Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, aims to
- prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology
- promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy
- further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.
The treaty was negotiated between 1965 and 1968 by the Eighteen Nation Committee on Disarmament, a United Nations-sponsored organization based in Geneva, Switzerland and it came into force in 1970.
190 states are parties to the treaty, more countries than to any other arms limitation and disarmament agreement.
Signatories of the NPT that do not already have nuclear weapons agree never to acquire them, while the states that possess them agree to share the benefits of peaceful nuclear technology and to pursue nuclear disarmament aimed at the ultimate elimination of their nuclear arsenals.
The treaty is reviewed every five years in meetings called Review Conferences.
Critics argue that the NPT cannot stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons or the motivation to acquire them. They also express disappointment with the limited progress on nuclear disarmament.