The CSS Blog Network

Advances in 3D Printing Technology: Increasing Biological Weapon Proliferation Risks?

Image courtesy of Army Medicine/Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

This article was originally published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on 29 July 2019.

The states parties to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) gathered in Geneva from 29 July to 8 August for a series of Meetings of Experts. Among other topics, states reviewed scientific and technological developments that impact the objectives of the treaty. Additive manufacturing (AM)—also referred to as 3D printing—is one of the technologies that is starting to receive attention, next to more well-known biotechnologies and genetic engineering techniques. Advances in AM have been met with concerns over its potential to facilitate the development, production, delivery and thus proliferation of biological weapons—and have highlighted the potential role of export controls in reducing these risks.

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Nuclear Warheads 2018

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This graphic shows the number of nuclear warheads owned by each country known to have nuclear weapons. For more on trends in nuclear arms control, see Oliver Thränert’s recent addition to the CSS Analyses in Security Policy series here. For more CSS charts, maps and graphics on proliferation, click here.

The Nuclear Power Predicament

Nuclear power plant in Sweden, courtesy of Vattenfall/flickr

This week the ISN looks at the causes and consequences of a global nuclear renaissance. We ask whether nuclear power is a false prophet for a planet imperiled by climate change and assess the difficulty of reigning in those that seek to turn energy into weapons.

The Special Report includes the following content:

  • An Analysis by Trevor Findlay and Justin Alger on the promise of nuclear energy in the fight against climate change.
  • A Podcast interview with Dr Oliver Thränert on the need to control the risk of nuclear energy being used for military purposes.
  • Security Watch articles on nuclear cooperation between Japan and India, Sino-Pakistani nuclear ties, the Iranian impasse and many more.
  • Publications housed in our Digital Library, including an Elcano Royal Institute of International and Strategic Studies study on nuclear weapons in the 2010s and a Congressional Research Service paper on US nuclear cooperation with India.
  • Primary Resources, like the Joint Declaration by Iran, Turkey and Brazil on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
  • Links to relevant websites, including a TEDTalk on the importance on nuclear energy.
  • Our IR Directory, featuring the Russian Federal Nuclear Center (RFNC-VNIIEF) and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA).