“I use ‘disruptive’ in both its good and bad connotations. Disruptive scientific and technological progress is not to me inherently good or inherently evil. But its arc is for us to shape. Technology’s progress is furthermore in my judgment unstoppable. But it is quite incorrect that it unfolds inexorably according to its own internal logic and the laws of nature.”
This seminar presents the results of archival research undertaken in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany into the origins of international safeguards approaches for gas centrifuge enrichment plants (GCEPs). Archival documents indicate that multilateral discourse on GCEP safeguards was dominated in the 1970s and early 1980s by political disagreements over a number of safeguards issues, including inspector effort, inspector access, and the role of the IAEA in verifying undeclared nuclear material and activities. While the gridlock that ensued over these questions necessitated the creation of the Hexapartite Safeguards Project (HSP), a technical forum in which technology holders and inspectorates were to agree once and for all on an approach for safeguards at GCEPs, some contentious HSP issues (including the question of cascade access) were still largely resolved through political compromise. Following a discussion of the factors that led to the 1983 HSP safeguards approach, the legacy of the HSP approach on the state of play of modern GCEP safeguards will be discussed, along with paths forward for ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of GCEP safeguards in coming years.
Mark Walker is a Ph.D. Candidate in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. His dissertation research focuses on the development and implementation of international safeguards approaches for verifying the peaceful use of gas centrifuge enrichment technology. This work draws upon both a rigorous technical analysis of centrifuge technology and modern safeguards capabilities, as well as an understanding of the complex policy environment amidst the international nuclear safeguards system. The policy component of his dissertation is based on extensive archival research, studying initial efforts to craft safeguards approaches for gas centrifuge enrichment plants.
During his Ph.D. studies, he took part in a 10-month internship at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Department of Safeguards, Division of Concepts & Planning. There, he was involved with the management of Member State Support Programme (MSSP) assistance to programs across the Department. He also spent time in summer 2014 as an intern at the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, where he performed research on nuclear security and nonproliferation issues.
Prior to arriving at Princeton, he gained experience as an undergraduate student at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, working on applications of active neutron interrogation techniques for arms control verification. He is a 2011 recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, and earned his bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2012.