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Nuclear-Free World


Technical Issues of Ensuring International Stability (Securyty) in the Nuclear-Free World

Tech Area / Field

  • OTH-OTH/Other/Other
  • INS-DET/Detection Devices/Instrumentation

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Temeev S A

Leading Institute
VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov

Supporting institutes

  • VNIITF, Russia, Chelyabinsk reg., Snezhinsk


  • Princeton University / Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, USA, NJ, Princeton\nUniversity of Bradford, UK, Bradford

Project summary

There exists a point of view that nuclear weapons make a powerful stabilizing factor restraining the world from a global disaster. The fact that for more than half a century the mankind has been able to avoid the third world war, despite the contradictions existing between many countries, is usually given as an argument in favor of this point of view.

On the other hand, long-term official possession of nuclear weapons by only five nuclear club states was a strong motivating factor for non-nuclear-weapon states to enter this club by creating their own nuclear weapons. Recent nuclear tests performed by India and Pakistan can be taken as an example of that. Recognition of threat to national security born by expansion of the nuclear-weapon states membership brought many countries to understanding of the necessity to put a barrier against nuclear weapons proliferation, one of the elements of it being the unlimited in time Nuclear Weapon Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which comprises nuclear-weapon states' commitments to reduce gradually their nuclear arsenals, so that to reach eventually the nuclear-free world.

Meanwhile, the idea of the nuclear-free world has not yet become generally accepted. The main handicap for acceptance of the nuclear-free world feasibility concept by many politicians and public figures of the nuclear-weapon countries are their apprehensions that nuclear-free world is unstable, since while the NPT is in force one or more countries can nevertheless secretly acquire nuclear weapons thus creating a critical situation for the world security. On the other hand, non-nuclear-weapon countries can suspect the nuclear-weapon states of insincerity of their intentions first to give up their nuclear status, and then to adhere to this strictly.

For these reasons, in order to advance towards the nuclear-free world, a verification system seems to be needed able to promptly detect undeclared nuclear activities (secret nuclear programs) so that efficient countermeasures can be taken by the international community.

The goal of this Project is to consider technical aspects of creation of a specialized verification system for detection of undeclared nuclear activities (UNA) aimed at retention or concealed manufacture of nuclear weapons. It is intended to lay in this system's basis indications of nuclear weapons development, manufacture, storage and transportation, their environmental effect and other impacts accompanying nuclear weapons manufacture and presence. It is intended to solve the following key problems:

- analyses of possible cases of concealed nuclear-weapon programs

- programs aimed at attempting to switch various civil nuclear technologies to nuclear weapons manufacture,
- programs aimed at retention and maintenance of concealed nuclear arsenals by countries currently possessing nuclear weapons,

- revelation of signs of undeclared nuclear activities;
- formulation of technical requirements for UNA detection monitoring services;
- elaboration of recommendations for selection of undeclared nuclear activity detection methods and devices;
- preliminary verification of one of the recommended versions of monitoring equipment, its sensitivity and efficiency assessment under field conditions;
- development of proposals for the structure of the monitoring system designed for data acquisition and analysis in interests of UNA detection.

The project tasks will be implemented by the team of weapons experts of various types from the two Russia' leading nuclear centers. Technical approaches and methodology are based upon knowledge of the whole NW development, testing and manufacture cycle accumulated during many years of work by various nuclear-weapons experts.

Technical approach and methodology

The approach to solution of the problem formulated is based upon knowledge available at the RFNC-VNIIEF of the whole NW development and manufacture cycle, of technological features of NW manufacture at each phase, of signs indicating manufacture of all nuclear weapons design elements, as well as of all issues accompanying manufacture, storage, elimination and transportation of NW and its inpidual materials and modules.

Presence of various specialists in the working team provides a unique opportunity to conduct modeling work for the complex verification system creation process, including accumulation, detailed study and expert analysis of results.

Anticipated results

As a result of the Project implementation it is intended to obtain the following major results:

- to construct a number of models for possible types of undeclared nuclear activities;
- to analyze representative situations and single out principal indications of undeclared nuclear activities;
- to review existing methods for detection of undeclared nuclear activity indications with their sensitivity assessments;
- to develop proposals for selection of a set of monitoring techniques for the specialized verification system;
- to perform experiments to determine sensitivities of radiate and radiochemical detection techniques;
- to develop structural principles of the monitoring system that would include data creation and analysis modules;
- to solve several representative benchmark problems to determine probability of undeclared nuclear activities;
- to develop proposals for design of the possible monitoring system for detection of undeclared nuclear activities.

The proposed activity will comprise numerical and theoretical and some experimental studies to simulate revelation of a specific undeclared nuclear activity case basing upon measurement results.

Potential role of foreign collaborators

The potential role of foreign collaborators can be made by joint studies of the verification system structural principles for revelation of undeclared nuclear activities, in discussions of obtained results and elaboration of joint recommendations for proposals of activities.


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