came from, the surprising ways in which the technology spread, who is likely to acquire them next and why.
Cold Warriors: US Presidents after the Second World War – Thomas C. Reed
Synopsis | The Nuclear Express By Thomas C. Reed
Background Information and Videos
Nuclear Power and Bomb Testing Documentary Film
Nuclear Weapons (The History)
The BBC Film That Exposed Israel’s Secret Illegal Nuclear Weapons (FULL Documentary)
The Untold Story Of Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions
Iranium – The Islamic Republic’s Race to Obtain Nuclear Weapons
A timely and powerful documentary presenting the danger posed to the free world by a nuclear Iran. The film exposes the radical Islamic ideology guiding Iran’s leaders, and the destruction it causes.
Thomas C. Reed
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thomas Care Reed (born March 1, 1934) was the 11th Secretary of the Air Force from January 2, 1976 – April 6, 1977 under Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.
He was born in New York City, N.Y., in 1934. He attended Deerfield Academy, and then received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University, graduating first in his class in 1956. As an undergraduate, he was enrolled in Cornell’s Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program and was the highest-ranking officer, cadet colonel, during his senior year. He was designated a distinguished military graduate and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force upon graduation. Reed was elected into the Sphinx Head Society during his senior year.
Reed began active duty with the Air Force in November 1956, and served until 1959 as technical project officer for the Minuteman Re-Entry Vehicle System with the Air Force’s Ballistic Missile Division. While on this assignment, he attended the University of Southern California during off-duty hours and earned a master of science degree in electrical engineering.
In 1959, he was assigned to the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory of the University of California, engaged in thermonuclear weapons physics. He was released from active duty with the Air Force in May 1961, but he rejoined the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory as a civilian for the 1962 test series, continuing there as a consultant until 1967.
In 1962, Reed organized Supercon Ltd. of Houston, Texas, as its managing partner. Supercon developed and produced alloys superconducting at cryogenic temperatures.
While maintaining an interest in Supercon Ltd., Reed organized the Quaker Hill Development Corporation at San Rafael, California, in 1965, and served as its treasurer, president and chairman. Quaker Hill has agricultural, recreational and construction projects in California and Colorado.
Reed joined the Department of Defense as an assistant to the secretary and deputy secretary of defense in 1973, and was appointed director of Telecommunications and Command and Control Systems in February 1974.
Reed was also active in the political world. He was an organizer for Ronald Reagan‘s first campaign for governor of California in 1966. He helped finance Governor Reagan’s first unsuccessful run for the presidency in 1968. Reed established a national network of political operatives and hired F. Clifton White, the noted political strategist, to guide the effort. Reagan lost to Richard Nixon. Reed managed Reagan’s successful gubernatorial re-election campaign in 1970. In 1972, Reed performed as a national operative for theNixon presidential re-election drive. Reagan also ran unsuccessfully for the White House in 1976 and finally succeeded in 1980. Reed was not actively involved in either effort.
On March 9, 2004, At the Abyss: An Insider’s History of the Cold War, an autobiographical book about his experience at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory through his time as an advisor to President Ronald Reagan. It reveals new details about the 1962Cuban Missile Crisis, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Farewell Dossier, and other facets of the Cold War.
Reed’s second book, co-authored with Danny B. Stillman, was titled The Nuclear Express: A Political History of the Bomb and Its Proliferation and was published in January 2009. One of the authors’ most notable contentions is that in 1982 China made a policy decision to flood the developing world with atomic know-how. In February 2012 Reed published a spy novel The Tehran Triangle,(Black Garnet Press 2012). The book is about Iran’s attempt to build and ignite an A bomb in the USA
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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World map with nuclear weapons development status represented by color.
Five “nuclear weapons states” from the NPT
Other states known to possess nuclear weapons
States formerly possessing nuclear weapons
States suspected of being in the process of developing nuclear weapons and/or nuclear programs
States which at one point had nuclear weapons and/or nuclear weapons research programs
States that possess nuclear weapons, but have not widely adopted them
Nuclear proliferation is the spread of nuclear weapons, fissionable material, and weapons-applicable nuclear technology and information to nations not recognized as “Nuclear Weapon States” by the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, also known as the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty or NPT. Leading experts on nuclear proliferation, such as Etel Solingen of the University of California, Irvine, suggest that states’ decisions to build nuclear weapons is largely determined by the interests of their governing domestic coalitions.
Proliferation has been opposed by many nations with and without nuclear weapons, the governments of which fear that more countries with nuclear weapons may increase the possibility of nuclear warfare (up to and including the so-called “countervalue” targeting of civilians with nuclear weapons), de-stabilize international or regional relations, or infringe upon the national sovereignty of states.
Four countries besides the five recognized Nuclear Weapons States have acquired, or are presumed to have acquired, nuclear weapons: India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel. None of these four is a party to the NPT, although North Korea acceded to the NPT in 1985, then withdrew in 2003 and conducted announced nuclear tests in 2006, 2009, and 2013. One critique of the NPT is that it is discriminatory in recognizing as nuclear weapon states only those countries that tested nuclear weapons before 1968 and requiring all other states joining the treaty to forswear nuclear weapons.
Research into the development of nuclear weapons was undertaken during World War II by the United States (in cooperation with the United Kingdom and Canada) Germany, Japan, and the USSR. The United States was the first and is the only country to have used a nuclear weapon in war, when it used two bombs against Japan in August 1945. With their loss during the war, Germany and Japan ceased to be involved in any nuclear weapon research. In August 1949, the USSR tested a nuclear weapon. The United Kingdom tested a nuclear weapon in October 1952. France developed a nuclear weapon in 1960. The People’s Republic of China detonated a nuclear weapon in 1964. India exploded a nuclear device in 1974, and Pakistan tested a weapon in 1998. In 2006, North Korea conducted a nuclear test.
Early efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation involved intense government secrecy, the wartime acquisition of known uranium stores (the Combined Development Trust), and at times even outright sabotage—such as the bombing of a heavy-water facility thought to be used for a German nuclear program. None of these efforts were explicitly public, because the weapon developments themselves were kept secret until the bombing of Hiroshima.
Earnest international efforts to promote nuclear non-proliferation began soon after World War II, when the Truman Administration proposed the Baruch Plan of 1946, named after Bernard Baruch, America’s first representative to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission. The Baruch Plan, which drew heavily from the Acheson–Lilienthal Report of 1946, proposed the verifiable dismantlement and destruction of the U.S. nuclear arsenal (which, at that time, was the only nuclear arsenal in the world) after all governments had cooperated successfully to accomplish two things: (1) the establishment of an “international atomic development authority,” which would actually own and control all military-applicable nuclear materials and activities, and (2) the creation of a system of automatic sanctions, which not even the U.N. Security Council could veto, and which would proportionately punish states attempting to acquire the capability to make nuclear weapons or fissile material.
Baruch’s plea for the destruction of nuclear weapons invoked basic moral and religious intuitions. In one part of his address to the UN, Baruch said, “Behind the black portent of the new atomic age lies a hope which, seized upon with faith, can work out our salvation. If we fail, then we have damned every man to be the slave of Fear. Let us not deceive ourselves. We must elect World Peace or World Destruction…. We must answer the world’s longing for peace and security.” With this remark, Baruch helped launch the field ofnuclear ethics, to which many policy experts and scholars have contributed.
Although the Baruch Plan enjoyed wide international support, it failed to emerge from the UNAEC because the Soviet Union planned to veto it in the Security Council. Still, it remained official American policy until 1953, when President Eisenhower made his “Atoms for Peace” proposal before the U.N. General Assembly. Eisenhower’s proposal led eventually to the creation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1957. Under the “Atoms for Peace” program thousands of scientists from around the world were educated in nuclear science and then dispatched home, where many later pursued secret weapons programs in their home country.
