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Small military nuclear reactors: In need of global safeguards

The US Defense Department recently awarded three contracts totaling $40 million to kick off a design competition to build small mobile nuclear reactors that can “be forward deployed with forces outside the continental United States,” including at “remote operating bases.” The notion of small reactors accompanying troops in battle raises all sorts of military, logistical, and international legal issues. But one that has received little attention is that the program shines a light on a growing loophole in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).