Nuclear Proliferation

What is Nuclear Proliferation?

Andrew Crabtree


Nuclear proliferation is the spread of nuclear weapons, nuclear technology, fissionable material and nuclear weapons-making information to the countries that do not possess these.

The nuclear non-proliferation treaty has recognised the countries that have nuclear weapons as “Nuclear Weapon States (NWS)” and those that do not possess nuclear weapons as “Non-Nuclear Weapon States (NNWS)”. Hence, nuclear proliferation takes place when the NWS pass their nuclear weapons and technology to the NNWS.


  • Nuclear Proliferation makes the information on nuclear weapons, technology and material available to Non-Nuclear Weapons States.
  • The Non-Proliferation Treaty that came into force in March 1970 is legally binding.
  • There are 190 Non-Nuclear Weapon States and 5 Nuclear Weapon States; US, Russia, UK, China and France.
  • In 1993 North Korea became the only State to withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Photo by Mathias Reding on Unsplash

What is the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?

The Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is a legally binding international treaty signed on 1st July 1968 and came into force in March 1970.

The treaty’s three main goals are to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and technology, encourage the achievement of complete and general disarmament, and promote cooperation for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

These goals are the three pillars of the non-proliferation regime: non-proliferation, peaceful use of nuclear energy and disarmament.

One hundred ninety states bound by the treaty are classified into the Nuclear Weapon States and the Non-Nuclear Weapon States. States that have built and tested atomic bombs before 1st January 1967 are recognised as NWS.

The 5 NWS are the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, China and France. Four other states that are believed to possess nuclear weapons but are not recognised as NWS are India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel. While India, Pakistan and North Korea have openly tested their nuclear weapons, Israel has kept its status…



Andrew Crabtree

I write about what I'm currently geeking-out over. What I read, watch and listen to, as well as my experiences as a Dad, Husband and Nuclear Energy Consultant.