Mutual reciprocal inspections: issues regarding next steps
Bailey, Kathleen C.
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Pressures are mounting for a regime to verify the dismantlement of US and Russian warheads, as well as a system of international control over the weapons' fissile materials to assure irreversibility. There are at least four motivating factors for these measures: • As the United States and Russia lower their numbers of nuclear weapons, each side seeks assurance that the warheads are actually being dismantled. • By accounting for the fissile materials and placing them under effective controls, the potential for smuggling and theft is reduced. • A fissile materials cutoff is being discussed at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. Verification of a US-Russian cutoff, as well as substantial reductions in fissile materials stockpiles, are seen as integral to the cutoff. • Calls for total nuclear disarmament have greatly increased. Dismantlement verification and international control of fissile materials are widely viewed as requisite steps toward this goal. There are many questions to be answered before the United States can agree to a warhead verification regime and international control over excess fissile materials, let alone total nuclear disarmament. Two of the most important are: What are the prospects for effective verification? and How much fissile material can be declared as excess, and possibly be, given over to international control? These topics - compliance weaknesses and excess materials - are the focus of this paper.
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