Nuclear Policy Talks: Facilitating Nuclear Disarmament: Verified Declarations of Fissile Material Stocks and Production

March 20, 2012

Alexander Glaser, Assistant Professor, The Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University

National declarations of fissile material holdings-highly enriched uranium and plutonium-could play an important role in supporting growing interest in nuclear disarmament, by facilitating not only transparency but also the irreversibility of the process. This briefing discusses what kind of content such declarations could have in order to be meaningful and effective, the sequence of data on fissile material holdings that states might release, and some of the challenges to be expected in reconstructing historic fissile material production. This discussion also summarizes current attitudes of nuclear weapon states toward making such declarations, discusses the capabilities and limitations of potential approaches to verifying declarations of historic production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium, and identifies opportunities for further research and development.

 

Sponsored by the Nuclear Policy Talks, the Institute for Security and Conflict Studies, and the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies