Anna Hood and Monique Cormier
March 1, 2024
This report is published under a 4.0 International Creative Commons License the terms of which are found here.
This report is simultaneously published by the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network, Nautilus Institute, and the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, Nagasaki University (RECNA).
The international legal status of threats to use nuclear weapons is uncertain. In this article, we map existing prohibitions against nuclear threats at international law and seek to explain the scope and remit of such laws. To that end, the article explores unilateral negative security assurances; prohibitions on threats to use nuclear weapons in international agreements (including the TPNW, the nuclear weapons free zone treaties and their protocols, and the 1994 Budapest Memorandum); the rules concerning threats in the jus ad bellum regime; and the rules relating to threats in the jus in bello regime. Where there is disagreement about the way these international laws apply to threats to use nuclear weapons, we explain the different views and their significance, and we identify where there are gaps in the existing legal framework. This article is the first in a two-part series on the legality of nuclear threats.
Keywords: Nuclear weapons; international law; threat of force; nuclear threat
Dr Anna Hood is an associate professor at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Law. Her research focuses primarily on international law and security, and international disarmament law. Within international disarmament law she has particular expertise in, and has published widely on, nuclear weapons law. She is the co-editor, with Dr Treasa Dunworth, of the book Disarmament Law: Reviving the Field (Routledge, 2020) and she has been awarded multiple grants for her work on international disarmament law. In addition to her academic research, Anna provides international law advice to a range of civil society organisations, think tanks and governments.
Dr Monique Cormier is a Senior Lecturer in the Monash University Faculty of Law. Her primary research interests include jurisdiction and immunities in international law and legal issues relating to nuclear non-proliferation. Recent publications include The Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court over Nationals of Non-States Parties (Cambridge University Press, 2020) and ‘Can Australia Join the Nuclear Ban Treaty without Undermining ANZUS?’ (Melbourne University Law Review, 2020, co-authored with Anna Hood).
Full text (PDF) is here.
The page for this project is here.
RECNA Workshop on Nuclear Disarmament
“Are nuclear weapons obsolete? -Nuclear policy lessons from the Russian war against Ukraine”
Date： March 12 (Tue) 2024, 9:00 am – 11:00 am (JST)
Place： On-Line (Zoom Webinar)
Language: English Only
Speaker: Dr. Pavel Podvig
Since the Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, the role of nuclear weapons in national security and utility of nuclear deterrence have been major subjects of discussion. We are fortunate that Dr. Pavel Podvig, a world leading expert on Russia’s nuclear policy, kindly agreed to give a speech at RECNA, during his visit to Nagasaki on this important issue. This is a great opportunity to learn more about nuclear deterrence and utility of nuclear weapons in national security policy, learning a lesson from the Ukraine conflict. The workshop will be conducted only on-line. We hope it will be useful for those looking of a better understanding of Russia’s nuclear policies and their implications for Northeast Asia.
|Please register from here by March 11 (Mon) for all participants.
The role that nuclear weapons played in shaping the conflict in Ukraine and Russia’s invasion in February 2022 raise important questions about nuclear deterrence and the utility of nuclear weapons as a military and political tool of war. The evidence suggests that this utility is extremely limited. More broadly, nuclear weapons do not provide the states that possess them with tangible national security benefits and the reliance on nuclear weapons ultimately undermines national security.
Profile of Speaker
|Pavel Podvig is an independent analyst based in Geneva, where he runs his research project, “Russian Nuclear Forces.” He is also a Senior Researcher at the UN Institute for Disarmament Research and a researcher with the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University. Pavel Podvig started his work on arms control at the Center for Arms Control Studies at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), which was the first independent research organization in Russia dedicated to analysis of technical issues of disarmament and nonproliferation. Pavel Podvig led the Center for Arms Control Studies project that produced the book, Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces (MIT Press, 2001). In recognition of his work in Russia, the American Physical Society awarded Podvig the Leo Szilard Lectureship Award of 2008 (with Anatoli Diakov). Pavel Podvig is a member of the International Panel on Fissile Materials. He has a physics degree from MIPT and PhD in political science from the Moscow Institute of World Economy and International Relations.
Vol.6, Issue 2 of Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament (J-PAND) is now available online. There are 13 open access articles.
For the issue, see here. It features “Irreversibility in Global Nuclear Politics”. This is the first part of a series of special issues on the subject.
Kokoro Nishiyama, Alina Smyslova
The main authors of the RECNA policy papers have been experts with accomplishments in universities, research institutions, and in the field of practice. This time, the two authors are young people who will continue to accumulate achievements in research and in the real world.
Starting with this issue, we will publish RECNA policy papers by the next generation of authors from time to time, though irregularly. This time, all the papers are written in English, but we would like to expand the opportunities to publish papers written in Japanese as well.
