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Nuclear weapons issues

FOI is nationally responsible for maintaining technical expert competence regarding nuclear weapons issues. FOI’s perspective in working with nuclear weapons questions is technical, but also firmly established in the context of security policy.

As the global situation has changed, nuclear weapons issues have attained renewed relevance. It has thus become relevant again to try to answer questions related to the threat and effects of nuclear weapons and how to protect ourselves from them, from both a military and a civilian perspective. At FOI, about twenty people, most with backgrounds as physicists or chemists, are normally engaged in these issues.

The work is divided into two main areas. One assesses the threat from nuclear weapons. This includes the work on issues of disarmament and proliferation. The other area focuses on technical verification issues, primarily methods for registering whether nuclear weapons have been tested, but also how violations of other nuclear weapons-related agreements can be verified. Our work also includes contributing to Sweden’s foreign policy by making it possible to analyse from a technical perspective, for example, proposals for disarmament and test ban treaties.

When it comes to building prototypes of systems for measuring radioactivity, mainly noble gases, and system development, FOI’s activities are world-leading. In particular radioactive noble gases are something often used to detect whether a nuclear explosion has occurred, even if underground. The department also has a unique competence in the ability to conduct threat assessments for the risks of nuclear proliferation.

The activities of the department are largely financed through grants via the Swedish Ministry of Defence and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. In addition, FOI receives commissions from the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) and the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM).

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Last updated: 2021-05-11