Efforts to conclude an international agreement to limit the spread of nuclear weapons did not begin until the early 1960s, after four nations (the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and France) had acquired nuclear weapons (see List of states with nuclear weapons for more information). Although these efforts stalled in the early 1960s, they renewed once again in 1964, after China detonated a nuclear weapon. In 1968, governments represented at the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Committee (ENDC) finished negotiations on the text of the NPT. In June 1968, the U.N. General Assembly endorsed the NPT with General Assembly Resolution 2373 (XXII), and in July 1968, the NPT opened for signature in Washington, DC, London and Moscow. The NPT entered into force in March 1970.
Since the mid-1970s, the primary focus of non-proliferation efforts has been to maintain, and even increase, international control over the fissile material and specialized technologies necessary to build such devices because these are the most difficult and expensive parts of a nuclear weapons program. The main materials whose generation and distribution is controlled are highly enriched uranium and plutonium. Other than the acquisition of these special materials, the scientific and technical means for weapons construction to develop rudimentary, but working, nuclear explosive devices are considered to be within the reach of industrialized nations.
Since its founding by the United Nations in 1957, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has promoted two, sometimes contradictory, missions: on the one hand, the Agency seeks to promote and spread internationally the use of civilian nuclear energy; on the other hand, it seeks to prevent, or at least detect, the diversion of civilian nuclear energy to nuclear weapons, nuclear explosive devices or purposes unknown. The IAEA now operates a safeguards system as specified under Article III of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1968, which aims to ensure that civil stocks of uranium, plutonium, as well as facilities and technologies associated with these nuclear materials, are used only for peaceful purposes and do not contribute in any way to proliferation or nuclear weapons programs. It is often argued that proliferation of nuclear weapons to many other states has been prevented by the extension of assurances and mutual defence treaties to these states by nuclear powers, but other factors, such as national prestige, or specific historical experiences, also play a part in hastening or stopping nuclear proliferation.
§Dual use technology
Dual-use technology refers to the possibility of military use of civilian nuclear power technology. Many technologies and materials associated with the creation of a nuclear power program have a dual-use capability, in that several stages of the nuclear fuel cycle allow diversion of nuclear materials for nuclear weapons. When this happens a nuclear power program can become a route leading to the atomic bomb or a public annex to a secret bomb program. The crisis over Iran’s nuclear activities is a case in point.
Many UN and US agencies warn that building more nuclear reactors unavoidably increases nuclear proliferation risks. A fundamental goal for American and global security is to minimize the proliferation risks associated with the expansion of nuclear power. If this development is “poorly managed or efforts to contain risks are unsuccessful, the nuclear future will be dangerous”. For nuclear power programs to be developed and managed safely and securely, it is important that countries have domestic “good governance” characteristics that will encourage proper nuclear operations and management:
These characteristics include low degrees of corruption (to avoid officials selling materials and technology for their own personal gain as occurred with the A.Q. Khan smuggling network in Pakistan), high degrees of political stability (defined by the World Bank as “likelihood that the government will be destabilized or overthrown by unconstitutional or violent means, including politically-motivated violence and terrorism”), high governmental effectiveness scores (a World Bank aggregate measure of “the quality of the civil service and the degree of its independence from political pressures [and] the quality of policy formulation and implementation”), and a strong degree of regulatory competence.
§Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
At present, 189 countries are States Parties to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, more commonly known as the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty or NPT. These include the five Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) recognized by the NPT: thePeople’s Republic of China, France, Russian Federation, the UK, and the United States.
Notable non-signatories to the NPT are Israel, Pakistan, and India (the latter two have since tested nuclear weapons, while Israel is considered by most to be an unacknowledged nuclear weapons state). North Korea was once a signatory but withdrew in January 2003. The legality of North Korea’s withdrawal is debatable but as of 9 October 2006, North Korea clearly possesses the capability to make a nuclear explosive device.
§International Atomic Energy Agency
The IAEA was established on 29 July 1957 to help nations develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Allied to this role is the administration of safeguards arrangements to provide assurance to the international community that individual countries are honoring their commitments under the treaty. Though established under its own international treaty, the IAEA reports to both the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council.
The IAEA regularly inspects civil nuclear facilities to verify the accuracy of documentation supplied to it. The agency checks inventories, and samples and analyzes materials. Safeguards are designed to deter diversion of nuclear material by increasing the risk of early detection. They are complemented by controls on the export of sensitive technology from countries such as UK and United States through voluntary bodies such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group. The main concern of the IAEA is that uranium not be enriched beyond what is necessary for commercial civil plants, and that plutonium which is produced by nuclear reactors not be refined into a form that would be suitable for bomb production.
§Scope of safeguard
Traditional safeguards are arrangements to account for and control the use of nuclear materials. This verification is a key element in the international system which ensures that uranium in particular is used only for peaceful purposes.
Parties to the NPT agree to accept technical safeguard measures applied by the IAEA. These require that operators of nuclear facilities maintain and declare detailed accounting records of all movements and transactions involving nuclear material. Over 550 facilities and several hundred other locations are subject to regular inspection, and their records and the nuclear material being audited. Inspections by the IAEA are complemented by other measures such as surveillance cameras and instrumentation.
The inspections act as an alert system providing a warning of the possible diversion of nuclear material from peaceful activities. The system relies on;
- Material Accountancy – tracking all inward and outward transfers and the flow of materials in any nuclear facility. This includes sampling and analysis of nuclear material, on-site inspections, and review and verification of operating records.
- Physical Security – restricting access to nuclear materials at the site.
- Containment and Surveillance – use of seals, automatic cameras and other instruments to detect unreported movement or tampering with nuclear materials, as well as spot checks on-site.
All NPT non-weapons states must accept these full-scope safeguards. In the five weapons states plus the non-NPT states (India, Pakistan and Israel), facility-specific safeguards apply. IAEA inspectors regularly visit these facilities to verify completeness and accuracy of records.
The terms of the NPT cannot be enforced by the IAEA itself, nor can nations be forced to sign the treaty. In reality, as shown in Iraq and North Korea, safeguards can be backed up by diplomatic, political and economic measures.
While traditional safeguards easily verified the correctness of formal declarations by suspect states, in the 1990s attention turned to what might not have been declared. While accepting safeguards at declared facilities, Iraq had set up elaborate equipment elsewhere in an attempt to enrich uranium to weapons grade. North Korea attempted to use research reactors (not commercial electricity-generating reactors) and a reprocessing plant to produce some weapons-grade plutonium.
The weakness of the NPT regime lay in the fact that no obvious diversion of material was involved. The uranium used as fuel probably came from indigenous sources, and the nuclear facilities were built by the countries themselves without being declared or placed under safeguards. Iraq, as an NPT party, was obliged to declare all facilities but did not do so. Nevertheless, the activities were detected and brought under control using international diplomacy. In Iraq, a military defeat assisted this process.
In North Korea, the activities concerned took place before the conclusion of its NPT safeguards agreement. With North Korea, the promised provision of commercial power reactors appeared to resolve the situation for a time, but it later withdrew from the NPT and declared it had nuclear weapons.
In 1993 a program was initiated to strengthen and extend the classical safeguards system, and a model protocol was agreed by the IAEA Board of Governors 1997. The measures boosted the IAEA’s ability to detect undeclared nuclear activities, including those with no connection to the civil fuel cycle.
Innovations were of two kinds. Some could be implemented on the basis of IAEA’s existing legal authority through safeguards agreements and inspections. Others required further legal authority to be conferred through an Additional Protocol. This must be agreed by each non-weapons state with IAEA, as a supplement to any existing comprehensive safeguards agreement. Weapons states have agreed to accept the principles of the model additional protocol.
Key elements of the model Additional Protocol:
- The IAEA is to be given considerably more information on nuclear and nuclear-related activities, including R & D, production of uranium and thorium (regardless of whether it is traded), and nuclear-related imports and exports.
- IAEA inspectors will have greater rights of access. This will include any suspect location, it can be at short notice (e.g., two hours), and the IAEA can deploy environmental sampling and remote monitoring techniques to detect illicit activities.
- States must streamline administrative procedures so that IAEA inspectors get automatic visa renewal and can communicate more readily with IAEA headquarters.
