The cornerstone of the complex system of nuclear weapons regulation is constituted by the Treaty on Non-Proliferation (TNP) signed on July 1st 1968; Italy ratified it in 1975 following an in-depth debate in Parliament and has since then upheld its principles and goals.
The TNP has three objectives: limiting the proliferation of nuclear weapons; proceeding towards effective disarmament; facilitating the development of peaceful nuclear energy.
Standing watch over the application of the Treaty is the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has developed a safeguard system aimed at verifying that no State adhering to the TNP diverts its use of nuclear energy for improper purposes. The Agency and Member States sign bilateral accords allowing the IAEA to make inspections at their nuclear and technological sites according to a model contained in circular INFCIRC/153corrected.
In order to better apply safeguard measures, in 1997 the IAEA prepared an Additional Protocol, which is contained in circular INFCIRC/540 Corrected.
This is an instrument that, if universally applied, could lead to strengthening the regime of non-proliferation.
Italy is supporting the launch of negotiations for a Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) and assumed a steering role in promoting them during the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. The creation of such an instrument would have positive value both in the field of non-proliferation as well as disarmament since limiting the possibility of stockpiling new fissile material lays the foundations for the future reduction of nuclear weapons.
The most significant multilateral treaties, in chronological order, include:
- The Outer Space Treaty of 1967
- The Sea Bed Treaty of 1971
- The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty of 1987. This was initially a bilateral treaty between the US and the Soviet Union which was later extended to the States subsequent to the Soviet Union involved in the treaty itself
- The Comprehensive Test- Ban Treaty (CTBT) of 1996