Bureau of Nonproliferation
July 29, 2004
The Zangger Committee
The purpose of the 35-nation Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Exporters (Zangger) Committee is to harmonize implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s requirement to apply International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards to nuclear exports. Article III.2 of the Treaty requires parties to ensure that IAEA safeguards are applied to exports to non-nuclear weapon states of (a) source or special fissionable material, or (b) equipment or material especially designed or prepared for the processing, use or production of special fissionable material. The Zangger Committee maintains and updates a list of equipment and materials that may only be exported if safeguards are applied to the recipient facility (called the "Trigger List" because such exports trigger the requirement for safeguards).
Between 1971 and 1974, a group of 15 nuclear supplier states held a series of informal meetings in Vienna chaired by Professor Claude Zangger of Switzerland. The group’s objective was to reach a common understanding on: (a) the definition of "equipment or material especially designed or prepared for the processing, use or production of special fissionable material"; and (b) the conditions and procedures that would govern exports of such equipment or material in order to meet the obligations of Article III.2 on the basis of fair commercial competition. The group, which became known as the Zangger Committee (ZC), decided that it would be informal and that its decisions would not be legally-binding upon its members. The relative informality of the ZC has enabled it to take the lead on certain nonproliferation issues that would be more difficult to resolve in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Moreover, the ZC by virtue of its link to the NPT is in a better position to represent the nuclear nonproliferation regimes in dialogues with non-members critical of these regimes in NPT meetings.
On October 14, 2003, members met in Vienna for a morning meeting of the ZC followed by an afternoon “friends of the chair” (FOC) meeting. On membership, the U.S. again stated it was not prepared to agree to Belarusian membership. On outreach to non-members, the chair listed Egypt, Mexico, Peru, and Chile as current outreach priorities.
The U.S. suggested amending the Trigger List graphite entry, asked members to share their graphite control experiences and respond to a questionnaire on graphite licensing. The U.S. undertook to prepare a updated report on graphite issues and proposed trigger list amendments for circulation in spring of 2004.
The U.S. raised the issue of a ZC reaction to a possible finding of Iranian noncompliance with its safeguards obligations by the IAEA, noting that the ZC has a responsibility to respond in such situations. The U.S. emphasized this was not to prejudge any IAEA findings, but urged members to consider the need to call a special meeting to develop a response in the event of such a finding. The U.S. also proposed amending the ZC understandings to take into account recipients’ obligations in light of IAEA determinations of noncompliance. Although some members expressed reservations that the ZC was a technical, not political body, there was general consensus that the ZC should consider appropriate action in the event of a noncompliance finding by the IAEA.
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and United States.