Experts from NTI’s Nuclear Materials Security program joined more than 50 participants from 19 countries at Egmont Palace in Brussels, Belgium from June 27-29, 2022, to support the International Partnership for Disarmament Verification’s (IPNDV) first in-person meeting in more than two years. The meeting, hosted by the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, included a tabletop exercise (JUNEX 22) that examined potential procedures and technologies to verify the transport and long-term storage of nuclear warheads.
“We do not know when we will be able to move back to negotiating nuclear arms control agreements involving the major actors. What we do know, however, is that humanity has a shared interest in those agreements and that we must be ready when the opportunity presents itself,” Belgian Foreign Ministry of Affairs Director General for Multilateral Affairs and Globalisation Axel Kenes said in his opening remarks on June 27.
During the tabletop exercise, participants worked through a scenario involving a fictional nuclear-weapon state with teams playing the roles of inspectors and hosts to gain insight into the verification protocols and identify challenges involved in stages of dismantlement. The diverse perspectives of participants contributed to substantial conversations about the processes, procedures, techniques, and technologies examined in the exercise.
“I am confident we are building an effective and workable approach to future challenges,” said Mallory Stewart, United States Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, in her closing remarks on the last day of the event. “To that end, IPNDV’s efforts to advance nuclear disarmament verification processes, technologies, and protocols are critical.”
Three animated videos were developed to aid in the exercise with generous financial support from the Government of Canada. The animations detail aspects of verification during the transport and long-term storage of nuclear warheads and will be integrated into IPNDV’s dismantlement interactive in the future.