- Further evolution of safeguards is towards evaluation of each state, taking account of its particular situation and the kind of nuclear materials it has. This will involve greater judgement on the part of IAEA and the development of effective methodologies which reassure NPT States.
As of 20 December 2010, 139 countries have signed Additional Protocols, 104 have brought them into force, and one (Iraq) is implementing its protocol provisionally. The IAEA is also applying the measures of the Additional Protocol in Taiwan. Among the leading countries that have not signed the Additional Protocol are Egypt, which says it will not sign until Israel accepts comprehensive IAEA safeguards, and Brazil, which opposes making the protocol a requirement for international cooperation on enrichment and reprocessing, but has not ruled out signing.
§Limitations of Safeguards
The greatest risk from nuclear weapons proliferation comes from countries which have not joined the NPT and which have significant unsafeguarded nuclear activities; India, Pakistan, and Israel fall within this category. While safeguards apply to some of their activities, others remain beyond scrutiny.
A further concern is that countries may develop various sensitive nuclear fuel cycle facilities and research reactors under full safeguards and then subsequently opt out of the NPT. Bilateral agreements, such as insisted upon by Australia and Canada for sale ofuranium, address this by including fallback provisions, but many countries are outside the scope of these agreements. If a nuclear-capable country does leave the NPT, it is likely to be reported by the IAEA to the UN Security Council, just as if it were in breach of its safeguards agreement. Trade sanctions would then be likely.
IAEA safeguards can help ensure that uranium supplied as nuclear fuel and other nuclear supplies do not contribute to nuclear weapons proliferation. In fact, the worldwide application of those safeguards and the substantial world trade in uranium for nuclearelectricity make the proliferation of nuclear weapons much less likely.
The Additional Protocol, once it is widely in force, will provide credible assurance that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in the states concerned. This will be a major step forward in preventing nuclear proliferation.
The Nuclear Suppliers Group communicated its guidelines, essentially a set of export rules, to the IAEA in 1978. These were to ensure that transfers of nuclear material or equipment would not be diverted to unsafeguarded nuclear fuel cycle or nuclear explosive activities, and formal government assurances to this effect were required from recipients. The Guidelines also recognised the need for physical protection measures in the transfer of sensitive facilities, technology and weapons-usable materials, and strengthened retransfer provisions. The group began with seven members – the United States, the former USSR, the UK, France, Germany, Canada and Japan – but now includes 46 countries including all five nuclear weapons states.
The International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation is an international project involving 25 partner countries, 28 observer and candidate partner countries, and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Generation IV International Forum, and the European Commission. It´s goal is to “[..] provide competitive, commercially-based services as an alternative to a state’s development of costly, proliferation-sensitive facilities, and address other issues associated with the safe and secure management of used fuel and radioactive waste.”
According to Kenneth D. Bergeron’s Tritium on Ice: The Dangerous New Alliance of Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Power, tritium is not classified as a ‘special nuclear material’ but rather as a ‘by-product’. It is seen as an important litmus test on the seriousness of the United States’ intention to nuclear disarm. This radioactive super-heavy hydrogen isotope is used to boost the efficiency of fissile materials in nuclear weapons. The United States resumed tritium production in 2003 for the first time in 15 years. This could indicate that there is a potential nuclear arm stockpile replacement since the isotope naturally decays.
In May 1995, NPT parties reaffirmed their commitment to a Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty to prohibit the production of any further fissile material for weapons. This aims to complement the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty of 1996 (not entered into force as of 2011) and to codify commitments made by the United States, the UK, France and Russia to cease production of weapons material, as well as putting a similar ban on China. This treaty will also put more pressure on Israel, India and Pakistan to agree to international verification.
On 9 August 2005, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa forbidding the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons. Khamenei’s official statement was made at the meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna. As of February 2006Iran formally announced that uranium enrichment within their borders has continued. Iran claims it is for peaceful purposes but the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the United States claim the purpose is for nuclear weapons research and construction.
§Unsanctioned nuclear activity
§NPT Non Signatories
India, Pakistan and Israel have been “threshold” countries in terms of the international non-proliferation regime. They possess or are quickly capable of assembling one or more nuclear weapons. They have remained outside the 1970 NPT. They are thus largely excluded from trade in nuclear plant or materials, except for safety-related devices for a few safeguarded facilities.
In May 1998 India and Pakistan each exploded several nuclear devices underground. This heightened concerns regarding an arms race between them, with Pakistan involving the People’s Republic of China, an acknowledged nuclear weapons state. Both countries are opposed to the NPT as it stands, and India has consistently attacked the Treaty since its inception in 1970 labeling it as a lopsided treaty in favor of the nuclear powers.
Relations between the two countries are tense and hostile, and the risks of nuclear conflict between them have long been considered quite high. Kashmir is a prime cause of bilateral tension, its sovereignty being in dispute since 1948. There is persistent low level military conflict due to Pakistan backing an insurgency there and the disputed status of Kashmir.
Both engaged in a conventional arms race in the 1980s, including sophisticated technology and equipment capable of delivering nuclear weapons. In the 1990s the arms race quickened. In 1994 India reversed a four-year trend of reduced allocations for defence, and despite its much smaller economy, Pakistan was expected to push its own expenditures yet higher. Both have lost their patrons: India, the former USSR, and Pakistan, the United States.
But it is the growth and modernization of China’s nuclear arsenal and its assistance with Pakistan’s nuclear power programme and, reportedly, with missile technology, which exacerbate Indian concerns. In particular, Pakistan is aided by China’s People’s Liberation Army, which operates somewhat autonomously within that country as an exporter of military material.
Nuclear power for civil use is well established in India. Its civil nuclear strategy has been directed towards complete independence in the nuclear fuel cycle, necessary because of its outspoken rejection of the NPT. This self-sufficiency extends from uranium exploration and mining through fuel fabrication, heavy water production, reactor design and construction, to reprocessing and waste management. It has a small fast breeder reactor and is planning a much larger one. It is also developing technology to utilise its abundant resources of thorium as a nuclear fuel.
India has 14 small nuclear power reactors in commercial operation, two larger ones under construction, and ten more planned. The 14 operating ones (2548 MWe total) comprise:
- two 150 MWe BWRs from the United States, which started up in 1969, now use locally enriched uranium and are under safeguards,
- two small Canadian PHWRs (1972 & 1980), also under safeguards, and
- ten local PHWRs based on Canadian designs, two of 150 and eight 200 MWe.
- two new 540 MWe and two 700 MWe plants at Tarapur (known as TAPP: Tarapur Atomic Power Project)
The two under construction and two of the planned ones are 450 MWe versions of these 200 MWe domestic products. Construction has been seriously delayed by financial and technical problems. In 2001 a final agreement was signed with Russia for the country’s first large nuclear power plant, comprising two VVER-1000 reactors, under a Russian-financed US$3 billion contract. The first unit is due to be commissioned in 2007. A further two Russian units are under consideration for the site.
Nuclear power supplied 3.1% of India’s electricity in 2000 and this was expected to reach 10% by 2005. Its industry is largely without IAEA safeguards, though a few plants (see above) are under facility-specific safeguards. As a result India’s nuclear power programme proceeds largely without fuel or technological assistance from other countries.
Its weapons material appears to come from a Canadian-designed 40MW “research” reactor which started up in 1960, well before the NPT, and a 100MW indigenous unit in operation since 1985. Both use local uranium, as India does not import any nuclear fuel. It is estimated that India may have built up enough weapons-grade plutonium for a hundred nuclear warheads.
It is widely believed that the nuclear programs of India and Pakistan used CANDU reactors to produce fissionable materials for their weapons; however, this is not accurate. Both Canada (by supplying the 40 MW research reactor) and the United States (by supplying 21 tons of heavy water) supplied India with the technology necessary to create a nuclear weapons program, dubbed CIRUS (Canada-India Reactor, United States). Canada sold India the reactor on the condition that the reactor and any by-products would be“employed for peaceful purposes only.”. Similarly, the United States sold India heavy water for use in the reactor “only… in connection with research into and the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes”. India, in violation of these agreements, used the Canadian-supplied reactor and American-supplied heavy water to produce plutonium for their first nuclear explosion, Smiling Buddha. The Indian government controversially justified this, however, by claiming that Smiling Buddha was a “peaceful nuclear explosion.”
