Country: South Africa
Delegate Name: Farrah Salyer
South Africa’s desire to create nuclear weapons began in 1948 after giving a commission to the South African Atomic energy corporation to oversee the country’s uranium mining and industrial trade. In 1957 South Africa and the U.S signed a 50-year collaboration under the U.S sanctioned program (Atoms for Peace). This collaboration allowed South Africa to use one nuclear research reactor along with highly enriched uranium fuel (HEU) in Pelindaba. South Africa researched, developed weapons and attempted to test weapons all the way up until the 1990’s. When South Africa attempted to test their nuclear weapons, Soviet intelligence discovered their testing sight. Eventually the U.S discovered the sight as well. South Africa then immediately shut testing down, but the U.S and the USSR had already seen enough. Both the Soviet and western governments were convinced that South Africa was conducting a full scale nuclear test. Both governments urged South Africa to not test because it would cause economic issues for South Africa. South Africa ended the Nuclear Weapons program in 1998 and was the first country to voluntarily give up its nuclear weapons.
Since the 1990’s South Africa has been a signatory of the Biological Weapons Convention, Treaty f on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and the Chemical Weapons Convention. South Africa is the first state in the world to voluntarily give up Nuclear arms it had developed itself. South Africa also ratified the treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in 2019, becoming the first country to physically dismantle the weapons and sign the treaty. South Africa is also a full member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and played a major role in the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty.
Solutions to the problem of nuclear disarmament and emerging nuclear states is the Treaty of Pelindaba. This treaty was created in July of 2009 and has been ratified by 28 countries. This treaty states that parties will not engage in the research, development, manufacture, stockpiling, acquisition, testing, possession,control or stationing of nuclear devices in these countries’ territories. To verify compliance to this treaty, The African Commission of Nuclear weapons established a headquarters in South Africa. Another solution to the ongoing nuclear crisis is to educate the people on why nuclear energy, weapons, and waste are dangerous, so they know why people are opposed to Nuclear weapons in the world. Education on nuclear weapons and their effects will influence people’s opinions and could change where nuclear weapons fit in our world.