The next decade will bring increased demands for improving the security and accountability of nuclear weapons and material, for reducing nuclear weapons stockpiles, and for strengthening the global nuclear nonproliferation regime. As states consider options for addressing these challenges they will need to consider how technology can help in the implementation of new approaches. Nuclear arms reduction treaties are likely to involve only the U.S. and Russia in the immediate future.
However, as nuclear stockpiles are reduced to low numbers, all states with nuclear weapons will likely be brought into the process. In the context of Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, states without nuclear weapons will require a high level of confidence that nuclear reductions are taking place. Therefore all states have a stake in understanding and developing options for verification and transparency.
In the 1990's there were significant efforts to develop technical approaches to the next generation of nuclear arms control. Many of these efforts involved collaboration between U.S. and Russian nuclear laboratories. In addition there have been numerous academic studies of monitoring nuclear weapons and nuclear materials. Although much work remains, these past accomplishments provide a strong basis for moving forward.
This workshop brought together a small group of technical experts from Russia, France, the United Kingdom and the United States to review past and ongoing work, to exchange information about technical approaches to verification of nuclear arms reductions, and to consider areas for international technical cooperation. Technical experts from China also planned to participate, but last-minute administrative difficulties prevented their attendance.
This Summary provides a flavor of the discussions during the workshop, including key observations and ideas for next steps. It does not follow the order of the workshop agenda, nor does it represent a consensus view of participants. More information about the workshop and copies of presentations are available.