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Hiroshima for Global Peace

Hiroshima Report 2023(9) FMCT

A) Efforts toward commencing negotiations on an FMCT

In the “Decision 2: Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament” adopted at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, the participating countries agreed on the immediate commencement and early conclusion of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) at the CD. However, substantive negotiations have not yet commenced. The 2022 session of the CD again ended without adopting a program of work that included the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee on an FMCT negotiation, due to Pakistan’s strong objection, as was the case in previous years. Pakistan argued, “The so-called Fissile Materials Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) will freeze existing unequal and large nuclear arsenals and fissile material stocks held by some nuclear weapons States. Pakistan has opposed it and will continue to oppose such a discriminatory proposal.”287 At the CD, Pakistan criticized India for declaring its support for the FMCT but not declaring a moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or stopping its production. It also criticized India for “[continuing] to exponentially expand production by building new fast breeder reactors, while also amassing tonnes of fissile material stocks in the so- called strategic reserves.”288

At the NPT RevCon, Mexico reiterated that it is counter-productive to commit to negotiating a FMCT in the CD, which has not fulfilled its mandate for decades. It urged not referring to the CD in a final document to leave other options open. The United States agreed that the FMCT should not be conditional to the CD.289 However, there remain some countries which argue to negotiate in the CD.290 The draft final document stated, “States Parties call on the Conference on Disarmament to immediately commence, and bring to an early conclusion, negotiations on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons or other explosive devices in accordance with CD/1299 and the mandate contained therein.” 

At the 2022 UNGA, a resolution, titled “Treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices,”291 which called for immediate commencement of FMCT negotiations at the CD and declaration of moratorium on production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, was adopted with 171 countries in favor, three against (China, Iran and Pakistan) and eight abstentions (including Egypt, Israel, North Korea Russia and Syria).


B) Moratoria on production of fissile material for nuclear weapons

As in the previous year, China, India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea have not declared a moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. Among those countries, at least India, Pakistan and North Korea are seen as highly likely to continue producing fissile material for nuclear weapons.

At the NPT RevCon, Japan and other countries called for nuclear-armed states that have not yet declared a moratorium on the production of fissile materials for weapons use to do so; this was included in the initial draft of a final document. However, due to opposition from China, it was deleted in the second revised draft of the final document.

It is considered that China does not currently produce fissile material for nuclear weapons. However, Beijing has been negative on declaring a moratorium on production. China’s ambassador to the CD stated, “A moratorium on production is not the fundamental path to completely and effectively resolving the FMCT issue. Especially in this day and age, what some countries affirm today they may deny tomorrow, and a current administration can arbitrarily repudiate all the policies and commitments made by a previous one, leaving the international community at an even greater loss as to what course to take.”292 There are also concerns that the advanced fast-breeder reactors and reprocessing facilities that China is developing for civilian purposes may be diverted for nuclear weapons purposes.293

North Korea was considered to have produced fissile materials and conducted related activities in 2022, as in previous years. In February, U.S. experts analyzed North Korea’s continued operation of its 5MW nuclear reactor and uranium enrichment plant (UEP) in Yongbyon.294 Then, in May, it was reported that North Korea is believed to have resumed construction of a 50MW nuclear reactor.295 In July, an analysis showed that North Korea continued to operate its 5MW reactor and also conducted activities that appear to be preparations for reprocessing.296

As for Israel, satellite images analyzed by experts showed significant expansion has been underway at the Dimona nuclear complex, which is believed to have been producing plutonium for nuclear weapons.297 While Israel has not disclosed the purpose of this expansion, another expert suggests that it may be building a facility to produce tritium for use in nuclear warheads.298

None of the nuclear-armed states have declared the amount of fissile material for nuclear weapons which they possess (except for the United States, which declassifies the amount of its past production of HEU and plutonium). Estimates by research institutes are summarized in Chapter 3 of this Report.


287 “Statement by Pakistan,” General Debate, UNGA First Committee, October 4, 2022.
288 Muhammad Irfan, “Pakistan Hits Back at India in a Key UN Disarmament Panel; Calls it’s Record ‘dubious’,” UrduPoint, January 28, 2022,

289 Ray Acheson, “Report on Main Committee I,” NPT in the Review, Vol. 17, No. 7 (August 18, 2022), p. 16.
290 For instance, China stated, “China … believes that the negotiation and conclusion of such a treaty in the Conference on Disarmament on the basis of the Shannon report (CD/1299) and with the participation of all parties concerned will foster the nuclear disarmament process, prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and maintain international peace and security.” NPT/CONF.2020/41, November 16, 2021.
291 A/RES/77/68, December 7, 2022.

292 “No Clear Path forward for Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty,” IPFM Blog, May 24, 2020, http://

293 See, for instance, The U.S. Department of Defense, Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2022, p. 97.
294 Peter Makowsky, Jack Liu and Jenny Town, “Yongbyon Nuclear Center: Insights from a Snow-covered Day,” 38 North, February 17, 2022,
295 Jeffrey Lewis, “New Construction at Yongbyon,” Arms Control Wonk, May 13, 2022, https://www.
296 Peter Makowsky, Olli Heinonen, Jack Liu and Jenny Town, “North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Center: Plutonium Production Continues Despite Heavy Rains,” 38 North, July 12, 2022, https://www.38north. org/2022/07/north-koreas-yongbyon-nuclear-center-plutonium-production-continues-despite-heavy-rains/.
297 Sang-Min Kim, “New Work Underway at Israeli Nuclear Site,” Arms Control Today, April 2021, https://

298 Richard Silverstein, “What is Israel Building at its Dimona Nuclear Site?” Middle East Eye, March 5, 2021,


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