About the Proliferation Prevention Program

Nuclear weapons have been an uneasy fact of life since 1945, both for the states that possess them and the states without them. Today, there is a growing recognition that the risks of nuclear weapons just might outweigh their benefits, even for nuclear weapon holders.

Three kinds of efforts are required to reduce nuclear risks:

  • Deterring and preventing states and non-state actors from acquiring nuclear weapons;
  • Engaging in nuclear arms control to reduce the threat that nuclear weapons and nuclear material pose worldwide; and
  • Building a peaceful nuclear energy fuel cycle that lowers the risk of misuse of nuclear capabilities.

The research of the program is focused on:

  • Developing new tools for slowing proliferation;
  • Identifying next steps in arms control; and
  • Helping illuminate the path toward a sustainable and safe nuclear future.

Current Projects

Towards a Fissile Zero Future (MacArthur Foundation)

The Proliferation Prevention Program will continue to focus on reducing risks from fissile material with the ultimate objective of a “fissile zero future” – that is, a future in which weapons-usable fissile material no longer poses risks of proliferation (vertical or horizontal) or from nuclear terrorism because it has been minimized or eliminated. This project seeks to develop and promote norms in the areas of transparency, naval fuel, and civilian plutonium.

A Track II Dialogue on U.S.-Russian Crisis Stability (USAFA-PASCC-BAA-2016)

The Proliferation Prevention Program, in coordination with the Russia-Eurasian program, will be conducting a Track II dialogue with American and Russian experts on improving crisis stability. The dialogue will aim to identify measures to lengthen the time available for U.S. and Russian decision-makers in periods of crisis. Between two nuclear-armed competitors, adding time for proper assessment of threats and options can be crucial to prevent undesirable escalatory responses. Creating an ongoing venue for identifying challenges and opportunities in crisis stability could help facilitate continued official dialogue on strategic stability.

South Asian Nuclear Transparency

The Proliferation Prevention Program is teaming up with the Stimson Center to launch a two-year project on South Asian nuclear transparency. The CSIS and Stimson team was one of 11 recipients of grants in 2017 from the MacArthur Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York on “Heading Off Nuclear Catastrophe.”

This project focuses on practical ways in which India and Pakistan can contribute to nuclear security. As nuclear states outside the NPT, India and Pakistan are two of the three countries with growing stockpiles of nuclear weapons and fissile material. They must simultaneously address rising bilateral tensions and significant non-state actor challenges. Both countries are also expanding their nuclear energy programs and seeking to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group, but it is hard to tell where their military nuclear activities end and their civilian nuclear activities begin. This project will partner with emerging local scholars in both countries through the Stimson Center’s South Asian Voices program to promote India and Pakistan’s participation in an existing mechanism – IAEA’s International Guidelines for Plutonium Management (INFCIRC/549) – to improve transparency and help bring both countries further into the mainstream of responsible nuclear governance.