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Working Papers

Papers produced for the “A Stable Transition to a New Nuclear Order” project (2014-2016).

The Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies received a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for a study of the conditions needed for a stable transition to a new nuclear order, one characterized by much lower numbers of nuclear weapons than currently held by the nuclear weapon states. The project was led by Judith Reppy (Cornell University) and Catherine Kelleher (CISSM, University of Maryland) and followed an earlier joint project that produced their edited book Getting to Zero (Stanford University Press, 2011).

The world has lived with the risk of nuclear war – and successfully avoided it – for more than six decades. Yet rising concerns over the proliferation of nuclear weapons to unstable or aggressive states and non-state actors have led to new calls for addressing the nuclear danger, including from prominent former government officials. Under President Barack Obama, the U.S. government itself re-emphasized its commitment to the goal of global nuclear disarmament. But inherent in these declarations are two basic questions. The first is familiar: Is such a long-term goal realistic, or even desirable, if it risks generating turbulence, instability, and major conflict during the transition period? A second set of questions probes more deeply into the policy issues: How does the United States define stability and its requirements to minimize risk and nuclear threats during the transition? What are the military and non-military instruments and strategies to be developed? The project aimed to produce new thinking and writing on the problems of managing a stable transition to an eventual nuclear zero and to create a network of scholars who would be encouraged to expand and further the solution of problems along the way.

PDFs of working papers and conference summaries are available upon request to, or write to the Reppy Institute at 130 Uris Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-7601 to request a copy of any of the papers listed below.


Project Summary Report

  • Stability at Low Nuclear Numbers: Summary Report on "A Stable Transition to a New Nuclear Order"  [May 2017]


Berlin Conference - December 2014

  • Berlin Workshop summary

  • Eliza Gheorghe - After Crimea: Disarmament, Frozen Conflicts, and Illicit Trafficking through Eastern Europe
  • Ulrich Kühn - Cooperative Arms Control in Europe and the Global Nuclear Order
  • Laura Rockwood - The Contribution of International Organizations to a Stable Environment for Nuclear Disarmament

Cornell Conference - November 2015

  • Cornell Workshop summary

  • Anne I. Harrington - From Nuclear Weapons to the Currency of Power
  • George Lewis - Prompt Global Strike Weapons and Missile Defenses: Implications for Reductions in Nuclear Weapons
  • Benoît Pelopidas: The book that leaves nothing to chance

Monterey Conference on East Asia - February 2016

  • Monterey workshop summary

  • Melissa Hanham and Catherine Dill - Nonproliferation and the Search for Stability
  • Akira Igata - Strategic Stability in Northeast Asia: A Japanese perspective
  • Duyeon Kim - The Iran Deal: Precedent for East Asia?
  • Jina Kim - Dancing with the Enemy: Nuclear Brinkmanship and the Prospect of Crisis on the Korean Peninsula
  • Jooeun Kim - Trilemma of Strategic Stability in East Asia: How Do We Escape the Coercion Loop?
  • Jeffrey Lewis - Stability and Instability in the Asia-Pacific
  • Deirdre Q. Martin - Japan, Regional Stability, and the Korean Peninsula
  • Joshua H. Pollack - The Emergence of an American/Korean Strategic Triangle
  • Crystal Pryor - Japan's Perspective on the Iran Deal
  • Ariane M. Tabatabai - The Iran Deal and Future Arms Control Processes
  • Tristan Volpe - Atomic Buyouts: Shifting U.S. Non-Proliferation Strategy towards Allies
  • Tong ZHAO - Strategic Stability of China-ROK-Japan Triangle

Washington, DC Conference on South Asia - May 2016

  • Washington, DC workshop summary

  • Rabia Akhtar - Nuclear Learning in South Asia: The South Asian Experience
  • Toby Dalton - Assessing Threats and Priorities in Nuclear South Asia: A View from Washington
  • Benoît Pelopidas - Discussion of Debak Das and Rabia Akhtar’s joint essay on Nuclear Learning in South Asia
  • Sharon Squassoni - Implications of South Asian Nuclear Developments for U.S. Nonproliferation Policy

Second Cornell Conference - November 11-12, 2016

  • Cornell II Workshop summary [A World with Low Nuclear Numbers]


Additional Papers of Interest

  • Rabia Akhtar - “Managing nuclear risk in South Asia: A Pakistani response,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (2016). Available online

  • Thomas Jonter - Nuclear Power Expansion and its Safety and Security Risks in East and South Asia
  • Michael Krepon - Better Wait than Never: Transitioning from Bilateral to Multilateral
  • Katarzyna Kubiak and Christine Leah - Deep Cuts - Challenges for U.S. Conventional Extended Deterrence
  • Ulrich Kühn - Institutional Resilience and the Transition to Zero Nuclear Weapons
  • George Lewis - Ballistic Missile Defense and Deep Nuclear Cuts