Auditing Nuclear Risk Reduction

This project examines the past performance of nuclear risk reduction measures to inform policy choices on potential new measures.

Wikimedia commons image | Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan in Reykjavik

Over recent years, the dramatic deterioration of security relationships between potential nuclear adversaries has led to a proliferation of recommendations on nuclear risk reduction. Risk reduction is now a prominent area of work in multilateral fora and bilateral discussions. Expert communities have responded, developing thorough frameworks for analysis on the subject and raising awareness of the value of risk reduction measures in practice.

This project, a collaboration between RUSI and the US-based Stanley Center for Peace and Security, aims to assess the efficacy of past nuclear risk reduction measures against key indicators of risk. Through an exploratory expert workshop and commissioned research papers, the project seeks to develop methods to evaluate how well such measures have worked, in order to inform recommendations for new agreements to address contemporary nuclear risks.

Project partner

  • Stanley Center for Peace and Security

    Alongside our global partners, the Stanley Center drives policy in three issue areas: mitigating climate change, avoiding the use of nuclear weapons, and preventing mass violence and atrocities.

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Project outputs

Exploratory Workshop on Auditing Risk Reduction - 27-29 June, Potsdam

In partnership with the Stanley Center for Peace and Security, this workshop focused on two categories of risk reduction measures: (1) nuclear risk reduction centers and (2) non-attack agreements. It brought together a select group of practitioners, academics, and experts to explore how to best evaluate the efficacy of those measures for reducing specific nuclear risks.

Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers A Stable Channel in Unstable Times

This working paper, by Rose Gottemoeller and Daniil Zhukov (October 2023) explores the history of the Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers in the United States and the USSR (now Russia)—to explain the risks they were designed to address; to consider how well they have performed to mitigate those risks; and to identify benefits or hazards that were not anticipated when the NRRCs were conceived. Finally, it lays out some ideas for developing the NRRC concept going forward, to enhance risk reduction on a wider global basis.

Latest publications

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