International control of tritium to prevent horizontal proliferation and to foster nuclear disarmament

Martin B. Kalinowski, Lars C. Colschen, "International control of tritium to prevent horizontal proliferation and to foster nuclear disarmament," Science & Global Security, 5, no. 2, (1995): 131-203.
In this paper, an approach to control tritium systematically on the international level is proposed. The first goal is to prevent the military use of tritium in states other than the five recognized nuclear weapons states. An International Tritium Control System (ITCS) would control all civilian facilities producing or handling tritium. The second goal is to restrict the availability of fresh tritium supplies for nuclear weapons programs as a means to avoid vertical proliferation in states that possess nuclear weapons, and as a step towards complete nuclear disarmament. This can be achieved by including tritium in a future weapons-usable materials production cutoff agreement and the approach proposed here is called an Integrated Cutoff (ICO). The simultaneous implementation of the ITCS and ICO aims at avoiding any new discrimination against non-nuclear weapon states. This paper will discuss the possible political and technical modalities to achieve both goals. The rules and decision making procedures are outlined for both control approaches and the implications for the nuclear non-proliferation regime are shown. Various control tasks are derived from a comprehensive analysis covering all diversion paths which can yield more than one gram of tritium within one year. In the appendix to this paper, the impact of a tritium shortage on the U.S. nuclear arsenal is illuminated. The extreme case of complete elimination of all tritium would result in large yield reductions of the arsenal.

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