Reaching President Obama’s goal of a world without nuclear weapons requires overcoming technical challenges in verifying disarmament. For more than a decade, the U.S. and U.K. have worked 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. over the years of their cooperative work. She was joined by Attila Burjan of the U.K. Atomic Weapons Establishment. The presentation took place in New York at a side event in conjunction with meetings of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
Smith and Burjan focused specifically on the experience the two countries gained through two exercises: one at the beginning of the U.S. and U.K. cooperation and one more recently that was 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 recent exercise was performed in an operational nuclear facility with representative quantities of fissile material and simulated high explosives.
The full presentation slides are available here.
Additional photos are available here.
Michele Smith, Deputy Director for the Warhead Dismantlement Transparency Program within NNSA’s Office of Nonproliferation and International Security, shares technical verification lessons learned by the U.S. and U.K. over the years of their cooperative work.