The training of the next generation in research related to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation toward nuclear abolition is an urgent task, and we hope that the new policy of the RECNA Policy Paper will contribute to the quantitative expansion and qualitative improvement of human resources.
RECNA Newsletter Vol.12 No.1 (September 30, 2023)
RECNA / UCS Workshop on Nuclear Disarmament
“Developments in US nuclear weapons policy and the implications for Northeast Asia”
Date： October 16 (Mon) 9:00 am – 11:00 am (JST)
Place： Room A-12, 1st floor, Main Building, Faculty of Environmental Science,
Bunkyo Campus, Nagasaki University (Online delivery available)
Bunkyo Campus Map (PDF)
◆ Outline of the Workshop (PDF) ◆
We are now facing unprecedented nuclear crises. It is a critical time to analyze the policies of the nuclear weapon states and assess the implications of new trends. We are fortunate scientists and analysts from the Global Security Program of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) will visit Nagasaki University. The Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition at Nagasaki University (RECNA) and UCS are co-organizing a special workshop on nuclear issues with the cooperation of the NURESCA project and Nuclear Abolition and Arms Reduction Research Group at Nagasaki University. The workshop will be open to the public and available on-line. We hope it will be useful for those looking of a better understanding of US nuclear policies and their implications for Northeast Asia.
|NURESCA Project / Nagasaki University Nuclear Abolition and Arms Reduction Research Group
|Registration is closed.
|Moderator: Prof. Keiko Nakamura (RECNA)
|Welcome by Prof. Fumihiko Yoshida (Director, RECNA)
|Overview of US Missile Defense and Implications
Dr. Laura Grego, Senior Scientist and Research Director (UCS)
|Problems with US Plans for Plutonium Pit Production
Dr. Dylan Spaulding, Senior Scientist (UCS)
|North Korean Plutonium Production Capacity
Dr. Sulgiye Park, Senior Scientist, (UCS)
|Potential for US-China Nuclear Conflict
Mr. Robert Rust, China Analyst (UCS)
|Analysis of the U.S. Nuclear and Military Budget
Ms. Eryn MacDonald
|Free Discussion: (Moderator: Prof. Tatsu Suzuki (RECNA))
|Closing Remark by Dr. Gregory Kulacki (UCS and RECNA)
List of Participants
|Laura Grego is a senior scientist and the research director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, where she has worked at the intersection of science and public policy, in particular nuclear weapons, missile defense, and space security issues, for twenty years. She recently completed a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellowship at the Laboratory for Nuclear Security and Policy at MIT. Before joining UCS, Dr. Grego was a postdoctoral researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
The Status of US National Laboratories
|Dylan Spaulding is a senior scientist in the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. His work focuses on technical issues related to nuclear weapons and policies that can reduce the threat they pose. Dr. Spaulding earned his undergraduate degree in physics from Brown University and Ph.D in Earth and Planetary Sciences from UC Berkeley. Dr. Spaulding has long been involved with the US national labs as an intern, NNSA Stockpile Stewardship Graduate Fellow, and visiting scientist and experimenter. He was a postdoctoral researcher at the Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique in France and Origins Initiative fellow at Harvard University. Most recently, he commissioned and directed the Shock Compression Laboratory at UC Davis, where he also taught undergraduate geology.
Status on North Korea’s Fissile Material Production
|Sulgiye Park is a Senior Scientist in the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Her work focuses on the front and back end of the nuclear fuel cycle, monitoring and verifying nuclear activities, and analyzing fissile nuclear materials stockpiles. Before joining UCS, Dr. Park worked as a research scientist at the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, where she looked at rare-earth metal supply chain issues in the US. She was also a MacArthur and Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), where her research focused on: analyzing geological resources, including uranium and critical metal resources, in North Korea; and radioactive waste management. She published multiple papers on North Korea’s uranium mining and milling processes for disarmament and nonproliferation efforts. Dr. Park holds a Ph.D. in n Geological Sciences from Stanford University, where her thesis work involved characterization of nuclear and earth materials under extreme conditions.
China’s Nuclear Buildup and Potential for Conflict
|Robert Rust is a China Analyst with the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. He focuses on China’s nuclear weapons program, Chinese governance, and the US-China relationship. Before joining UCS, Mr. Rust spent six months as a Graduate Trainee at the Norwegian Embassy in Beijing in 2019. While writing his master’s thesis, he was a Graduate Research Fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs in Oslo. Mr. Rust holds a bachelor of arts in International Relations/Chinese from the College of William and Mary, and a master of arts in Chinese Culture and Society from the University of Oslo in Norway.