The country has at least three other research reactors including the tiny one which is exploring the use of thorium as a nuclear fuel, by breeding fissile U-233. In addition, an advanced heavy-water thorium cycle is under development.
India exploded a nuclear device in 1974, the so-called Smiling Buddha test, which it has consistently claimed was for peaceful purposes. Others saw it as a response to China’s nuclear weapons capability. It was then universally perceived, notwithstanding official denials, to possess, or to be able to quickly assemble, nuclear weapons. In 1999 it deployed its own medium-range missile and has developed an intermediate-range missile capable of reaching targets in China’s industrial heartland.
In 1995 the United States quietly intervened to head off a proposed nuclear test. However, in 1998 there were five more tests in Operation Shakti. These were unambiguously military, including one claimed to be of a sophisticated thermonuclear device, and their declared purpose was “to help in the design of nuclear weapons of different yields and different delivery systems”.
Indian security policies are driven by:
- its determination to be recognized as a dominant power in the region
- its increasing concern with China’s expanding nuclear weapons and missile delivery programmes
- its concern with Pakistan’s capability to deliver nuclear weapons deep into India
It perceives nuclear weapons as a cost-effective political counter to China’s nuclear and conventional weaponry, and the effects of its nuclear weapons policy in provoking Pakistan is, by some accounts, considered incidental. India has had an unhappy relationship with China. After an uneasy ceasefire ended the 1962 war, relations between the two nations were frozen until 1998. Since then a degree of high-level contact has been established and a few elementary confidence-building measures put in place. China still occupies some territory which it captured during the aforementioned war, claimed by India, and India still occupies some territory claimed by China. Its nuclear weapon and missile support for Pakistan is a major bone of contention.
American President George W. Bush met with India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss India’s involvement with nuclear weapons. The two countries agreed that the United States would give nuclear power assistance to India.
In 2003, Libya admitted that the nuclear weapons-related material including these centrifuges, known asPak-1, were acquired from Pakistan
Over the several years, the Nuclear power infrastructure has been well established by Pakistan which is dedicated for the industrial and economic development of the country. Its current nuclear policy is directed and aimed to promote the socio-economic development of the people as a “foremost priority”; and to fulfill the energy, economic, and industrial needs from the nuclear sources. Currently, there are three operational mega-commercial nuclear power plants while three larger ones are under construction. The nuclear power supplies 787MW (roughly ~3.6%) of electricity as of 2012, and the country has projected to produce 8800MW electricity by 2030. Infrastructure established by the IAEA and the U.S. in the 1950s–1960s were based on peaceful research and development and economic prosperity of the country.
Although the civil-sector nuclear power was established in the 1950s, the country has an active nuclear weapons program which was started in the 1970s. The bomb program has its roots after East-Pakistan gained itsindependence as Bangladesh after India‘s successful intervention led to a decisive victory on Pakistan in 1971. This large-scale but clandestine atomic bomb project was directed towards the development of ingenious development of reactor and military-grade plutonium. In 1974, when India surprised the outer world with its successful detonation of its own bomb, codename Smiling Buddha, it became “imperative for Pakistan” to pursue the weapons research. According to leading scientist in the program, it became clear once India detonated the bomb, “Newton’s third law” came into “operation”, from then on it was a classic case of “action and reaction“. Earlier efforts were directed towards mastering the plutonium technology from France, but plutonium route was partially slowed down when the plan was failed after the U.S. intervention to cancel the project. Contrary to popular perception, Pakistan did not forego the “plutonium” route and covertly continued its indegenious research under Munir Khan and it succeeded with plutonium route in the early 1980s. Reacting on India’s nuclear test (Smiling Buddha), Bhutto and the country’s elite political and military science circle sensed this test as final and dangerous anticipation to Pakistan’s “moral and physical existence.” With Aziz Ahmed on his side, Bhutto launched a serious diplomatic offense and aggressively maintained at the session of the United Nations Security Council:
Pakistan was exposed to a kind of “nuclear threat and blackmail” unparalleled elsewhere….. (…)… If the world’s community failed to provide political insurance to Pakistan and other countries against the nuclear blackmail, these countries would be constraint to launch atomic bomb programs of their own!… [A]ssurances provided by the United Nations were not “Enough!”…
—Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, statement written in “Eating Grass“
After 1974, Bhutto’s government redoubled its effort, this time equally focused on uranium and plutonium. Pakistan had established science directorates in almost all of her embassies in the important countries of the world, with theoretical physicist S.A. Butt being the director. Abdul Qadeer Khan then established a network through Dubai to smuggle URENCO technology to Engineering Research Laboratories. Earlier, he worked with Physics Dynamics Research Laboratories (FDO), a subsidiary of the Dutch firm VMF-Stork based in Amsterdam. Later after joining, the Urenco, he had access through photographs and documents of the technology. Against the popular perception, the technology that A.Q. Khan had brought from Urenco was based on first generation civil rector technology, filled with many serious technical errors, though it was authentic and vital link for centrifuge project of the country. After the British Government stopped the British subsidiary of the American Emerson Electric Co. from shipping the components to Pakistan, he describes his frustration with a supplier from Germany as: “That man from the German team was unethical. When he did not get the order from us, he wrote a letter to a Labour Party member and questions were asked in[British] Parliament.” By 1978, his efforts were paid off and made him into a national hero. In 1981, as a tribute, President General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, renamed the research institute after his name.
In early 1996, Prime minister Benazir Bhutto made it clear that “if India conducts a nuclear test, Pakistan could be forced to “follow suit”. In 1997, her statement was echoed by Prime minister Nawaz Sharif who maintained to the fact that: “Since 1972, [P]akistan had progressed significantly, and we have left that stage (developmental) far behind. Pakistan will not be made a “hostage” to India by signing the CTBT, before (India).!” In May 1998, within weeks of India’s nuclear tests, Pakistan announced that it had conducted six underground tests in the Chagai Hills, five on the 28th and one on the 30th of that month. Seismic events consistent with these claims were recorded.
In 2004, the revelation of A.Q. Khan’s efforts led the exposure of many defunct European consortium who defied export restrictions in the 1970s, and many of defunct Dutch companies exported thousands of centrifuges to Pakistan as early as 1976. Many centrifuge components were apparently manufactured in Malaysian Scomi Precision Engineering with the assistance of South Asian and German companies, and used a UAE-based computer company as a false front.
It was widely believed to have direct involvement of the government of Pakistan. This claim could not be verified due to the refusal of the government of Pakistan to allow IAEA to interview the alleged head of the nuclear black market, who happened to be no other than A.Q. Khan. Confessing his crimes later a month on national television, he bailed out the government by taking full responsibility. Independent investigation conducted by IISS confirmed that he had control over the import-export deals, and his acquisition activities were largely unsupervised by Pakistan governmental authorities. All of his activities went undetected for several years. He duly confessed of running the atomic proliferation ring from Pakistan to Iran and North Korea. He was immediately given presidential immunity. Exact nature of the involvement at the governmental level is still unclear, but the manner in which the government acted cast doubt on the sincerity of Pakistan.
The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (or better known as North Korea), joined the NPT in 1985 and had subsequently signed a safeguards agreement with the IAEA. However, it was believed that North Korea was diverting plutonium extracted from the fuel of its reactor at Yongbyon, for use in nuclear weapons. The subsequent confrontation with IAEA on the issue of inspections and suspected violations, resulted in North Korea threatening to withdraw from the NPT in 1993. This eventually led to negotiations with theUnited States resulting in the Agreed Framework of 1994, which provided for IAEA safeguards being applied to its reactors and spent fuel rods. These spent fuel rods were sealed in canisters by the United States to prevent North Korea from extracting plutonium from them. North Korea had to therefore freeze its plutonium programme.
