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Our FPS organised an IPNDV meeting at Egmont Palace in June 2022. © Thomas Daems
Over the past 30 years, the number of nuclear weapons in the world has dropped dramatically compared to the massive arsenal during the Cold War. The key to that success undoubtedly lies in the ability of countries to verify each other's compliance with disarmament treaties. Indeed, such verification ensures that participating countries have sufficient confidence that disarmament commitments will be honoured.
But then you need the technical expertise to inspect nuclear disarmament. This was why, in 2014, the US Government launched the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification (IPNDV). Today, more than 25 countries are working together to develop their technical verification expertise.
SCK CEN in Mol
At the request of the US, Belgium has been part of the partnership since its inception. This immediately acknowledged our nuclear expertise, but also our credibility in terms of commitment to disarmament.
The verification research is being carried out by the nuclear expertise centre SCK CEN in Mol. For example, SCK CEN set up a large-scale exercise in Mol in 2019 to measure plutonium. Some 30 international experts participated. In 2023, SCK CEN will organise a second IPNDV event on this topic.
View of a plenary session of IPNDV in the Egmont Palace. © Thomas Daems
Our FPS organised a meeting of the IPNDV at the Egmont Palace in Brussels from 27 to 29 June 2022. With the initiative, our country made its commitment to a world without nuclear weapons very concrete. The importance of verification in the global effort for nuclear disarmament will, moreover, be a priority theme for the Belgian delegation at the upcoming Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference in New York in August 2022.
Incidentally, last year our country also chaired the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a group of 48 countries that are drafting guidelines to prevent nuclear expertise from being used for nuclear weapons.