Systems Concepts: Structuring a New Verification Approach

  • Mona DreicerEmail author
  • Irmgard Niemeyer
  • Gotthard Stein


Further reductions in nuclear stockpiles, or ultimately, the elimination of nuclear weapons is not likely to occur absent the confidence that they are not necessary for national security. After 50 years of verifying the peaceful uses of the nuclear fuel cycle, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has shown that confidence requires a coherent and comprehensive picture of a state’s nuclear-related activities in addition to the evaluation of treaty compliance. Confidence in a world with low numbers (or zero) nuclear weapons will be difficult to achieve with only an incremental treaty-by-treaty approach. To do this one must consider the broad security context including complex domestic infrastructure, a range of existing international commitments (political and legal), and technical monitoring and verification capabilities. State-level transparency or verification may be achieved by piecing together, in a well-structured way, a very broad range of information related to nuclear materials and capabilities from: declared, undeclared, and international technical monitoring data; National Technical Means; open sources; state and international trade data; and diplomatic communications. Development of a systems concept that can drive the understanding of the interactions will be crucial to achieving confidence. It would make use of decades of experience verifying bilateral and multilateral arms control agreements and takes into account varying levels of information and risk. Such a systems concept could the drive the development and implementation of new verification mechanisms for future agreements.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mona Dreicer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Irmgard Niemeyer
    • 2
  • Gotthard Stein
    • 3
  1. 1.Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryLivermoreUSA
  2. 2.Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbHJülichGermany
  3. 3.ConsultantBonnGermany

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