Reaching President Obama’s goal of a world without nuclear weapons requires overcoming technical challenges in verifying that disarmament has occurred. For more than a decade, the U.S. and U.K. have been working together to improve technical verification—an endeavor that balances the need to protect classified and sensitive information with the need to obtain enough data to inform the process.
Michele Smith, Deputy Director for the Warhead Dismantlement Transparency Program within NNSA’s Office of Nonproliferation and International Security, recently shared technical verification lessons learned by the U.S. and U.K. She was joined by Mark Ruglys of the British Embassy to the United States. The presentation took place at a side event in conjunction with meetings of the UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security.
Smith and Ruglys specifically focused on the experience the two countries gained through a year-long monitored dismantlement exercise designed to test existing methodologies and identify areas where further development is needed. To be as realistic as possible, the exercise was performed in an operational nuclear facility with representative quantities of fissile material and simulated high explosives.
The full presentation (approximately 30 minutes, including Q&A) was webcast and currently is available at http://webtv.un.org/watch/technical-challenges-in-verifying-nuclear-disarmament/2769294424001/.