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An Overview of Zero Knowledge Protocols for Nuclear Warhead Verification

  • MIT Room 24-213 24 Cambridge, MA 02142 (map)

Ruaridh MacDonald

MIT Nuclear Science and Engineering

One obstacle facing efforts to control nuclear arms and advance non-proliferation is that weapon states wish to keep their weapon designs secret which makes it difficult or impossible for other countries to monitor or inspect their arsenals and disarmament processes. Zero knowledge methods present a means of overcoming this problem by giving inspectors tools which allow them to learn a set of details about a system with a high accuracy but without teaching them anything else about the system. For example, an inspector could determine whether an item in a box was a nuclear weapon by comparing its scrambled signature to that of a confirmed weapon without learning anything about the design of either weapon. In this talk, I will discuss a zero knowledge protocol using neutron radiography suggested by Glaser et al. (Nature 13457) and our analysis of its efficacy and security. I will then briefly describe a partial protocol produced by the LNSP group at MIT.