Nuclear Risk: Across Technologies and Domains

Virtual Conference
25-26 May 2021
Nuclear Risk: Across Technologies and Domains

Efforts to understand the risk of nuclear weapon use must extend beyond the nuclear domain. The possibility is increasing of potential escalation scenarios that emerge due to entangled interaction across nuclear and non-nuclear capabilities. Pathways to nuclear weapon use could be linked, for instance, to the increased vulnerability of early-warning assets in space to attack; to the susceptibility of command, control, and communications systems to cyber offensive operations; or to the misidentification of ambiguous payloads carried by dual-capable missiles. This two-day virtual event seeks to:

• Explore the ‘state of play’ involving developments in non-nuclear capabilities in the context of nuclear risk;
• Consider longer-term impacts of advancements in relevant non-nuclear domains;
• Bridge conversations across nuclear and non-nuclear communities;
• Derive priorities for stakeholders to consider in taking forward risk reduction efforts.


25 May 2021, Tuesday (Day 1)

Remarks from:

  • Robin Geiss, Director, UNIDIR
  • Ruth Hill, Counsellor, Australia
  • Ambassador Jarmo Viinanen, Finland

Session 1: Cyber Operations and Nuclear Weapons Systems

  • Andrew Futter, Professor of International Politics, University of Leicester, UK (moderator)
  • Lyu Jinghua, Northeast Asia Programme Director, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue
  • Oleg Shakirov, Consultant, PIR Center

Session 2: Space and Nuclear Weapons Systems

  • Raji Rajagopalan, Director, Centre for Security, Strategy & Technology (CSST), Observer Research Foundation (ORF), New Delhi (moderator)
  • Paul Meyer, Adjunct Professor of International Studies, Simon Fraser University and member Outer Space Institute
  • Victoria Samson, Washington Office Director, Secure World Foundation

26 May 2021, Wednesday (Day 2)

Remarks from:

  • James Revill, WMD-OSW Programme Lead, UNIDIR
  • Ambassador Félix Baumann, Switzerland
  • Ambassador Ann-Sofie Nilsson, Sweden

Session 3: Advanced Conventional Capabilities & Nuclear Weapons Systems

  • Kristin Ven Bruusgaard, Postdoctoral Fellow (Assistant Professor), Oslo Nuclear Project, Department of Political Science, University of Oslo (moderator)
  • Dmitry Stefanovich, Research Fellow, Center for International Security at the Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO RAS)
  • Rebecca Hersman, Director, Project on Nuclear Issues and Senior Adviser, International Security Program, CSIS

Session 4: Technology and Human Decision-Making in Nuclear Weapons

  • Vincent Boulanin, Senior Researcher, SIPRI (moderator)
  • Rabia Akhtar, Director Center for Security, Strategy and Policy Research, University of Lahore, Pakistan
  • John Borrie, Senior Research Fellow, WMDOSW Programme, UNIDIR


The virtual event will take place 25-26 May 2021, from 2:00-4:20 pm CEST both days. The link to the Zoom conference will be shared only with registered participants in the days leading up to the event. Please register by clicking RSVP to your right or visiting


UNIDIR encourages the participation of representatives and experts specialized or interested in issues pertaining to nuclear weapons, strategic technologies, and disarmament.

If you have any questions, please write to