Snezhinsk scientists congratulate US colleagues on the 30th Anniversary of JVE
2018 marks thirty years from 1988, the year when the US and the Soviet Union opened their respective nuclear test sites in Nevada and Semipalatinsk to each other to conduct the Joint Verification Experiment. Dozens of nuclear scientists and technicians on both sides got a chance to work side by side to compare the preferred national methods to assess the yeild of a nuclear explosion. This hands-on approach allowed the US and Soviet delegations at Geneva to finally reach an agreement on verification methods for a long-stalled Threshold Test Ban Treaty.
JVE left a profound imprint in the US and Soviet/Russian nuclear weapons communities. Friendships, partnerships, scientific collaborations and a sense of shared professional identity sprung from the joint work under JVE. in 2013, the DOE and Rosatom sent their delegations to the Nevada Test Site to celebrate the 25 anniversary of this unique event. In 2018, the most notable feature of the 30th anniversary has been official silence on both sides. The spirit of JVE is still alive though - in the hearts and mind of the scientists. Their words speak for themselves. We were given permission to publish the letter the JVE veterans of VNIITF in the city of Snezhinsk sent to Sig Hecker in Septermber 2018. The Snezhinsk scientists write:
JVE launched widest possible interaction between scientists of the two Nuclear Powers in the defense and, even more importantly, civil spheres. The interaction involved thousands of scientists on both sides. It facilitated setting-up personal contacts and friendly relations between many of them.
We ask you, dear Sig, to pass our warmest regards, best wishes and congratulations on the 30th anniversary to the American JVE participants.
Continuing our work for the Russian atomic industry, we do our best to share our experience of useful bilateral cooperation with the young generation of scientists as well as our hope for its renewal.
In his response, Sig Hecker wrote:
We agree that sharing our positive experience of working together for more than 20 years with the next generation of scientists and engineers is very important. I try to do so in my classes at Stanford University and in many lectures I present around the U.S.
I will pass your nice note on to as many of our former JVE colleagues as possible.
We want to keep the hope for the renewal of cooperation alive. JVE was a breakthrough that would not have been believed possible just a year prior to when it actually happened. It was possible 30 years ago. Turn-arounds and breakthroughs will be possible again.