IPNDV Working Group Meetings Report

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Andrew Bieniawski

Following the successful second plenary meeting of the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification (IPNDV), the Partnership’s three working groups met in Geneva February 18-19, and 22-23 to continue their work.
More than 80 experts from 20 countries participated in the working group meetings discussing a variety of topics related to their work. The working groups focused on a scenario involving the dismantlement of a notional nuclear weapon, the related inspection of that dismantlement by a team consisting of nuclear weapon state and non-nuclear weapon state experts, and the related technologies that could support such an inspection. This scenario allows the three working groups to coordinate their efforts and develop common understandings of the challenges and potential solutions associated with nuclear disarmament verification.

  • Working Group 1 considered verification objectives for the dismantlement phase of the nuclear weapons lifecycle, including the types of information and criteria needed to determine whether those objectives are being met, and the specific areas of expertise and resources required.
  • Working Group 2 identified useful elements, drew lessons from a number of existing on-site inspection regimes, and began to assess the applicability of fundamental on-site inspection principles to possible future nuclear disarmament verification activities. The group began to explore the knowledge and training inspectors might require to do their jobs effectively and to manage on-site inspections to ensure they provide effective verification while meeting national safety, security and non-proliferation requirements.
  • Working Group 3 began to discuss and identify solutions to the technical challenges related to nuclear warhead authentication, and monitored storage and the chain of custody required for monitoring warheads and warhead components. Seven countries provided briefings on 13 technologies, and work commenced to develop a matrix that identifies specific technology that would not reveal sensitive information for use in support of the dismantlement scenario developed by Working Group 1.

The Partners will receive an update from the Working Groups at the third IPNDV plenary, which Japan has offered to host in June.

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