Gathering in Buenos Aires, Argentina, representatives from NNSA recently joined more than 25 countries, both with and without nuclear weapons, for the fifth plenary meeting of the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification (IPNDV).
Through this public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of State and the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), participating countries use a collaborative framework to further develop their understanding of the complex challenges involved in the verification of nuclear disarmament, and identify potential solutions to address those challenges.
This session marked the end of Phase I of the IPNDV. Some key focus areas during the initial two-year phase were the monitoring and inspection of a hypothetical nuclear weapon dismantlement process.
Three working groups dealt with this task and concluded that although tough technical challenges remain, there is a potential path forward to multilaterally monitored nuclear warhead dismantlement. This may be possible through technologies and inspection procedures that include barriers to protect classified information.
At the same time, these technologies and procedures can also address safety, security, non-proliferation, and classification concerns in a future nuclear disarmament agreement.
“The inclusion of both states with and without nuclear weapons in this unique partnership demonstrates that we can make progress to solve nuclear disarmament verification challenges in a multilateral setting while still protecting highly sensitive nuclear weapons design information,” said Michele Smith, deputy director of NNSA’s Office of Nuclear Verification. Smith represented the United States as a co-chair of the “Technical Challenges and Solutions” working group in Phase I and will co-chair the “Technologies for Verification” working group during Phase II.
NNSA also supports IPNDV through technical support from DOE’s national laboratories. Building on the work carried out during Phase I, Phase II will broaden the scope to address elements across the wider nuclear weapons lifecycle.