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 You are in: Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security > Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN) > Releases > Fact Sheets > 2004
Fact Sheet
Bureau of Nonproliferation
Washington, DC
July 29, 2004

The Nuclear Suppliers Group

With 44 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:

  • formal recipient government assurances confirming safeguards and no nuclear explosive use;
  • adequate physical protection; and 
  • particular caution in the transfer of sensitive facilities, technology and weapons-usable materials. The Guidelines also strengthened retransfer conditions.

In 1992 the NSG added full-scope IAEA safeguards as a condition of nuclear supply to NNWS, and established nuclear-related dual-use Guidelines and a control list. In 1995 the NSG added controls on nuclear technology for items on the Trigger List.

NSG Chairmanship rotates annually. The Republic of Korea was the 2003 Chair and the Sweden is the current Chair. Japanís Mission in Vienna serves as the NSG Point of Contact. The NSG Consultative Group (GC), currently chaired by the U.S., meets at least twice a year under the mandate of the Plenary.

The NSG Consultative Group (CG) met March 23-24, 2004, in Vienna to continue consideration of issues addressed by the October 2003 CG and the 2003 NSG Plenary and to consider new proposals. Particular attention was given to discussion of proposals made by the President in his February 11, 2004, speech to strengthen the nonproliferation (NP) regime. Interest in U.S. presentation of the President's NP proposals caused many Participating Governments (PGs) to increase the rank level and size of their delegations. The CG confirmed agreement on the EU proposal to incorporate catch-all language in Part 2 of the NSG Guidelines and the German proposal to include implementation language in parts 1 and 2 of the Guidelines. One delegation blocked consensus on compromise language clarifying the safety and grandfathering exemptions to the full-scope safeguards provisions in the Guidelines. There was detailed discussion of U.S. proposals, as well as alternative proposals, to implement the President's NP initiatives on:

  • banning transfers of enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) technology to states not already possessing such functioning facilities under IAEA safeguards;
  • assuring nuclear fuel supply to states renouncing interest in ENR;
  • requiring the Additional Protocol as a condition of supply; and
  • suspension of nuclear cooperation with states found by the IAEA to be in non-compliance with their safeguards obligations.

The 2004 NSG Plenary, CG, Information Exchange Meeting (IEM) and Licensing and Enforcement Experts Meeting (LEEM) meetings were held May 24-28 in Goteburg, Sweden. Discussion primarily centered on issues related to the President's nonproliferation initiatives:

  • to establish the additional protocol (AP) as a condition of supply for nuclear transfers; 
  • suspending transfers of enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) technologies to states not already possessing full-scale, functioning plants;
  • assuring fuel supply at a reasonable cost for states renouncing ENR; and
  • suspension of cooperation with states found by the IAEA Board of Governors (BOG) to be in non-compliance with their safeguards obligations.

Additional topics of discussion focused on strengthening information sharing and outreach; proposed amendments to the Part 1 and Part 2 Guidelines and Annex entries; and applications for membership by China, Estonia, Lithuania, and Malta. Participating Governments (PGs) agreed to accept the four candidate countries as members, raising NSG membership to 44. The U.S. updated its commercial satellite imagery briefing on activities and progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and gave joint presentations with the UK on the Libyan program and the A.Q. Khan procurement network. The U.S. also provided a "Lessons Learned" briefing covering the last 18 months. The Group also agreed to the inclusion of provisions for a catch-all controls in the Dual-Use Guidelines and measures for effective and consistent Guideline implementation. Progress was made on proposed Guideline amendments and on the four Presidential nonproliferation initiatives. Although no consensus was reached on any of the Presidential proposals or the alternatives proposed by other PGs, there was broad agreement on the need for:

  • increased vigilance on such transfers;
  • a comprehensive approach that balances nonproliferation goals with national requirements and priorities;
  • educating non-members on supply of sensitive technology; and
  • "remaining seized" of the issue. The U.S. will continue to pursue these proposals at the October meeting of the NSG CG.

NSG Members

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, 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.

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