During this period, Pakistan-North Korea cooperation in missile technology transfer was being established. A high level delegation of Pakistan military visited North Korea in August–September 1992, reportedly to discuss the supply of missile technology to Pakistan. In 1993, PM Benazir Bhutto repeatedly traveled to China, and the paid state visit to North Korea. The visits are believed to be related to the subsequent acquisition technology to developed its Ghauri system by Pakistan. During the period 1992–1994, A.Q. Khan was reported to have visited North Korea thirteen times. The missile cooperation program with North Korea was under Dr. A. Q. Khan Research Laboratories. At this time China was under U.S. pressure not to supply the M Dongfeng series of missiles to Pakistan. It is believed by experts that possibly with Chinese connivance and facilitation, the latter was forced to approach North Korea for missile transfers. Reports indicate that North Korea was willing to supply missile sub-systems including rocket motors, inertial guidance systems, control and testing equipment for US$ 50 million.
It is not clear what North Korea got in return. Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. in Jane’s Defence Weekly (27 November 2002) reports that Western analysts had begun to question what North Korea received in payment for the missiles; many suspected it was the nuclear technology. The KRL was in charge of both uranium program and also of the missile program with North Korea. It is therefore likely during this period that cooperation in nuclear technology between Pakistan and North Korea was initiated. Western intelligence agencies began to notice exchange of personnel, technology and components between KRL and entities of the North Korean 2nd Economic Committee (responsible for weapons production).
A New York Times report on 18 October 2002 quoted U.S. intelligence officials having stated that Pakistan was a major supplier of critical equipment to North Korea. The report added that equipment such as gas centrifuges appeared to have been “part of a barter deal” in which North Korea supplied Pakistan with missiles. Separate reports indicate (The Washington Times, 22 November 2002) that U.S. intelligence had as early as 1999 picked up signs that North Korea was continuing to develop nuclear arms. Other reports also indicate that North Korea had been working covertly to develop an enrichment capability for nuclear weapons for at least five years and had used technology obtained from Pakistan (Washington Times, 18 October 2002).
Israel is also thought to possess an arsenal of potentially up to several hundred nuclear warheads based on estimates of the amount of fissile material produced by Israel. This has never been openly confirmed or denied however, due to Israel’s policy of deliberate ambiguity.
An Israeli nuclear installation is located about ten kilometers to the south of Dimona, the Negev Nuclear Research Center. Its construction commenced in 1958, with French assistance. The official reason given by the Israeli and French governments was to build a nuclear reactor to power a “desalination plant“, in order to “green the Negev”. The purpose of the Dimona plant is widely assumed to be the manufacturing of nuclear weapons, and the majority of defense experts have concluded that it does in fact do that. However, the Israeli government refuses to confirm or deny this publicly, a policy it refers to as “ambiguity”.
Norway sold 20 tonnes of heavy water needed for the reactor to Israel in 1959 and 1960 in a secret deal. There were no “safeguards” required in this deal to prevent usage of the heavy water for non-peaceful purposes. The British newspaper Daily Express accused Israel of working on a bomb in 1960. When the United States intelligence community discovered the purpose of the Dimona plant in the early 1960s, it demanded that Israel agree to international inspections. Israel agreed, but on a condition that U.S., rather than IAEA, inspectors were used, and that Israel would receive advanced notice of all inspections.
Some claim that because Israel knew the schedule of the inspectors’ visits, it was able to hide the alleged purpose of the site from the inspectors by installing temporary false walls and other devices before each inspection. The inspectors eventually informed the U.S. government that their inspections were useless due to Israeli restrictions on what areas of the facility they could inspect. In 1969, the United States terminated the inspections.
In 1986, Mordechai Vanunu, a former technician at the Dimona plant, revealed to the media some evidence of Israel’s nuclear program. Israeli agents arrested him from Italy, drugged him and transported him to Israel, and an Israeli court then tried him in secret on charges of treason and espionage, and sentenced him to eighteen years imprisonment. He was freed on 21 April 2004, but was severely limited by the Israeli government. He was arrested again on 11 November 2004, though formal charges were not immediately filed.
Comments on photographs taken by Mordechai Vanunu inside the Negev Nuclear Research Center have been made by prominent scientists. British nuclear weapons scientist Frank Barnaby, who questioned Vanunu over several days, estimated Israel had enough plutonium for about 150 weapons. Ted Taylor, a bomb designer employed by the United States of America has confirmed the several hundred warhead estimate based on Vanunu’s photographs.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Warner D. Farr in a report to the USAF Counterproliferation Center while France was previously a leader in nuclear research “Israel and France were at a similar level of expertise after the war, and Israeli scientists could make significant contributions to the French effort.” In 1986 Francis Perrin, French high-commissioner for atomic energy from 1951 to 1970 stated that in 1949 Israeli scientists were invited to the Saclay nuclear research facility, this cooperation leading to a joint effort including sharing of knowledge between French and Israeli scientists especially those with knowledge from the Manhattan Project.
§Nuclear arms control in South Asia
The public stance of the two states on non-proliferation differs markedly. Pakistan has initiated a series of regional security proposals. It has repeatedly proposed a nuclear free zone in South Asia and has proclaimed its willingness to engage in nuclear disarmament and to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty if India would do so. It has endorsed a United States proposal for a regional five power conference to consider non-proliferation in South Asia.
India has taken the view that solutions to regional security issues should be found at the international rather than the regional level, since its chief concern is with China. It therefore rejects Pakistan’s proposals.
Instead, the ‘Gandhi Plan‘, put forward in 1988, proposed the revision of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which it regards as inherently discriminatory in favor of the nuclear-weapon States, and a timetable for complete nuclear weapons disarmament. It endorsed early proposals for a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and for an international convention to ban the production of highly enriched uranium and plutonium for weapons purposes, known as the ‘cut-off’ convention.
The United States for some years, especially under the Clinton administration, pursued a variety of initiatives to persuade India and Pakistan to abandon their nuclear weapons programs and to accept comprehensive international safeguards on all their nuclear activities. To this end, the Clinton administration proposed a conference of the five nuclear-weapon states, Japan, Germany, India and Pakistan.
India refused this and similar previous proposals, and countered with demands that other potential weapons states, such as Iran and North Korea, should be invited, and that regional limitations would only be acceptable if they were accepted equally by China. The United States would not accept the participation of Iran and North Korea and these initiatives have lapsed.
Another, more recent approach, centers on ‘capping’ the production of fissile material for weapons purposes, which would hopefully be followed by ‘roll back’. To this end, India and the United States jointly sponsored a UN General Assembly resolution in 1993 calling for negotiations for a ‘cut-off’ convention. Should India and Pakistan join such a convention, they would have to agree to halt the production of fissile materials for weapons and to accept international verification on their relevant nuclear facilities (enrichment and reprocessing plants). It appears that India is now prepared to join negotiations regarding such a Cut-off Treaty, under the UN Conference on Disarmament.
Bilateral confidence-building measures between India and Pakistan to reduce the prospects of confrontation have been limited. In 1990 each side ratified a treaty not to attack the other’s nuclear installations, and at the end of 1991 they provided one another with a list showing the location of all their nuclear plants, even though the respective lists were regarded as not being wholly accurate. Early in 1994 India proposed a bilateral agreement for a ‘no first use’ of nuclear weapons and an extension of the ‘no attack’ treaty to cover civilian and industrial targets as well as nuclear installations.
Having promoted the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty since 1954, India dropped its support in 1995 and in 1996 attempted to block the Treaty. Following the 1998 tests the question has been reopened and both Pakistan and India have indicated their intention to sign the CTBT. Indian ratification may be conditional upon the five weapons states agreeing to specific reductions in nuclear arsenals. The UN Conference on Disarmament has also called upon both countries “to accede without delay to the Non-Proliferation Treaty”, presumably as non-weapons states.
