If we are ever going to be sure that we won’t face Armageddon we need to get rid of all Weapons of Mass Destruction. That is a simple fact with one hugely difficult, time consuming and potentially impossible solution.
However, in this article I wish to talk about the science which could help sort the problem. As the last time I checked this was Scientific Blogging not Diplomatic Blogging (if that even exists).
In order to ensure that the nations do what they say they will, the international community has to know that they are. This is not really a matter of distrust (though in some ways it is) it is hopefully a way to prove that the worlds nuclear arsenal is going down as opposed to another thousand being added in secret lairs inside volcanoes.
Now comes the tricky bit. How do we find out who (if anyone) still has more than they should have without disclosing any military secrets of how they were constructed? Very difficult indeed…
You could construct a network of detectors but they would have to be very close together – in some places less than 10 km apart. This is not feasible and would be far too expensive to consider.
The best solution has been found by a VERTEC (a pro- verification group) along with British and Norwegian scientists. This is simply a gamma ray detector which would say yes or no and surrender no secrets.
In order to reduce the world’s arsenal we need to know that it is reducing. It is no good to say well we think there is less or they say they have. Verification is a way to show that all the countries that have signed will all follow the rules to the letter. This is why the science is almost as important as the diplomacy if we are ever to have, and know we have cut down.