Bureau of Nonproliferation
September 10, 2003
The Nuclear Suppliers Group
[This fact sheet is no longer current. Please see updated version.]
With 40 member states, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a widely accepted, mature, and effective export-control arrangement, which contributes to the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons through implementation of guidelines for control of nuclear and nuclear-related exports. Members pursue the aims of the NSG through voluntary adherence to the Guidelines which are adopted by consensus and through exchanges of information on developments of nuclear proliferation concern.
The first set of NSG Guidelines (Part 1) governs exports of nuclear materials and equipment which require the application of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards at the recipient facility. The Part 1 nuclear control list is called the "Trigger List" because the export of such items "triggers" the requirement for IAEA safeguards.
The second set of NSG Guidelines (Part 2) governs exports of nuclear-related dual-use equipment and materials. The NSG Guidelines also control technology related to both nuclear and nuclear-related dual-use exports. Both Parts 1 and 2 of the NSG Guidelines aim to ensure that nuclear trade for peaceful purposes does not contribute to the proliferation of nuclear weapons or explosive devices while not hindering such trade.
The NSG was formed in 1974 following the Indian nuclear explosion which demonstrated how nuclear technology and materials transferred for peaceful purposes could be misused. The NSG Guidelines, first published in 1978, established requirements for: (1) formal recipient government assurances confirming safeguards and no nuclear explosive use; (2) adequate physical protection; (3) particular caution in the transfer of sensitive facilities, technology and weapons-usable materials; and 4) retransfer conditions.
In 1992, the NSG added full-scope IAEA safeguards as a condition of nuclear supply to non-nuclear weapon states and established controls over exports of significant nuclear-related dual-use items and technology by publication of Dual-Use Guidelines and a control list. In 1995, the NSG added controls on nuclear technology for items on the Trigger List.
Chairmanship of the NSG rotates on an annual basis with the host of the annual Plenary meeting assuming the chair for that year. The Republic of Korea is the current chair and Sweden will assume the chairmanship in May 2004. The Permanent Mission of Japan in Vienna serves as the NSG point of contact in providing administrative support, including provision of meeting space and distribution of documents. The NSG Consultative Group (CG), currently chaired by the U.S., meets at least twice a year under the mandate of the Plenary to transact NSG business between Plenary meetings on matters such as review of the Guidelines or control lists, procedures, information sharing, transparency and outreach activities.
At an Extraordinary Plenary in December 2002, the NSG agreed: 1) to adopt U.S.-proposed anti-terrorism amendments to the Guidelines; 2) to issue a press statement alerting supplier states to concerns about the DPRK nuclear weapons program; and 3) to have the Chairman alert key non-member supplier and transit states to the risk of diversion of controlled and non-controlled items to the DPRK nuclear weapons program.
At the Pusan Plenary May 19-23, 2003, the NSG considered but did not reach consensus on: 1) membership for Lithuania; and 2) adoption of : a) steps to increase transparency of the NSG full-scope safeguards supply policy; b) catch-all control provisions in the Dual-Use Guidelines; c) the Additional Protocol as a condition of supply; and d) technical amendments to the control lists. The Plenary did agree to emphasize the need for vigilance in exports to Iran during any outreach efforts with non-members and it called on the Iranian Government to resolve outstanding questions about its nuclear program. The Plenary also called again on all states to exercise extreme vigilance to ensure that exports of goods and technologies do not contribute to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
The NSG CG will meet in October 2003 in Vienna to consider issues left unresolved by the Pusan Plenary. The CG will continue to meet as necessary on these issues until May 2004 when it will report its progress to the 2004 Plenary in Sweden.
Nuclear Suppliers Group Members: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and United States.