Nuclear Disarmament Verification in Practice: A Field Exercise to Verify the Absence of Weapons

Vienna, Austria
Nuclear Disarmament Verification in Practice: A Field Exercise to Verify the Absence of Weapons

Removing nuclear weapons from their delivery systems can be an effective nuclear arms control and disarmament measure. It can also be an important step in reducing nuclear risks in times of crisis or military conflict. Verification of the removal of weapons does not require access to sensitive information, which greatly simplifies verification procedures and makes a removal agreement easier to implement. 

At this side event to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons – Preparatory Committee for the Eleventh Review Conference, co-sponsored by the Governments of the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland, UNIDIR will present a research report that describes the Menzingen Verification Experiment, which took place on 8 March 2023. The experiment was designed to test practical procedures for verifying the absence of nuclear weapons. It modelled an on-site inspection of a nuclear weapons storage site, represented by a former air defense site near Menzingen provided by the Swiss Armed Forces. The experiment was organized by UNIDIR in partnership with the Swiss Armed Forces, Spiez Laboratory, Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security, and Open Nuclear Network. 

The panelists will discuss the following topics: 

  • Removal of nuclear weapons as an arms control and disarmament tool, 

  • Verifying the absence of nuclear weapons and the design of the Menzingen Verification Experiment, 

  • An account of the model on-site inspection, 

  • The use of satellite imagery to support on-site inspections. 

A brief account of the Menzingen experiment has been published on the UNIDIR website. The full report will be available online before the event. 


The event will be moderated by Andrey Baklitsky, Senior Researcher, UNIDIR, who will present the following speakers:

  • H.E. Robert in den Bosch, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the Conference on Disarmament, and Disarmament Ambassador at large for Disarmament Affairs

  • Silvia Greve, Political Affairs Officer, Arms Control and Disarmament Policy, International Defense Relations, Federal Department of Defense, Civil Protection and Sport, Switzerland

  • Pavel Podvig, Senior Researcher, UNIDIR

  • Jaewoo Shin, Analyst, Open Nuclear Network, One Earth Future Foundation

  • Ana de Velde Harsenhorst, Senior Policy Advisor on Nuclear Affairs, Security Policy Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands


Monday 31 July 2023 | 13:15–14:30 CEST | Room M7, Vienna International Centre, Vienna, Austria. Light lunch will be provided at 13:00. 


This is an in-person event that is open to all participants of the NPT Preparatory Committee.  

For any questions, please contact Pavel Podvig at