Outreach Activities of the Global Nuclear Future Initiative

GNF has focused its work in three main areas: 

  1. developing regional networks of knowledge in Southeast Asia and the Middle East that could assist nuclear newcomers and nuclear aspirant countries in establishing a safe, secure, and proliferation-resistant program; 

  1. identifying the best strategies and policies to manage the nuclear fuel cycle, including the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle and the transfer and governance of dual-use technology; and 

  1. identifying possible strategies to minimize the risks of insider threats within nuclear laboratories and power plants. 

Insider Threats co-editors Matthew Bunn and Scott D. Sagan were interviewed about the book on several podcasts. Listen to audio from these interviews:

Middle East

On January 19-22, 2015, the Academy’s Global Nuclear Future Initiative (GNF) held a series of briefings in Abu Dhabi, in collaboration with the United Arab Emirates Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR). GNF cochair Robert Rosner led a discussion on nuclear reactor technology and nuclear safety. Mohit Abraham – Partner at PXV Law Partners, Advocate-on-Record of the Supreme Court of India, and author of the Academy Occasional Paper Nuclear Liability: A Key Component of the Public Policy Decision to Deploy Nuclear Energy in Southeast Asia – provided an overview of nuclear liability issues worldwide. Page Stoutland, Vice President for Scientific and Technical Affairs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, led a discussion about establishing a holistic approach to addressing cyber and nuclear security concerns.

Another briefing focused on capacity building and human resources development in the nuclear field. The Academy also co-hosted a workshop with the Association for Regional and International Underground Storage (ARIUS) on solutions for the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle. The small-group format of these briefings allowed experts from the UAE and from the Academy to engage directly in productive, substantive discussions about lessons learned from the UAE experience and from other cases around the world.

Prior to the meetings, the Academy’s delegation visited the Barakah site, where the UAE has been working since 2010 on constructing a nuclear power plant. As the first plant nears completion (it is due to be fueled in 2016 and enter service in 2017), the team was able to gain insight into UAE’s efforts to develop a culture of safety and security and to engage in public outreach.

Workshop: Weapons of Mass Destruction and Nuclear Energy in the Middle East: Training Workshop for Journalist from the Middle East, June 23-25, 2014, Okan University, Istanbul, Turkey

Keynote Presentation and Roundtable Discussion: Nuclear Safety and its Main Challenges: The Human and Organizational Factors, June 24, 2014, Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies, Istanbul, Turkey

Keynote Presentation and Roundtable Discussion: Nuclear Safety, Security, and Safeguards and Turkey's Emerging Nuclear Program, June 25, 2014, Global Relations Forum, Istanbul, Turkey

Roundtable Discussion: Nuclear Initiatives in the Middle East - Areas for Possible Collaboration on Future, April 10, 2014, Washington D.C.

GNF convened a conference on nuclear energy in the Middle East in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in December 2009. Read more about this event here.


Our work in Asia has been particularly focused on regional cooperation in Southeast Asia, and the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle in South Korea and Taiwan.

In November 2010, government and industry officials and policy experts from more than a dozen countries gathered to discuss the political, technical, and nonproliferation considerations related to the global expansion of nuclear energy. Learn more here.

On September 26, 2017, the Global Nuclear Future Initiative co-convened a panel discussion during the 2017 GLOBAL conference in Seoul, South Korea. The panel, which featured GNF co-chair Robert Rosner, examined the status of multilateral approaches to spent fuel management and the key challenges – including regionally and nationally-specific issues – that will need to be overcome in order to identify new ways forward for multilateral spent fuel management.

Conference: Emerging Nuclear Energy in the ASEAN Region: A Path Forward to a Safer, More Secure Future, January 12-15, 2014, Bali, Indonesia

Conference: Emerging Nuclear Power in Regional Contexts: Southeast Asia, Hanoi, Vietnam, November 15-17, 2012.

Domestic Outreach

On April 6, 2018, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Stimson Center hosted a public seminar on “Solving the Unsolvable: Nuclear Waste Solutions for the New Millennium” at the Stimson Center in Washington, D.C. Managing spent fuel is one of the most significant challenges surrounding the use of nuclear energy. Although the technical means to build repositories exist, disposal attempts have often faced strong political and societal pushback. Many states are now acknowledging the urgency of the matter and considering multinational or national interim storage facilities until they construct a permanent repository. Led by experts from academia, government, NGOs, and the nuclear industry, the panels and discussions examined the existing interim storage facility proposals as well as opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

Insider Threats co-editors Scott Sagan and Matthew Bunn conducted briefings on the findings of their books at U.S. National Laboratories, May 2017

Insider Threats book launch event at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford University, May 16, 2017. You can listen to the full event here.

