International Panel on Fissile Materials: About IPFM

The International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM) was founded in January 2006 and is an independent group of arms-control and nonproliferation experts from both nuclear weapon and non-nuclear weapon states.

The mission of the IPFM is to analyze the technical basis for practical and achievable policy initiatives to secure, consolidate, and reduce stockpiles of highly enriched uranium and plutonium. These fissile materials are the key ingredients in nuclear weapons, and their control is critical to nuclear weapons disarmament, to halting the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and to ensuring that terrorists do not acquire nuclear weapons.

Both military and civilian stocks of fissile materials have to be addressed. The nuclear-weapon states still have enough fissile materials in their weapon stockpiles for tens of thousands of nuclear weapons. On the civilian side, enough plutonium has been separated to make a similarly large number of weapons. Highly enriched uranium is used in civilian reactor fuel in more than one hundred locations. The total amount used for this purpose is sufficient to make about one thousand Hiroshima-type bombs, a design well within the potential capabilities of terrorist groups.

The Panel is co-chaired by Dr. R. Rajaraman, Professor Emeritus, of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India and Professor Frank von Hippel of Princeton University. Its members include nuclear experts from eighteen countries: Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Iran, Japan, the Netherlands, Mexico, Norway, Pakistan, South Korea, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. This group of countries includes six nuclear-weapon states and twelve non-weapon states. Short biographies of the panel members may be found here.

IPFM research and reports are shared with international organizations, national governments and nongovernmental groups. It has full panel meetings twice a year at capitals around the world in addition to specialist workshops. These meetings and workshops are often in conjunction with international conferences at which IPFM panels and experts make presentations.

Princeton University's Program on Science and Global Security provides administrative and research support for the IPFM.

IPFM's initial support is provided by a 5-year grant to Princeton University from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation of Chicago.