Minimally Intrusive Approaches to Nuclear Warhead Verification

  • Alexander GlaserEmail author
  • Yan Jie


Future arms control treaties may place limits on the total number of warheads in the arsenals of weapon states, which would introduce qualitatively new verification objectives, including confirming numerical limits on declared nuclear warheads and confirming the authenticity of nuclear warheads prior to dismantlement. Meeting these objectives would require on-site inspections at new types of facilities, including warhead storage sites, which could put at risk highly sensitive information both related to military operations and warhead design. Weapon states may be reluctant to consider some of the anticipated procedures. As a way to address this challenge, in this paper, we examine the potential of verification approaches that emphasize non-intrusiveness from the outset. Relevant examples include innovative tagging approaches and hashed declarations to confirm the correctness of warhead declarations and novel types of inspection systems to confirm the authenticity of nuclear warheads, while satisfying the different and sometimes conflicting requirements by the host and the inspector. New international R&D efforts could usefully focus on non-intrusive technologies and approaches, which may show more promise for early demonstration and adoption. If demonstrated, such non-intrusive verification approaches could be particularly important for moving forward discussions about expanding the scope of current agreements and facilitating discussions with weapon states that have so far not been part of formal nuclear arms control 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

  1. 1.Program on Science and Global SecurityPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA
  2. 2.China Academy of Engineering PhysicsMianyangChina

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