Nuclear weapons have been one of the core areas of SIPRI’s research programme since the founding of the institute. SIPRI has published numerous studies on a range of issues related to nuclear arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. Many of these studies have focused on the technical dimensions of arms control, in particular the challenges involved in creating effective monitoring and verification arrangements for international treaties and agreements. This has complemented SIPRI’s long-running research work on the role of arms control in reducing nuclear weapon-related risks and dangers. Most recently, SIPRI has initiated several projects aimed at generating a better-informed and forward-looking discussion on how to revitalize the arms control framework in which future nuclear arms reductions can be accomplished in a transparent, verifiable and irreversible way.
Since the end of the Cold War, SIPRI’s research on nuclear weapons has expanded to address a new challenge: namely, ensuring the effectiveness of arrangements for the protection, control and accounting of large residual inventories of weapon-usable materials—primarily in the form of plutonium and highly enriched uranium—and for their safe and secure disposal. SIPRI’s work in this area has given special emphasis to the role that the European Union can play in strengthening international measures and initiatives aimed preventing these materials, as well as sensitive and dual-use nuclear technologies, from being diverted to third countries or to non-state actors.