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NIS Helps Pave the Way for Future Arms Control Verification

NNSA’s Office of Nonproliferation and International Security (NIS) applies its technical, policy and programmatic resources to advance technical solutions in support of future arms control requirements, including verification of limits on total warhead stockpiles. NIS is able to conduct this work by leveraging assets and technology available across NNSA and throughout the nuclear security enterprise.

Currently, NIS is leading the integration of different disciplines and areas of expertise with the development of a 3rd Generation Attribute Measurement System, or 3G-AMS. This project involves a team of specialists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Pantex Plant.

The objective of this team is to conceptually design a measurement system that can confirm declared attributes (or properties) of a nuclear weapon or weapon component safely without revealing classified information, and in a manner that can be authenticated by a monitoring party such that they have confidence that the system is functioning properly and delivering accurate measurement results. For 3G-AMS, this involves the integration of different measurement and analysis techniques, including determining the presence of plutonium, highly enriched uranium, and high explosives, into a system that can be certified and authenticated.

Work on the conceptual design of verification systems such as 3G-AMS can inform and enable negotiations for future arms limitation and reduction initiatives. This type of research provides essential understanding of potential monitoring system requirements and deployment challenges, and can lead to the development of certification and authentication concepts and processes to reduce negotiating time in the future, and help manage expectations along the way.