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Hiroshima for Global Peace

(10) Verifications of Nuclear Weapons Reductions

(10) Verifications of Nuclear Weapons Reductions

Russia and the United States have implemented verification measures, including on-site inspections, under the New START. Since its entry into force, they have conducted on-site inspections as stipulated in the treaty.210

One of the noticeable activities on verification is the “International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification (IPNDV),” launched by the United States in December 2014. With 28 participating countries (and the EU and Vatican),211 the IPNDV continues to study verification measures and technologies on dismantlement of nuclear weapons, as well as fissile material derived from dismantled nuclear warheads. China and Russia attended in the Phase I (2015-2017) as observers, but did not join in the Phase II (2018-2019).

For Phase II following Phase I, the IPNDV will deepen its understanding of effective and practical verification options to support future nuclear disarmament verification and demonstrate its work through tangible activities such as exercises and demonstrations.212 For these purposes, the following three working groups will be established: Verification of Nuclear Weapons Declarations; Verification of Reductions; and Technologies for Verification.

In December 2019, the seventh plenary meeting of the IPNDV (with participating 24 countries) was hosted by Canada, and Phase 2 was completed. In the Phase 2 summary report, the participants identified the issues for future works: verification of nuclear weapon declarations, verification of reductions, and technologies for verification.213 The first meeting of Phase 3 will be held in Geneva in March 2020.214

In May 2018, the first meeting of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) to consider the role of verification in advancing nuclear disarmament—in accordance with the UNGA resolution adopted in 2016—was held by governmental officials from 25 countries.215 After three meetings, the GGE adopted a consensus report, and published it in May 2019. In the report, the GGE concluded that “advancing nuclear disarmament is an ongoing undertaking and there is a need for a continued international examination of the issue in all its aspects, including verification,” and recommended “to consider further work related to the role of verification in advancing nuclear disarmament.”216

At the 2019 NPT PrepCom, the United Kingdom, on behalf of Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, reported: “[I]n October 2017 we conducted the first-ever multilateral nuclear disarmament verification exercise. The exercise, known as LETTERPRESS, explored the practical challenges associated with the monitoring and verification of nuclear weapon declarations…The Quad has identified a broad range of lessons from LETTERPRESS relevant to the future development of verification technologies and procedures, as well as the functioning of multilateral inspection teams.”217 Norway also proposed to establish a nuclear disarmament verification trust fund under the auspices of UNODA for increasing capacity building and diversity.218 In addition, the NAM countries called for the establishment by the 2020 RevCon of a standing committee to monitor and verify the nuclear disarmament steps undertaken unilaterally or through bilateral agreements by the nuclearweapon States.219

210 The U.S. Department of State, “New START Treaty Inspection Activities,”

211 In addition to three NWS (France, the United Kingdom and the United States), Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the UAE and others participated in the IPNDV.

212 In the summary report of the Phase I, the INPDV identified several specific verification areas for additional analysis as following: Declarations, including within the wider nuclear disarmament process and as complements to more specific monitoring and inspection of nuclear weapon dismantlement; Data handling requirements across the inspection process; Information barrier technologies; Technologies enabling measurements of Special Nuclear Material (SNM) and High Explosives (HE), as well as the development of nuclear weapon templates; and Testing and exercising potentially promising technologies and procedures.

213 “Phase II Summary Report: Moving from Paper to Practice in Nuclear Disarmament Verification,” IPNDV, December 2019.

214 “IPNDV Phase II Concludes in Ottawa,” IPNDV, January 9, 2019,

215 Participating countries include Brazil, Chile, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

216 A/74/90, May 15, 2019.

217 “Verification Statement on behalf of ‘the Quad’: The United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden and the United States,” Cluster 1, 2019 NPT PrepCom, May 2, 2019. Regarding their efforts, see also, for instance, the Hiroshima Report 2017.

218 “Statement by Norway,” General Debate, 2019 NPT PrepCom, May 1, 2019.

219 NPT/CONF.2020/PC.III/WP.14, March 21, 2019.

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