An essential process in nuclear disarmament verification is the authentication of nuclear weapons. This process ensures that an object is indeed a nuclear weapon. The authentication is usually based on measuring the emitted radiation from the nuclear weapons. Can a malicious actor replicate these emissions using other materials and thus cheat in the verification process? This question is still unanswered. Adressing this research gap is of fundamental importance to any nuclear disarmament and arms control efforts.
In this research project, computer simulations are used to investigate the extent to which the radioactive signature of a nuclear warhead can be imitated. Recommendations will be developed on how verification procedures have to be modified to exclude this possibility of fraud. The results are relevant for political decision-makers and can immensely promote international actors' mutual trust in future disarmament processes.
The project is funded by the German Foundation for Peace Research. Duration: March 2021 to February 2024