In 2004 and 2005, Egypt disclosed past undeclared nuclear activities and material to the IAEA. In 2007 and 2008, high enriched and low enriched uranium particles were found in environmental samples taken in Egypt. In 2008, the IAEA states Egypt’s statements were consistent with its own findings. In May 2009, Reuters reported that the IAEA was conducting further investigation in Egypt.
In 2003, the IAEA reported that Iran had been in breach of its obligations to comply with provisions of its safeguard agreement. In 2005, the IAEA Board of Governors voted in a rare non-consensus decision to find Iran in non-compliance with its NPT Safeguards Agreement and to report that non-compliance to the UN Security Council. In response, the UN Security Council passed a series of resolutions citing concerns about the program. Iran’s representative to the UN argues sanctions compel Iran to abandon its rights under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to peaceful nuclear technology. Iran says its uranium enrichment program is exclusively for peaceful purposes and has enriched uranium to “less than 5 percent,” consistent with fuel for a nuclear power plant and significantly below the purity of WEU (around 90%) typically used in a weapons program. The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, said in 2009 he had not seen any evidence in IAEA official documents that Iran was developing nuclear weapons.
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (January 2013)
Up to the late 1980s it was generally assumed that any undeclared nuclear activities would have to be based on the diversion of nuclear material from safeguards. States acknowledged the possibility of nuclear activities entirely separate from those covered by safeguards, but it was assumed they would be detected by national intelligence activities. There was no particular effort by IAEA to attempt to detect them.
Iraq had been making efforts to secure a nuclear potential since the 1960s. In the late 1970s a specialised plant, Osiraq, was constructed near Baghdad. The plant was attacked during the Iran–Iraq War and was destroyed by Israeli bombers in June 1981.
Not until the 1990 NPT Review Conference did some states raise the possibility of making more use of (for example) provisions for “special inspections” in existing NPT Safeguards Agreements. Special inspections can be undertaken at locations other than those where safeguards routinely apply, if there is reason to believe there may be undeclared material or activities.
After inspections in Iraq following the UN Gulf War cease-fire resolution showed the extent of Iraq’s clandestine nuclear weapons program, it became clear that the IAEA would have to broaden the scope of its activities. Iraq was an NPT Party, and had thus agreed to place all its nuclear material under IAEA safeguards. But the inspections revealed that it had been pursuing an extensive clandestine uranium enrichment programme, as well as a nuclear weapons design programme.
The main thrust of Iraq’s uranium enrichment program was the development of technology for electromagnetic isotope separation (EMIS) of indigenous uranium. This uses the same principles as a mass spectrometer (albeit on a much larger scale). Ions of uranium-238 and uranium-235 are separated because they describe arcs of different radii when they move through a magnetic field. This process was used in the Manhattan Project to make the highly enriched uranium used in the Hiroshima bomb, but was abandoned soon afterwards.
The Iraqis did the basic research work at their nuclear research establishment at Tuwaitha, near Baghdad, and were building two full-scale facilities at Tarmiya and Ash Sharqat, north of Baghdad. However, when the war broke out, only a few separators had been installed at Tarmiya, and none at Ash Sharqat.
The Iraqis were also very interested in centrifuge enrichment, and had been able to acquire some components including some carbon-fibre rotors, which they were at an early stage of testing. In May 1998, Newsweek reported that Abdul Qadeer Khan had sent Iraq centrifuge designs, which were apparently confiscated by the UNMOVIC officials. Iraqi officials said “the documents were authentic but that they had not agreed to work with A. Q. Khan, fearing an ISI sting operation, due to strained relations between two countries. The Government of Pakistan and A. Q. Khan strongly denied this allegation whilst the government declared the evidence to be “fraudulent”.
They were clearly in violation of their NPT and safeguards obligations, and the IAEA Board of Governors ruled to that effect. The UN Security Council then ordered the IAEA to remove, destroy or render harmless Iraq’s nuclear weapons capability. This was done by mid-1998, but Iraq then ceased all cooperation with the UN, so the IAEA withdrew from this work.
The revelations from Iraq provided the impetus for a very far-reaching reconsideration of what safeguards are intended to achieve.
Libya possesses ballistic missiles and previously pursued nuclear weapons under the leadership of Muammar Gaddafi. On 19 December 2003, Gaddafi announced that Libya would voluntarily eliminate all materials, equipment and programs that could lead to internationally proscribed weapons, including weapons of mass destruction and long-range ballistic missiles. Libya signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968 and ratified it in 1975, and concluded a safeguards agreement with theInternational Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1980. In March 2004, the IAEA Board of Governors welcomed Libya’s decision to eliminate its formerly undeclared nuclear program, which it found had violated Libya’s safeguards agreement, and approved Libya’s Additional Protocol. The United States and the United Kingdom assisted Libya in removing equipment and material from its nuclear weapons program, with independent verification by the IAEA.
A report in the Sydney Morning Herald and Searchina, a Japanese newspaper, report that two Myanmarese defectors saying that the Myanmar junta was secretly building a nuclear reactor and plutonium extraction facility with North Korea’s help, with the aim of acquiring its first nuclear bomb in five years. According to the report, “The secret complex, much of it in caves tunnelled into a mountain at Naung Laing in northern Burma, runs parallel to a civilian reactor being built at another site by Russia that both the Russians and Burmese say will be put under international safeguards.” In 2002, Myanmar had notified IAEA of its intention to pursue a civilian nuclear programme. Later, Russia announced that it would build a nuclear reactor in Myanmar. There have also been reports that two Pakistani scientists, from the AQ Khan stable, had been dispatched to Myanmar where they had settled down, to help Myanmar’s project. Recently, the David Albright-led Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) rang alarm bells about Myanmar attempting a nuclear project with North Korean help. If true, the full weight of international pressure will be brought against Myanmar, said officials familiar with developments. But equally, the information that has been peddled by the defectors is also “preliminary” and could be used by the west to turn the screws on Myanmar—on democracy and human rights issues—in the run-up to the elections in the country in 2010. During an ASEAN meeting in Thailand in July 2009, US secretary of stateHillary Clinton highlighted concerns of the North Korean link. “We know there are also growing concerns about military cooperation between North Korea and Burma which we take very seriously,” Clinton said. However, in 2012, after contact with the American president, Barack Obama, the Burmese leader, Thein Sein, renounced military ties with DPRK (North Korea).
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) acceded to the NPT in 1985 as a condition for the supply of a nuclear power station by the USSR. However, it delayed concluding its NPT Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA, a process which should take only 18 months, until April 1992.
During that period, it brought into operation a small gas-cooled, graphite-moderated, natural-uranium (metal) fuelled “Experimental Power Reactor” of about 25 MWt (5 MWe), based on the UK Magnox design. While this was a well-suited design to start a wholly indigenous nuclear reactor development, it also exhibited all the features of a small plutonium production reactor for weapons purposes. North Korea also made substantial progress in the construction of two larger reactors designed on the same principles, a prototype of about 200 MWt (50 MWe), and a full-scale version of about 800 MWt (200 MWe). They made only slow progress; construction halted on both in 1994 and has not resumed. Both reactors have degraded considerably since that time and would take significant efforts to refurbish.
In addition it completed and commissioned a reprocessing plant that makes the Magnox spent nuclear fuel safe, recovering uranium and plutonium. That plutonium, if the fuel was only irradiated to a very low burn-up, would have been in a form very suitable for weapons. Although all these facilities at Yongbyon were to be under safeguards, there was always the risk that at some stage, the DPRK would withdraw from the NPT and use the plutonium for weapons.
One of the first steps in applying NPT safeguards is for the IAEA to verify the initial stocks of uranium and plutonium to ensure that all the nuclear materials in the country have been declared for safeguards purposes. While undertaking this work in 1992, IAEA inspectors found discrepancies which indicated that the reprocessing plant had been used more often than the DPRK had declared, which suggested that the DPRK could have weapons-grade plutonium which it had not declared to the IAEA. Information passed to the IAEA by a Member State (as required by the IAEA) supported that suggestion by indicating that the DPRK had two undeclared waste or other storage sites.
