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The IPNDV Gathers in Sydney for 2022 Plenary Meeting

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The International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification (IPNDV) held its annual plenary meeting in person from December 5-9, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. This meeting of the IPNDV was generously hosted by the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO).

More than 60 experts representing 18 countries gathered in Sydney to review the work done to date during the IPNDV’s third phase of work and refine a work plan for the next two to three years. The Partners were pleased to be joined by several distinguished guests during the meeting, including U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins; Senator the Hon Tim Ayres, Assistant Minister for Manufacturing and Assistant Minister for Trade; Geoffrey Shaw, ASNO Director General; and Carmen MacDougall, Senior Vice President of the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

The meeting came three years into the IPNDV’s third phase of work. During Phase III, the IPNDV is assessing verification concepts through scenario-based applications and identifying and evaluating technologies that serve verification goals. The plenary meeting was an opportunity for participants to further their work through strategic dialogue, a mini-exercise, and technology demonstrations.

In her opening remarks, Ambassador Jenkins congratulated the group on the impressive progress they have made during Phase III. “The series of exercises and technical demonstrations the Partnership has conducted over the past two years…have allowed for rigorous examination of the various processes, procedures, techniques, and technologies developed in the earlier phases of your work,” she said. “As a result, the Partnership has produced an impressive and valuable toolkit that can strengthen future arms control regimes by exploring realistic and effective verification mechanisms to help address complex verification challenges associated with nuclear disarmament.” Ambassador Jenkins’ full remarks are available here.

After four days of productive task group meetings and plenary sessions, participants spent a day at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) office at Lucas Heights, outside of Sydney. They received a tour of the facility and viewed a demonstration of two technologies with nuclear disarmament verification applications: ANSTO’s CORIS360 radiation detection and imaging technology and Sandia National Laboratory’s Trusted Radiation Identification System (TRIS). The demonstration showed how these technologies could build confidence in a dismantlement process while protecting sensitive information. The IPNDV extends its sincere thanks to ANSTO for making the visit possible.

The IPNDV will reconvene for another in-person meeting in April. Until then, the experts will continue meeting virtually to continue refining the workstreams detailed in the meeting summary (forthcoming).

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