The issue of the proliferation of nuclear weapons has been pushed to the forefront of the post-Cold War security agenda. While the spread of nuclear weapons has of course been, a perennial concern since the detonation of the first such weapon in July 1945, with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the ending of the Cold War the problem has assumed new proportions and is consequently being addressed with increasing urgency. This current interest is partly the result of a reordering of the ‘list’ of priorities in international security.1 That is, it is hardly surprising that with the disappearance of the issue that overwhelmingly occupied the attentions of policy makers and scholars alike — the confrontation between the superpowers — new priorities should be assigned. However the issue of nuclear proliferation has itself undergone change because of the end of the Cold War. It is primarily these new dimensions to the issue that are fuelling the heightened concern and flurry of activity to address these problems.
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