International Security Index iSi




The present occasional paper seeks to provide a comprehensive analysis of the key provisions of the Basic Principles of State Policy of the Russian Federation on Nuclear Deterrence and put them into perspective, while also drawing on the 2014 Military Doctrine. The “Basic Principles” is considered as a development of major importance since it is the first time in Russian history that such a detailed nuclear policy planning document is released publicly, and the room for misinterpretation of Russian nuclear policy is narrowed.


PIR Center continues to publish policy papers, which were prepared for a joint seminar on reducing nuclear risks during great power competition, which was co-organized together with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). As it appears that such competition is already underway, we decided to release two policy memos originally prepared for the seminar under one cover “Strategic (In)Stability: Perspectives from the U.S.”. As discussed by the authors, there is some overlooked potential for constructive engagement between Russian and the United States with regards to arms control and emerging technologies.


«Active involvement of the organizing partners, academic advisors, and instructors of the Dual Degree Master`s Program allows us to maintain a high level, dynamics, and quality of the educational process. Students of the program continue to show impressive results, and the recent master's thesis defense is a good confirmation of that», – Educational Program Director of PIR Center Yulia Sych.

Peaceful nuclear energy and international mechanisms of nonproliferation and nuclear security

(4 credits)

The course program developed by Dr. Alexey Ubeev, Member of the PIR Center’s Advisory Board

The course instructors: Dr. Alexey Ubeev, Dr. Mikhail Lysenko, Mr. Alexander Pavlov, Mr. Gleb Efremov


1.1    The place and role of the course in the program of study:

The course “Peaceful nuclear energy and international mechanisms of nonproliferation and nuclear security “  aims at providing knowledge on peaceful use of nuclear energy in the context of nonproliferation as well as to the key challenges to the nonproliferation regime – nuclear and radiological terrorism and other possible malicious acts involving nuclear material and facilities.

In accordance with Article IV of the Non-proliferation Treaty all the Parties to the Treaty have inalienable right to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. All the parties of the Treaty also have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange and transfer of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, a new wave of interest in nuclear energy covers a growing number of states. Nuclear technology and materials have not yet become a subject of common everyday use, but access to them from the new countries, companies, and people significantly increased even after Fukushima accident. Thousands of specialists are receiving training in nuclear disciplines. All of them will have sensitive knowledge on nuclear technologies. All of them represent different countries and regions. The risks of nuclear proliferation increases. One of the key tasks to nuclear energy and nonproliferation experts, authorities and international organizations is to find ways for proliferation-resistant development of peaceful use of nuclear energy. . New nuclear programs are developed by countries situated in rather unstable regions. Access to fissile materials has significantly increased. The risk of nuclear and radiological terrorism can neither be ignored nor postponed.


The course makes introduction to key aspects of peaceful uses of nuclear energy and nonproliferation, including fundamentals and history, opportunities and risks of nuclear technologies use and international mechanisms in development of nuclear energy programs. The course also makes overview on key aspects of the complex issue of nuclear security, including key definitions and concepts, fundamentals and developments in nuclear security and international efforts on strengthening nuclear security worldwide.

The course goals and objectives:

The main goals of the course are:

- to provide students with basic knowledge on peaceful use of nuclear energy and international mechanisms and institutions in nuclear sphere in the context of nonproliferation regime;

- to introduce risks and threats to nuclear and radioactive materials and facilities, national efforts and international cooperation in nuclear security and nonproliferation.  

Course objectives:

  1. To introduce basic definitions, concepts, history current state and institutional structure of peaceful use of nuclear energy and nuclear security and international cooperation in these spheres.
  2. To orient students to understand the relationship between peaceful use of nuclear energy, nuclear nonproliferation and security and existing international mechanisms.
  3. To provide students with methodology of analysis of the proliferation risks, arising from peaceful use of nuclear technologies and international cooperation in the area of nuclear energy, safety and security.

1.2    Learning outcomes:

Classes are generally held to provide knowledge and methodology for further analysis and discussion on the matter of the course.

Teaching methods used include lectures with video, round-table discussions, case study, colloquiums, seminars, testing and students’ presentations.

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Understand interrelations between development of nuclear technologies, risks to nuclear nonproliferation and international cooperation in nuclear energy and nonproliferation.
  2. Analyze keys vulnerabilities and risks of nuclear fuel cycle and growing access to nuclear technologies.
  3. Correlate advantages and risks of peaceful use of nuclear energy and international cooperation in this sphere.  
  4. Analyze and compare national, international bilateral and multilateral initiatives and programs in nuclear security.  
  5. Assess the efficiencies and deficiencies of the existing political and legal frameworks of international cooperation in nuclear security and nonproliferation.
  6. Search information literature on nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear security issues; distinguish between authoritative and unreliable sources on these issues.

Course requirements:

Students will be required to attend not less than 90% of classes and to be prepared for class discussions. Conscientious reading of the assigned materials is compulsory. Students will also be required to participate in seminar and round-table discussions and to present written test.

Presentations (requirements):

1.3    Grading plan:

  •  Class participation – 10 %.
  •  Seminar presentation and activity – 30 %.
  •  Test results – 60 %.

Two seminars, two round-table discussions, two colloquiums, one business-case discussion and three “checking points’ during the semester – written tests.


Course Outline & Literature (available in pdf

Lecture by Dr. Alexander Pavlov Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Fuel Cycle

Lecture 1.1. Introduction

Lecture 1.2 Energy and non-power applications

Lecture 1.3 NFC and risks

Lecture 1.4 Fissile Material  and Nonproliferation risks

Lecture round-table discussion 1.5 Radiation and Health risks

First test

Multilateral Nuclear Fuel Cycle - Lecture by Mr. Gleb Efremov

Business Case with Mr. Gleb Efremov (without answers)

International Nuclear Law - Lecture by Dr. Lysenko

Lecture 2.2 IAEA Safeguards

Second test

Lecture 3.1 Introduction to nuclear safety and Security

Lecture 3.2 International Legal Framework for NS

Third test

Regional organizations

UN machinery

IAEA as the world centre for nuclear cooperation

Lecture round-table discussion 3.4 Nuclear and Radiological terrorism

Lecture Export control and initiatives