Verification of nuclear disarmament – an initial study


  • Anders Axelsson
  • Mikael Meister
  • Katarina Wilhelmsen

Publish date: 2013-05-13

Report number: FOI-R--3660--SE

Pages: 104

Written in: Swedish


  • Nuclear weapons
  • nuclear disarmament
  • Treaties
  • verification
  • non-proliferation


This report is the result of a study with the objectives to give a mainly technical overview of the field of verification of nuclear disarmament and also to provide a basis for further studies. The aim has been to identify possible contributions from non-nuclear weapon states, such as Sweden, in a future nuclear disarmament pro-cess. The background to this study is the commitment made under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty:" . to pursue negotiations in good faith [.] on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control". If or when negotiations on such disarmament commence, verification will be one of the issues that have to be resolved. It might be desirable, for reasons of credibility and acceptability, to involve Non-Nuclear Weapon States in the verification process. A particular challenge associated with the verification of nuclear disarmament is that it will require methods for verification of individual warheads. This imposes, in addition to meeting requirements related to national security considerations, further non-proliferation-related restrictions on the dissemination of information regarding the design of nuclear warheads. The report covers existing agreements related to nuclear disarmament as well as issues related to the implementation of a possible future treaty on nuclear disarma-ment. Verification problems confronting a treaty on disarmament are also discussed as is relevant previous experience of disarmament and disarmament verification. Properties of nuclear devices relevant to the identification of declared objects and issues concerning identification, disarmament and final disposition of materials and components are also treated. Further, an overview of possible measurement and verification techniques and how they could be employed in the verification of nuclear disarmament is given. Finally, possible roles for Sweden and other non-nuclear-weapon states in the very-fication of nuclear disarmament are discussed.