The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a 45-nation cartel that controls the trade of nuclear fuel, materials and technology.

"[We seek] to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear related exports," the groups says on its website.

"NSG guidelines are implemented by each participating government in accordance with its national laws and practices. Decisions on export applications are taken at the national level in accordance with national export licensing requirements."

NSG policy has been to do business primarily with countries who have signed one or more nuclear non-proliferation treaty and which permits "full-scope" inspections by the UN's nuclear watchdog agency.

Shock explosion

India, Pakistan and Israel are the exceptions to that policy.

The European Commission also holds observer status.

The cartel normally has one annual plenary meeting and decisions are made by consensus. Members can also hold consultative sessions.

Germany is the current head of the group.

The NSG has no permanent office and details of its deliberations are kept confidential.

It was formed in reaction to India's shock 1974 nuclear test explosion, using reactor technology provided by Canada in the 1950s supposedly for peaceful energy development.

The members states are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States are the groups members states.

Source: Agencies