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Title: The 'Room within a Room' Concept for Monitored Warhead Dismantlement

Over the past 10 years, US and UK experts have engaged in a technical collaboration with the aim of improving scientific and technological abilities in support of potential future nuclear arms control and non-proliferation agreements. In 2011 a monitored dismantlement exercise provided an opportunity to develop and test potential monitoring technologies and approaches. The exercise followed a simulated nuclear object through a dismantlement process and looked to explore, with a level of realism, issues surrounding device and material monitoring, chain of custody, authentication and certification of equipment, data management and managed access. This paper focuses on the development and deployment of the ‘room-within-a-room’ system, which was designed to maintain chain of custody during disassembly operations. A key challenge for any verification regime operating within a nuclear weapon complex is to provide the monitoring party with the opportunity to gather sufficient evidence, whilst protecting sensitive or proliferative information held by the host. The requirement to address both monitoring and host party concerns led to a dual function design which: • Created a controlled boundary around the disassembly process area which could provide evidence of unauthorised diversion activities. • Shielded sensitive disassembly operations from monitoring party observation. The deployed room-within-a-room was anmore » integrated system which combined a number of chain of custody technologies (i.e. cameras, tamper indicating panels and enclosures, seals, unique identifiers and radiation portals) and supporting deployment procedures. This paper discusses the bounding aims and constraints identified by the monitoring and host parties with respect to the disassembly phase, the design of the room-within-a-room system, lessons learned during deployment, conclusions and potential areas of future work. Overall it was agreed that the room-within-a-room approach was effective but the individual technologies used to create the system deployed during this exercise required further development.« less
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: ESARDA Bulletin, 51:35-44
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
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Country of Publication:
United States
Nuclear Weapon, Dismantlement, Chain of Custody, Containment, Surveillance