International Workshop

A 2011 event to share our work and encourage others

It demonstrated how dialogue between nuclear-weapon States and non-nuclear-weapon States on issues relevant to verification research can be facilitated, and explored how all States parties to the Treaty can contribute to their Article VI Treaty obligations.

Some of the technical challenges, security issues and tensions that are present in nuclear warhead dismantlement verification can seem alien to states with little experience in the field. The workshop was held because dialogue between nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon States on issues relevant to verification research is a good way to explore how all States parties to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty can contribute to their article VI Treaty obligations.

A number of topic areas were discussed during the three days of the Workshop:

  • Verification concepts and technologies, including Information Barriers, chain of custody approaches and Managed Access.
  • The initialization problem: How one ensures that an item entering a verification regime really is the item it is claimed to be. This is particularly relevant for items that are proliferation sensitive, as their sensitive nature will limit the amount of information available to the Inspecting Party.
  • Declaration sufficiency: How much information Inspectors may require in order for effective and meaningful verification activities to be conducted. How the Host could compensate for gaps in inspector knowledge owing to information restrictions.
  • Confidence: How to build sufficient confidence when access to information and facilities is limited by national security or non-proliferation obligations. Delegates suggested that this would more probably be achieved if the verification regime in question addressed wider elements of the nuclear weapon lifecycle (figure 3). It was noted that the need for confidence impacts at all levels from negotiation to equipment design and operation.
  • Host/Inspector relationship: Potentially conflicting information requirements of the Host and the Inspectors can lead to tensions during site visits, even though both parties want the regime to succeed. Clearly agreed requirements and objectives should help to create a framework within which the inspection can proceed and a successful conclusion be reached.

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