Verification of Nuclear Weapon Dismantlement: Peer Review of the UK MoD Programme

report coverMr Brian Anderson, Gen. Sir Hugh Beach, Prof. John Finney, Dr Nick Ritchie, Prof. Ruben Saakyan, Dr Christopher Watson

Read or download the report (pdf)

British Pugwash has for many years been actively involved in developing thinking within the UK on the steps towards the eventual goal of the universal abolition of nuclear weapons. We were therefore pleased that UK MoD invited us to undertake an independent peer review of its past decade’s work towards developing a credible technical framework for the verification of dismantlement of nuclear weapons. The report presents our conclusions.

A team from British Pugwash was given significant access to their work in this area, which is carried out within the framework of the UK’s Global Threat Reduction Programme.

We recognise that the path to the abolition of nuclear weapons will be a long one, and that there will need to be many intermediate steps, aimed at reducing the size of nuclear weapon inventories, and creating mutual confidence in taking further steps. Within this process, a politically and psychologically important element is the verification that mutually-agreed disarmament measures have actually taken place in the manner declared. Without international confidence in the verification process, it is all too easy for those who wish to undermine the process to claim that such agreements are ineffective.