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Disorder-based Approaches to Nuclear Verification

Sébastien Philippe

Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow
Harvard Kennedy School

This talk introduces “disorder-based” instruments and methods that enable radically new approaches to the inspection of sensitive nuclear activities, sites, and assets, including the possibility for an inspected party to perform minimally intrusive and trusted measurements on behalf of inspectors located off-site. Such instruments and methods do not require classical tamper-resistant instruments as well as established secure communication channels. Their security relies instead on stochastic processes and physical disorder. These new instruments and methods could be particularly useful in cases where access to sensitive facilities is limited or even impossible at first. In certain cases, they do not even require inspectors to know the location of the assets being inspected. Disorder-based instruments could also address long-standing authentication and certification issues associated with the absence of trusted-third parties responsible to procure the necessary equipment to perform inspections.