Arms Control and Disarmament Programme

The Arms Control and Disarmament (ACD) Programme was mostly preoccupied with drafting and reviewing its latest report on verified warhead dismantlement.

On 7 July 2010, Andreas Persbo participated in a Royal Society event at the AWE in Aldermaston. The meeting discussed present non-proliferation and disarmament efforts. On 16 July 2010, the ACD programme also released its penultimate briefing paper on the CTBT. Written by Jeffrey Lewis of the New America Foundation, the paper deals with prospects for entry-into-force of the treaty by looking at each of the nine remaining hold-outs in turn. Recognising the challenges that remain, Mr Lewis’s paper also touches on the growing calls for alternative mechanisms for entry-into-force and for provisional application of the treaty, pending ratifications by all those required to do so.

On 22 July, Andreas Persbo, Scott Spence and Rocio Escauriaza Leal met with Professor Barry Kellman to discuss present and future work. And on 4 August 2010, Andreas Persbo travelled to Norway to participate in a small seminar on illicit nuclear fuel cycles hosted by the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment. On 11 August 2010, he met with UK Ministry of Defence officials to discuss future activities relating to verified warhead dismantlement.

On 1 September 2010, the ACD programme finally released a 100-page report on Verifying Warhead Dismantlement, building on work undertaken by VERTIC as part of the UK-Norway Initiative over the past three years. The report is the ninth in the Verification Matters series, and has been met with a positive response from those in and around the nuclear arms control community. The report seeks to place the experience of the UK-Norway Initiative in the context of past projects investigating similar issues of verified warhead dismantlement—to see where similarities exist, where differences have arisen, and what lessons can be learned for future efforts. A peer-review meeting in London was held on 23 July 2010 and the ACD team would like to express their deep gratitude to all those who took part—some of whom crossed oceans to offer their thoughts on the report’s first draft.

Between 19-25 September, Andreas Persbo, Hassan Elbahtimy and David Cliff travelled to Vienna to attend the 54th annual General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency. VERTIC’s sizeable delegation to this year’s event also included VERTIC volunteer Meena Singelee, VERTIC’s recent visiting scholar Sonia Drobysz and Mark Hibbs from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The conference presented the ideal opportunity to meet with Agency personnel in order to promote Verification Matters 9 and to raise awareness of VERTIC among those in the nuclear policy-making and non-governmental fields. Over the course of the week-long gathering, VERTIC met with a number of senior IAEA officials, including those from the Agency’s Office of Legal Affairs, Department of Safeguards and its Office of External Relations. In addition, VERTIC staff met with a large number of member state delegations.

Also in September, Andreas Persbo travelled to Belgium to attend the preparatory workshop for the Washington Forum, and to Colombo, Sri Lanka, to participate in a workshop meeting on the verified dismantlement of short range ballistic missiles. Closer to home, Hassan Elbahtimy attended a discussion meeting in September with Gary Samore—White House Coordinator on Arms Control, WMD and Terrorism and a special advisor to President Obama—at the IISS in London.