The US Nuclear Weapons Budget: The Sky’s the Limit?
|Eryn MacDonald, an analyst with the Global Security Program since December 2011, is an expert in international security, arms control and nonproliferation, U.S.-China relations, and East Asian security. She has a master’s degree in government from Cornell University, where she wrote a master’s thesis on Chinese space weapons policy. Between her graduate work at Cornell and graduating from Dartmouth with a bachelor’s degree in government, Ms. MacDonald spent four years as a program assistant with the UCS Global Security Program. Just before returning to UCS, she coordinated internships for the International Science and Technology Initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
|Gregory Kulacki is a Senior Analyst and the China Project Manager for the Global Security Program of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). He is also a Visiting Fellow at the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (RECNA) at Nagasaki University. He works on improving cross-cultural communication between the United States of America, China and Japan on nuclear weapons and related security issues. Prior to joining UCS in 2002, Dr. Kulacki was the Director of External Studies at Pitzer College, an Associate Professor of Government at Green Mountain College and the China Director for the Council on International Educational Exchange. Gregory completed his doctorate in government and politics at the University of Maryland College Park.
|Prof. Fumihiko Yoshida is the Director of the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (RECNA) at Nagasaki University. He was a Deputy Director of the Editorial Board of the Asahi Shimbun. He served as a member of the Advisory Panel of Experts on Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation for Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. He is Editor-in-Chief of Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament (J-PAND). He has a PhD in International Public Policy from Osaka University (2007).
|Prof. Tatsujiro Susuki is the Vice Director of the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (RECNA) at Nagasaki University He was born in 1951. Before joining RECNA, he was a Vice Chairman of Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) of the Cabinet office (2010-2014). He is also a Council Member of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs (2007-09 and from 2014~). Dr. Suzuki has a PhD in nuclear engineering from Tokyo University (1988).
|Prof. Keiko Nakamura is an Associate Professor in the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (RECNA) at Nagasaki University. She is the Former Secretary-General of “Peace Depot” and has a Master’s Degree in International Policy Studies from Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.
“A Guide to the World’s Nuclear Warheads Count June 2023” was released. Please click on the thumbnail images below and download the pdf guide and poster.
Guide to World’s Nuclear Warheads Count
How to make leaflets:
Print the English Guide (PDF) for making leaflets on both sides of A3 paper,
and fold it in two then in three.
>> Previous editions can be downloaded from here.
2nd Essay Contest Award Ceremony Held [JPN]
The Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, Nagasaki University (RECNA) has selected Grand Prize and Second Prize Award winners in the U-20 (16-20 years old) and U-30 (20-30 years old) categories for the second annual “Opinions on a Nuclear Weapons Free Future” and held an award ceremony as follows.
The two Grand Prize “opinions” were published in full in the September 24, 2023 issue of the Nagasaki Shimbun. (A Japanese article in the electronic edition of the same newspaper)
【 2nd “Opinion” Contest Award Ceremony 】
|Group photo of award ceremony attendees
|Four award winners being interviewed
Saturday, September 23, 2023
Award Ceremony: 13:00-14:00
Press Interviews: 14:00-14:30
1st floor, Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition,
1. Opening Remarks
by Prof. Tatsujiro Suzuki, Deputy Director of RECNA
2. Announcement of Winners and Award Ceremony
3. Comment on the awarded essays
4. Comments by the other members of the Selection Committee
5. Group Photography
Speakers: Mr. Seirai, Award winners
Moderator: Prof. Suzuki
Interpreter: Associate Prof. Keiko Nakamura
Winners of the 2nd Essay Contest Announced [JPN]
The Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, Nagasaki University (RECNA) held a call for “opinions” applying to the 2nd Essay Contest on “Nuclear Weapons and Our Future”, with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of nuclear weapons issues among the younger generation and fostering human resources who can contribute to the realization of a peaceful international society.
We are pleased to announce that we have selected one Grand Prize winner and one Second Prize winner in each of the U-20 (16 to 20 years old) and U-30 (20 to 30 years old) divisions.
【 Winners： 2 Grand Prize Winners, 2 Second Prize Winners 】
* Age at time of application.
|U-20: Grand Prize
|Minako Baba（17 years old）
Sophomore at Seiwa Jogakuin High School. Lives in Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture.
|U-30: Grand Prize
|Adiya Kerimbayeva（27 years old）
Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Disaster and Radiation Medicine, 2nd year of Master course. Lives in Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Prefecture.
|U-20: Second Prize
|Haruka Unno（19 years old）
Sophomore, School of Cultural Planning, Waseda University. Lives in Minato-ku, Tokyo.
|U-30: Second Prize
|Adriana Nazarko（25 years old）
Bowdoin College, International Relations and Asian Studies, Class of 2021. Lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S.A. Lives in Minoh City, Osaka, Japan.
Vol.6, Issue 1 of Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament (J-PAND) is now available online. There are 15 open access articles. In the issue, we focus on the future of strategic stability by seeking to clarify profound challenges to the concept while also offering novel scholarly as well as policy-relevant approaches to better understanding and mitigating the risks of instability.