In February 1993 the IAEA called on the DPRK to allow special inspections of the two sites so that the initial stocks of nuclear material could be verified. The DPRK refused, and on 12 March announced its intention to withdraw from the NPT (three months’ notice is required). In April 1993 the IAEA Board concluded that the DPRK was in non-compliance with its safeguards obligations and reported the matter to the UN Security Council. In June 1993 the DPRK announced that it had “suspended” its withdrawal from the NPT, but subsequently claimed a “special status” with respect to its safeguards obligations. This was rejected by IAEA.
Once the DPRK’s non-compliance had been reported to the UN Security Council, the essential part of the IAEA’s mission had been completed. Inspections in the DPRK continued, although inspectors were increasingly hampered in what they were permitted to do by the DPRK’s claim of a “special status”. However, some 8,000 corroding fuel rods associated with the experimental reactor have remained under close surveillance.
Following bilateral negotiations between the United States and the DPRK, and the conclusion of the Agreed Framework in October 1994, the IAEA has been given additional responsibilities. The agreement requires a freeze on the operation and construction of the DPRK’s plutonium production reactors and their related facilities, and the IAEA is responsible for monitoring the freeze until the facilities are eventually dismantled. The DPRK remains uncooperative with the IAEA verification work and has yet to comply with its safeguards agreement.
While Iraq was defeated in a war, allowing the UN the opportunity to seek out and destroy its nuclear weapons programme as part of the cease-fire conditions, the DPRK was not defeated, nor was it vulnerable to other measures, such as trade sanctions. It can scarcely afford to import anything, and sanctions on vital commodities, such as oil, would either be ineffective or risk provoking war.
Ultimately, the DPRK was persuaded to stop what appeared to be its nuclear weapons programme in exchange, under the agreed framework, for about US$5 billion in energy-related assistance. This included two 1000 MWe light water nuclear power reactors based on an advanced U.S. System-80 design.
In January 2003 the DPRK withdrew from the NPT. In response, a series of discussions among the DPRK, the United States, and China, a series of six-party talks (the parties being the DPRK, the ROK, China, Japan, the United States and Russia) were held inBeijing; the first beginning in April 2004 concerning North Korea’s weapons program.
On 10 January 2005, North Korea declared that it was in the possession of nuclear weapons. On 19 September 2005, the fourth round of the Six-Party Talks ended with a joint statement in which North Korea agreed to end its nuclear programs and return to the NPT in exchange for diplomatic, energy and economic assistance. However, by the end of 2005 the DPRK had halted all six-party talks because the United States froze certain DPRK international financial assets such as those in a bank in Macau.
On 9 October 2006, North Korea announced that it has performed its first-ever nuclear weapon test. On 18 December 2006, the six-party talks finally resumed. On 13 February 2007, the parties announced “Initial Actions” to implement the 2005 joint statement including shutdown and disablement of North Korean nuclear facilities in exchange for energy assistance. Reacting to UN sanctions imposed after missile tests in April 2009, North Korea withdrew from the six-party talks, restarted its nuclear facilities and conducted asecond nuclear test on 25 May 2009.
On 12 February 2013, North Korea conducted an underground nuclear explosion with an estimated yield of 6 to 7 kilotonnes. The detonation registered a magnitude 4.9 disturbance in the area around the epicenter.
See also: North Korea and weapons of mass destruction and Six-party talks
Security of nuclear weapons in Russia remains a matter of concern. According to high-ranking Russian SVR defector Tretyakov, he had a meeting with two Russian businessman representing a state-created C-W corporation in 1991. They came up with a project of destroying large quantities of chemical wastes collected from Western countries at the island of Novaya Zemlya (a test place for Soviet nuclear weapons) using an underground nuclear blast. The project was rejected by Canadian representatives, but one of the businessmen told Tretyakov that he keeps his own nuclear bomb at his dacha outside Moscow. Tretyakov thought that man was insane, but the “businessmen” (Vladimir K. Dmitriev) replied: “Do not be so naive. With economic conditions the way they are in Russia today, anyone with enough money can buy a nuclear bomb. It’s no big deal really”.
In 1991, South Africa acceded to the NPT, concluded a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA, and submitted a report on its nuclear material subject to safeguards. At the time, the state had a nuclear power programme producing nearly 10% of the country’s electricity, whereas Iraq and North Korea only had research reactors.
The IAEA’s initial verification task was complicated by South Africa’s announcement that between 1979 and 1989 it built and then dismantled a number of nuclear weapons. South Africa asked the IAEA to verify the conclusion of its weapons programme. In 1995 the IAEA declared that it was satisfied all materials were accounted for and the weapons programme had been terminated and dismantled.
South Africa has signed the NPT, and now holds the distinction of being the only known state to have indigenously produced nuclear weapons, and then verifiably dismantled them.
On 6 September 2007, Israel bombed an officially unidentified site in Syria which it later asserted was a nuclear reactor under construction (see Operation Orchard). The alleged reactor was not asserted to be operational and it was not asserted that nuclear material had been introduced into it. Syria said the site was a military site and was not involved in any nuclear activities. The IAEA requested Syria to provide further access to the site and any other locations where the debris and equipment from the building had been stored. Syria denounced what it called the Western “fabrication and forging of facts” in regards to the incident. IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei criticized the strikes and deplored that information regarding the matter had not been shared with his agency earlier.
§United States cooperation on nuclear weapons with the United Kingdom
The United States has given the UK considerable assistance with nuclear weapon design and construction since the 1958 US–UK Mutual Defence Agreement. In 1974 a CIA proliferation assessment noted that “In many cases [the UK’s sensitive technology in nuclear and missile fields] is based on technology received from the United States and could not legitimately be passed on without U.S. permission.”
The U.S. President authorized the transfer of “nuclear weapon parts” to the UK between at least the years 1975 to 1996. The UK National Audit Office noted that most of the UK Trident warhead development and production expenditure was incurred in the United States, which would supply “certain warhead-related components”. Some of the fissile materials for the UK Trident warhead were purchased from the United States. Declassified U.S. Department of Energy documents indicate the UK Trident warhead system was involved in non-nuclear design activities alongside the U.S. W76 nuclear warhead fitted in some U.S. Navy Trident missiles, leading the Federation of American Scientists to speculate that the UK warhead may share design information from the W76.
Under the Mutual Defence Agreement 5.37 tonnes of UK-produced plutonium was sent to the United States in return for 6.7 kg of tritium and 7.5 tonnes of highly enriched uranium over the period 1960–1979. A further 0.47 tonne of plutonium was swapped between the UK and United States for reasons that remain classified. Some of the UK produced plutonium was used in 1962 by the United States for a nuclear weapon test of reactor-grade plutonium.
The United States has supplied nuclear weapon delivery systems to support the UK nuclear forces since before the signing of the NPT. The renewal of this agreement is due to take place through the second decade of the 21st century.
For a state that does not possess nuclear weapons, the capability to produce one or more weapons quickly and with little warning is called a breakout capability.
- Japan, with its civil nuclear infrastructure and experience, has a stockpile of separated plutonium that could be fabricated into weapons relatively quickly.
- Iran, according to some observers, may be seeking (or have already achieved) a breakout capability, with its stockpile of low-enriched uranium and its capability to enrich further to weapons grade.
§Arguments for and against proliferation
Main article: Nuclear peace
There has been much debate in the academic study of International Security as to the advisability of proliferation. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Gen. Pierre Marie Gallois of France, an adviser to Charles DeGaulle, argued in books like The Balance of Terror: Strategy for the Nuclear Age (1961) that mere possession of a nuclear arsenal, what the French called the force de frappe, was enough to ensure deterrence, and thus concluded that the spread of nuclear weapons could increase international stability.
Some very prominent neo-realist scholars, such as Kenneth Waltz, Emeritus Professor of Political Science at UC Berkeley and Adjunct Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University, and John Mearsheimer, R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, continue to argue along the lines of Gallois (though these scholars rarely acknowledge their intellectual debt to Gallois and his contemporaries). Specifically, these scholars advocate some forms of nuclear proliferation, arguing that it will decrease the likelihood of war, especially in troubled regions of the world. Aside from the majority opinion which opposes proliferation in any form, there are two schools of thought on the matter: those, like Mearsheimer, who favor selective proliferation, and those such as Waltz, who advocate a laissez-faire attitude to programs like North Korea’s.
