US may reveal N-arsenal size


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Mar 24, 2009
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WASHINGTON: In an effort to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, the US is likely to reveal the size of its atomic stockpile — a closely guarded secret — during the key NPT review conference at the UN headquarters in New York next week, a media report said on Saturday.

"The numbers could be released as soon as Monday when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is to address the NPT Review Conference in New York," officials were quoted as saying. She will speak after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is likely to repeat his demand for more global controls over the stockpiles of the nuclear nations, 'The Washington Post' reported.

According to The Post, US officials fear Ahmadinejad could hijack the conference with such demands, diverting attention from his own nuclear programme, which is widely seen as violating the non-proliferation treaty. Arms-control groups estimate the US arsenal contains 9,000 weapons, with roughly 5,000 of them active and the rest in line for dismantlement, it said. Experts interviewed by the paper termed it as a major initiative, saying that the United States has not got enough credit for the reductions it has made.

"That's even true of the Bush administration.... It makes it easier for us to make the case we are in fact reducing the number of nuclear weapons," Jeffrey Lewis, director of the Nuclear Strategy and Non-proliferation Initiative at the New America Foundation, was quoted as saying.

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