Thursday, May 20, 2010

International Disarmamaent Labs

Writing in Nature, Sir Martin Rees (president of the UK Royal Society), Ben Koppelman, and Neil Davison call for an international advisory group and for an international network of disarmament laboratories:
These labs could take forward the recommendations of the advisory group, and ensure that nations work together to create internationally acceptable solutions. The trust built through such international cooperation would also aid wider political negotiations. The scientific community's well-established international networks can reach into countries where political links are tense or weak, enabling collaboration even with those countries outside the NPT that have nuclear weapons (India, Israel and Pakistan).
They go on to say:
Two key challenges are building confidence and detecting cheating during the dismantlement process, especially when inspectors will need to authenticate the presence of genuine warheads....The basic scientific understanding of these processes is well established. What is needed is a truly international approach to the design, testing and implementation of these techniques so that all stakeholders are confident in their use for disarmament verification. A central challenge is to develop 'information barrier' technologies. These confirm the presence of a nuclear warhead without disclosing sensitive details about its design, the revelation of which is prohibited under the NPT. Such details may also be classified by national laws.

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