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Hiroshima for Global Peace

(10) Nuclear Disarmament Verifications

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. However, as mentioned above, due to the COVID-19 pandemic which made it difficult for inspectors to enter the other countries in 2021 as in the previous year, on-site inspections could only be conducted a number of times far below the maximum limit permitted under the treaty.

One noticeable activity 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 the Vatican),218 the IPNDV continues to study verification measures and technologies related to the dismantlement of nuclear weapons, as well as fissile material derived from dismantled nuclear warheads.

During Phase III, which began in 2020, partner countries were to “build on current working methods and engage in further hands-on activities, including scenario-based discussions, practical exercises and technology demonstrations.”219 The following activities were listed:

➢ Use a scenario-based approach based on a full, representative national case study of a notional nuclear weapon possessing state (Country X), and its nuclear enterprise to demonstrate how concepts and other elements of the overall verification “tool kit” developed in Phases I and II can be implemented;
➢ Continue deeper exploration of issues related to the design of verification, such as irreversibility, transparency and the non-production of nuclear weapons, among others, to build confidence over time;
➢ Address gap areas identified through Phases I and II, such as the detection of the presence or absence of nuclearweapon materials, information barrier concepts and technologies; and
➢ Conduct outreach activities to engage senior political leaders, and the nuclear disarmament verification expert community and maintain focus on nuclear disarmament verification.

In Phase III, three working groups on inspectors, host and technologies are to be established in order to “focus on a scenario developed by a dedicated task force describing a notional nuclear weapon possessing state and elements of a nuclear disarmament verification regime to test possible verification measures against the scenario.”220

In June 2021, “[t]he IPNDV brought together more than 40 technical and policy experts from 13 members countries for a four-day virtual exercise during the week of June 14, 2021 to simulate the verification and monitoring of the removal, and subsequent placement in storage, of a warhead from its road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).”221 In September, the IPNDV held a two-day symposium virtually, where participants, with reports from U.S. and European government officials, reviewed the IPNDV’s activities over the past six years and discussed technologies enabling nuclear disarmament verification in a wide range of contexts.222


Another effort on nuclear disarmament verification is that the United Kingdom, the United States, Norway and Sweden launched the “Quad” initiative in 2015, and have been continuing its work. Based on the lessons learned from the multilateral exercise conducted in 2017, two separate workstreams of verification strategies and verification technologies are being organized for study and analysis.223

At the 2019 NPT PrepCom, the NAM countries requested IAEA’s involvement in the development of verification measures, including those applied to fissile material removed from nuclear weapons programs. They also called for the establishment by the 2020 NPT RevCon of a standing committee to monitor and verify the nuclear disarmament steps undertaken unilaterally or through bilateral agreements by the NWS.224

The UNGA decision in 2021, titled “Nuclear disarmament verification,” to hold additional sessions and informal intersessional consultative meetings of a group of governmental experts in 2022 and 2023, which was established in 2020, to further consider nuclear disarmament verification issues since these meetings could not take place earlier due to COVID-19. This resolution was adopted with 187 countries in favor and two abstentions (Iran and Syria).

218 In addition to three NWS (France, the United Kingdom and the United States), Argentina, 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. China and Russia attended in Phase I (2015-2017) as observers, but did not join in Phase II (2018-2019).
219 IPNDV, “Phase III Programme of Work,” IPNDV_Phase_III_Programme_of_Work.pdf
220 IPNDV, “Working Groups,”
221 IPNDV, “IPNDV Conducts Virtual Nuclear Disarmament Verification Exercise,” June 21, 2021,
222 IPNDV, “Innovations in Nuclear Disarmament Verification: Summary of the IPNDV Virtual Symposium,” October 26, 2021,
223 See the QUAD’s website (
224 NPT/CONF.2020/PC.III/WP.14, March 21, 2019.

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