The International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification (IPNDV) focused its work during Phase II, which began in December 2017 and ended in December 2019, on developing effective and practical verification options to support future nuclear disarmament.
The overarching objectives for IPNDV during Phase II were developing effective verification options, including measurement techniques, and demonstrating the work of IPNDV through technology demonstrations.
Regarding these objectives, Belgium proposed, organized, and hosted an international technology exercise at the site of the Belgian Nuclear Research Center (SCK CEN) in Mol, Belgium. This exercise was conducted to test and compare different measurement techniques, and respectively for each technique, evaluate the potential to verify nuclear material within the framework of future nuclear disarmament. The exercise took place in September 2019 with about 30 participants from several countries using different measurement techniques.
Measuring the presence and/or absence of nuclear material with nuclear weapon-related characteristics is likely to form part of future nuclear disarmament efforts that encompass nuclear warheads as treaty accountable items. Together with technologies for chain of custody and, possibly, measurements related to high explosives, they form the potentially available technology tools for verification of nuclear disarmament.
The Belgian exercise, focusing on the measurement technology aspect, also complemented a second nuclear disarmament verification exercise that took place in fall 2019, called “NuDiVe,” because the latter exercise focused on the procedures related to nuclear disarmament verification.
This report, produced by the IPNDV Technology Track working group, begins by detailing the measurement campaign in general and its objectives and possible types of measurements as well as the characteristics and significance of the chosen materials. The results obtained with different technologies are reported in subsequent sections: Gamma-ray measurements detailing high- and medium-resolution detectors are followed by reporting on neutron measurements detailing neutron counters and neutron spectroscopic detectors. Imaging devices are then addressed. Within these sections, each team provided the description of their measurement campaign and their obtained results. Implications for nuclear disarmament verification follows before the conclusions and outlook.