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Disarmament & Strategic Stability

Verification of Nuclear Warhead Dismantlement

The importance of the verification of dismantlement has grown in recent years as the nuclear weapons states have steadily reduced their stockpiles of nuclear weapons for a range of practical, diplomatic and symbolic reasons. In the context of Article VI of the NPT, which commits all nuclear weapon states to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament”, these reductions are seen as a requirement by the non-nuclear weapon states. As numbers continue to decrease, the effectiveness of verification procedures will become ever more important and, in this context, the research being conducted at King’s College London seeks to advance knowledge and understanding of the challenges to effective verification.

 The current research project builds on the work of the UK-Norway Initiative (UKNI) on disarmament verification and aims to inform academic and policy debates about the range of factors that influence the planning and conduct of verification in the context of arms control and disarmament. It utilizes verification simulations targeting specific aspects of the dismantlement process to produce new qualitative data to support the study of disarmament verification. This approach is designed to enable the identification of the key dynamics, requirements and risks associated with dismantlement verification.

The Centre for Science and Security Studies runs this project in partnership with the Norwegian Institute for Energy Technology, Norwegian Radiation Protection Agency and the Atomic Weapons Establishment UK. As well as generating new empirical data, the project also provides participants with a unique opportunity to experience and consider some of the practical issues associated with the planning and conduct of verification in a challenging environment. Before each exercise, participants (normally graduate students) are provided with a series of lectures and reading materials to prepare them for the simulation. Exercises are conducted at an operational nuclear facility in Kjeller, Norway.    

The project has a large and growing reach, and has already engaged with students from a number of academic institutions including:

 The project has a large and growing reach, and has already engaged with students from a number of academic institutions including:

  • King’s College London (UK)
  • Texas A&M University (USA), Tomsk Polytechnic University (Russia) and Tomsk State University (Russia)
  • Witwatersrand University (South Africa)
  • Hamburg University (Germany)​
  • American University in Cairo (Egypt)

For further information contact: Dr Hassan Elbahtimy or Dr Matthew Moran.

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