Weapons of mass destruction

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    Image1 of 6Analysis of nuclear facilities using SAR images
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    Image2 of 6Balistic missiles launch sites
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    Image3 of 6Nuclear power plant
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    Image4 of 6Plutonium production reactor and associated facilities
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    Image5 of 6Plutonium production reactor
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    Image6 of 6Uranium enrichment facility

The SatCen non-proliferation mission follows the entire process of weapon development, quite literally from the ground up, beginning with the detection of uranium mining activity, through the analysis of a nation’s nuclear fuel fabrication infrastructure, to the assessment of its ability to extract material of a sufficient quality and quantity to produce a weapon.  In accordance with the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), significant events and locations are identified and monitored, using high-resolution satellite imagery, and evaluated in terms of how they relate to official statements and international treaty adherence.  

Arms control and non-proliferation

As well as monitoring the early stages of the nuclear fuel cycle, up to the point at which the process may be entirely benign, the SatCen reports on purely weapon-related issues. Initial analysis is conducted when new information comes to light which strongly implicates a specific location or area in the development, production, testing or storage of non-conventional weapons. When a location is of interest because of its known history in connection to such weapons, it may be monitored over several months or years, either to verify that the conditions set out in international treaties are satisfied or to confirm reports of clandestine operations.

Chemical weapons

Recent events have renewed the international community’s concerns about the production and use of chemical weapons by state and individual actors. SatCen reporting on this subject includes geospatial analysis of related infrastructure, physical security, transportation and pattern-of-life on a given location of interest. This analysis supports the work of any weapon inspectors in finding and evaluating chemical weapon storage sites, as well as the removal of said weapons for subsequent destruction.


Image copyrights:

© DLR/Distribution Airbus Defence & Space

© CNES/Distribution Airbus Defence & Space

© European Space Imaging/Digital Globe