On May 10, 2017, the Global Nuclear Future Initiative and the CSIS Proliferation Prevention Program hosted a book launch event during which Scott Sagan and Matthew Bunn presented their work on Insider Threats

On May 19, 2016, the Academy hosted a special day-long program surrounding the twentieth anniversary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). The discussions focused on the prospects for the ratification of the CTBT and the perils of resuming nuclear testing in the future. The morning roundtable discussions addressed such questions as what is lost and what is gained by not ratifying the CTBT? And, in what ways, if any, has the CTBT monitoring and verification system enhanced multilateral transparency and global trust? A keynote address by Gary Samore (Harvard University) explored the role of the CTBT in the global nuclear order of the twenty-first century.

The afternoon program consisted of a youth forum with high school-aged students, undergraduates, graduate students, and nuclear experts. In collaboration with N Square of San Francisco, graduate students from the Rhode Island School of Design presented art pieces and simulations designed around nuclear weapons explosions and proliferation. The attendees participated in an interactive activity that explored how best to engage the public with nuclear weapons-related issues.

In the evening, the Academy hosted the 2016 Distinguished Morton L. Mandel Annual Public Lecture on “The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty at 20.” Arun Rath of WGBH and NPR moderated a panel discussion with Rose Gottemoeller (U.S. State Department), Siegfried Hecker (Stanford University), Robert Rosner (University of Chicago), and Lassina Zerbo (Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization). The panelists discussed the prospects for ratifying the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and the challenges presented by nuclear testing. The program was live streamed to members and guests gathered at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford University, the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Washington, D.C., and at the University of Chicago. Learn more and watch the Mandel Lecture here.

In June 2016, Elisa Harris presented some of the key findings from the May 2016 Academy publication, Governance of Dual-Use Technologies: Theory and Practice, at a meeting hosted by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Washington, DC. The meeting, which was sponsored by the US Department of Defense, was designed to educate US Government personnel on some of the key issues in chemical and biological weapons nonproliferation. Participants were from the Departments of Defense, State, Homeland Security, Energy, Health and Human Services, intelligence community and military services. The Academy publication on dual-use technologies was included on the reading list for the meeting, and prompted many thoughtful questions from participants.

The Global Nuclear Future Initiative co-hosted a discussion with the Nuclear Threat Initiative in Washington, DC, in December 2015 to consider the key issues that would need to be resolved in order to establish a multilateral interim storage facility.

Co-editors Scott Sagan and Matthew Bunn conducted briefings on Insider Threats at U.S. national laboratories in November 2015.

The Global Nuclear Initiative convened an invitation-only, side meeting during the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. The discussion was held at the Carnegie Corporation of New York in New York City on May 5, 2015.

On March 16-17, 2015, scholars from the nuclear, biological, and information technology fields gathered to review the draft essays subsequently published in Governance of Dual-Use Technologies: Theory and Practice.

During a workshop on May 15-16, 2014, in Cambridge, MA, participants discussed the essays later published in Insider Threats.

Robert Rosner and James Malone conducted a series of briefings on the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle in Washington, D.C. on September 16-18, 2014.

Conference: Dual-use Technologies: Theory and Practice, Stanford, CA, January 28-29, 2013

In August 2010, GNF cosponsored a workshop on game changers with the Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, August 2010.

On May 12 and 13, 2009, the Academy and Argonne National Laboratory hosted a workshop, “Toward a New Nuclear Regime: The Fuel Cycle of the Future.” Learn more here.

In April 2009, GNF hosted a workshop on The Nuclear Industry and Security Concerns in Washington, D.C.

Other International Activities


The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the University of Oxford's Department of Politics and International Relations, and Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) co-hosted a conference on "Re-Imagining the Global Nuclear Order" at Oxford University in September 2015.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Nuclear Law Association of India co-convened a "Meeting to Understand and Progress the Discourse between the Nuclear Energy Industry, Government, and the Public", co-hosted by Teri University The meeting was held in New Delhi, India in July 2015.

Keynote Presentation by Scott Sagan on A Worst Practices Guide to Insider Threats: Lessons from Past Mistakes, Department of War Studies, Kings College, London, United Kingdom, October 1, 2014

Keynote Presentation by Scott Sagan at workshop on “Understanding and Mitigating the Insider Threat,” World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS), Vienna, Austria, September 29, 2014

Conference: Learning from Fukushima: Improving Nuclear Safety and Security After Accidents, Hiroshima, Japan, June 26-28, 2013

Global Nuclear Future Initiative representatives met with delegates to the 2012 NPT Preparatory Committee in Vienna, Austria on May 4, 2012.