In embryo, Waltz argues that the logic of mutually assured destruction (MAD) should work in all security environments, regardless of historical tensions or recent hostility. He sees the Cold War as the ultimate proof of MAD logic – the only occasion when enmity between two Great Powers did not result in military conflict. This was, he argues, because nuclear weapons promote caution in decision-makers. Neither Washington nor Moscow would risk a nuclear apocalypse to advance territorial or power goals, hence a peaceful stalemate ensued (Waltz and Sagan (2003), p. 24). Waltz believes there to be no reason why this effect would not occur in all circumstances.
John Mearsheimer would not support Waltz’s optimism in the majority of potential instances; however, he has argued for nuclear proliferation as policy in certain places, such as post–Cold War Europe. In two famous articles, Professor Mearsheimer opines that Europe is bound to return to its pre–Cold War environment of regular conflagration and suspicion at some point in the future. He advocates arming both Germany and Ukraine with nuclear weaponry in order to achieve a balance of power between these states in the east and France/UK in the west. If this does not occur, he is certain that war will eventually break out on the European continent (Mearsheimer (1990), pp. 5–56 and (1993), pp. 50–66).
Another separate argument against Waltz’s open proliferation and in favor of Mearsheimer’s selective distribution is the possibility of nuclear terrorism. Some countries included in the aforementioned laissez-faire distribution could predispose the transfer of nuclear materials or a bomb falling into the hands of groups not affiliated with any governments. Such countries would not have the political will or ability to safeguard attempts at devices being transferred to a third party. Not being deterred by self-annihilation, terrorism groups could push forth their own nuclear agendas or be used as shadow fronts to carry out the attack plans by mentioned unstable governments.
§Arguments against both positions
There are numerous arguments presented against both selective and total proliferation, generally targeting the very neorealist assumptions (such as the primacy of military security in state agendas, the weakness of international institutions, and the long-run unimportance of economic integration and globalization to state strategy) its proponents tend to make. With respect to Mearsheimer’s specific example of Europe, many economists and neoliberals argue that the economic integration of Europe through the development of the European Union has made war in most of the European continent so disastrous economically so as to serve as an effective deterrent. Constructivists take this one step further, frequently arguing that the development of EU political institutions has led or will lead to the development of a nascent European identity, which most states on the European continent wish to partake in to some degree or another, and which makes all states within or aspiring to be within the EU regard war between them as unthinkable.
As for Waltz, the general opinion is that most states are not in a position to safely guard against nuclear use, that he underestimates the long-standing antipathy in many regions, and that weak states will be unable to prevent – or will actively provide for – the disastrous possibility of nuclear terrorism. Waltz has dealt with all of these objections at some point in his work; though to many, he has not adequately responded (Betts (2000)).
The Learning Channel documentary Doomsday: “On The Brink” illustrated 40 years of U.S. and Soviet nuclear weapons accidents. Even the 1995 Norwegian rocket incident demonstrated a potential scenario in which Russian democratization and military downsizing at the end of the Cold War did not eliminate the danger of accidental nuclear war through command and control errors. After asking: might a future Russian ruler or renegade Russian general be tempted to use nuclear weapons to make foreign policy? the documentary writers revealed a greater danger of Russian security over its nuclear stocks, but especially the ultimate danger of human nature to want the ultimate weapon of mass destruction to exercise political and military power. Future world leaders might not understand how close the Soviets, Russians, and Americans were to doomsday, how easy it all seemed because apocalypse was avoided for a mere 40 years between rivals, politicians not terrorists, who loved their children and did not want to die, against 30,000 years of human prehistory. History and military experts agree that proliferation can be slowed, but never stopped (technology cannot be uninvented).
§Proliferation begets proliferation
Proliferation begets proliferation is a concept described by Scott Sagan in his article, “Why Do States Build Nuclear Weapons?”. This concept can be described as a strategic chain reaction. If one state produces a nuclear weapon it creates almost a domino effectwithin the region. States in the region will seek to acquire nuclear weapons to balance or eliminate the security threat. Sagan describes this reaction best in his article when he states, “Every time one state develops nuclear weapons to balance against its main rival, it also creates a nuclear threat to another region, which then has to initiate its own nuclear weapons program to maintain its national security” (Sagan, pg. 70). Going back through history we can see how this has taken place. When the United States demonstrated that it had nuclear power capabilities after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Russians started to develop their program in preparation for the Cold War. With the Russian military buildup, France and the United Kingdom perceived this as a security threat and therefore they pursued nuclear weapons (Sagan, pg 71).
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been a frequent critic of the concept of nuclear apartheid as it has been put into practice by several countries, particularly the United States. In an interview with CNN‘s Christiane Amanpour, Ahmadinejad said that Iranwas “against ‘nuclear apartheid,’ which means some have the right to possess it, use the fuel, and then sell it to another country for 10 times its value. We’re against that. We say clean energy is the right of all countries. But also it is the duty and the responsibility of all countries, including ours, to set up frameworks to stop the proliferation of it.” Hours after that interview, he spoke passionately in favor of Iran’s right to develop nuclear technology, claiming the nation should have the same liberties.
Iran is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and claims that any work done in regards to nuclear technology is related only to civilian uses, which is acceptable under the treaty. Iran violated the treaty by performing uranium-enrichment in secret, after which the United Nations Security Council ordered Iran to stop all uranium-enrichment.
India has also been discussed in the context of nuclear apartheid. India has consistently attempted to pass measures that would call for full international disarmament, however they have not succeeded due to protests from those states that already have nuclear weapons. In light of this, India viewed nuclear weapons as a necessary right for all nations as long as certain states were still in possession of nuclear weapons. India stated that nuclear issues were directly related to national security.
Years before India’s first underground nuclear test in 1998, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was passed. Some have argued that coercive language was used in an attempt to persuade India to sign the treaty, which was pushed for heavily by neighboring China. India viewed the treaty as a means for countries that already had nuclear weapons, primarily the five nations of the United Nations Security Council, to keep their weapons while ensuring that no other nations could develop them.
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- Jump up^ “Additional Information Concerning Underground Nuclear Weapon Test of Reactor-Grade Plutonium”. U.S. Department of Energy. June 1994. Retrieved 15 March 2007.
- Jump up^ “Disarmament Diplomacy: In The News (or Should Be) – US-UK Nuclear Weapons Cooperation Up for Renewal”. Acronym.org.uk. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
- Jump up^ “United Nations Association of the UK |”. Una-uk.org. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
- Jump up^ “Has Iran Achieved a Nuclear Weapons Breakout Capability? Not Yet, But Soon”. Nonproliferation for Global Security Foundation. December 2008. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
- Jump up^ Gvosdev, Nikolas. “The Realist Prism: Iran Nuclear Standoff Obscures Broader Proliferation Challenges”. column. Worlds Politics Review. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
- Jump up^ Waltz, Kenneth. “Why Iran Should Get the Bomb”. Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
- Jump up^ “‘Breakout time’: Report details how Iran could achieve undetectable nuclear capability”. World Tribune. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
- Jump up^ Mearsheimer, John (2006). “Conversations in International Relations: Interview with John J. Mearsheimer (Part I)”. International Relations 20 (1): 105–123. doi:10.1177/0047117806060939.See page 116
- Jump up^ Doomsday: On The Brink, The Learning Channel, 1997
- Jump up^ Iranian president: No ‘nuclear apartheid’, CNN
- Jump up^ Adherence to and Compliance With Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments, Bureau of Verification and Compliance, U.S. Department of State, 30 August 2005
- Jump up^ UN Security Council Resolution 1737
- Jump up^ Against Nuclear Apartheid, Jaswant Singh
- Jump up^ Options, Mike Moore, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
§External links and references
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