Direct verification of nuclear weapons and the secrecy-certainty spectrum
DVNW and the secrecy-certainty spectrum
Technology and Policy Program.
R. Scott Kemp.
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Historically, arms control treaties have exclusively relied on indirect verification mechanisms. Increasingly, direct nuclear weapons verification proves relevant to future arms control treaties. I therefore explore the epistemology of direct nuclear weapons verification through interviews, reports, and publications on potential verification systems. I argue that within Russia, most involved in the arms control non-governmental community, consider existing verification technologies sufficient. They are noticeably caught between contradictions in their work on disarmament verification and skeptical that their efforts will influence arms control dynamics. Within direct verification of nuclear weapons (DVNW) experiments, the few vulnerability tests and technology demonstrations that occur tend to disrupt prior assumptions about verification and longstanding research trajectories within the field, triggering epistemic crises within the verification field. Shifting political and technical constraints shape many of the ideas within DVNW. Narratives that frame secrecy and certainty as direct trade-offs appear to have developed in the United States with Field Test 34 and continue to generate an underlying skepticism towards any approaches that attempt to reconcile the aims of direct weapons verification..
Thesis: S.M. in Technology and Policy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Engineering, Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, Technology and Policy Program, 2016.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 88-97).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute for Data, Systems, and Society.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division.; Technology and Policy Program.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Institute for Data, Systems, and Society., Engineering Systems Division., Technology and Policy Program.