The US-UK ‘special’ relationship has been a feature of global nuclear politics and history since the dawn of the nuclear age. Since its genesis in the Manhattan project and cementation with the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement (MDA), the relationship has expanded. Driven by shared threat perceptions and priorities, the US and UK continue to work closely together on a variety of technological and policy matters in the nuclear field.
In the spirit of this longstanding cooperation, the UK Project on Nuclear Issues (UK PONI) and US Project on Nuclear Issues (US PONI) will host their first bilateral conference on 4-5 November 2014. Sponsored by AWE, the conference will examine subjects that are of mutual interest to both countries, and that cross the technology and policy realms. A formal agenda will be released in October and issues covered could include future deterrence requirements, technical means for ensuring confidence in nuclear reductions and treaty compliance, and opportunities for future US-UK collaboration.
The conference will take place at the Wokefield Park Hotel in Reading, Berkshire. Registration is on a first-come-first-serve basis and is open to UK and US PONI members only. To register for UK PONI for free, please visit www.rusi.org/ukponi/membership. Participants who do not have financial support from their organisation may request support from UK PONI to cover hotel and travel costs.
On the afternoon of 5 November, participants will have the opportunity to attend one of two available site visits at AWE. Only individuals who regsitered for the conference before 8 October will have the opportunity to attend these site visits. Participants that registered after this date will still be able to attend conference proceedings at the Wokefield Park Hotel.
Site Visit Option 1: Educational Collection
A guided tour will be given of the AWE Educational Collection, which maintains the historical record of the UK’s involvement in the development of nuclear warheads. The Collection holds material from the very beginnings of the UK Project in 1940 and displays material from the test programmes as well as examples of all in-service UK systems.
Site Visit Option 2: Forensic Seismology
AWE Blacknest is home to the Forensic Seismology team that provides advice to UK government on nuclear-test-ban verification issues. The visit will consist of a presentation, followed by a tour of exhibits and instruments around the building. AWE will provide an overview of how seismologists can detect signals from around the globe, and use signal characteristics to distinguish explosions from earthquakes.