Dans le cadre du séminaire de Nuclear Knowledges - Chaire d’excellence en études de sécurité.

Are nuclear arsenals safe from cyber-attack? Could terrorists launch a nuclear weapon through hacking? Are we standing at the edge of a major technological challenge to global nuclear order?

We are proud to welcome Andrew Futter whose ground-breaking book about the cyber threat to nuclear weapons will be published by Georgetown University Press.

Hacking the Bomb provides the first ever comprehensive assessment of this worrying and little-understood strategic development, and it explains how myriad new cyber challenges will impact the way that the world thinks about and manages the ultimate weapon. The book cuts through the hype surrounding the cyber phenomenon and provides a framework through which to understand and proactively address the implications of the emerging cyber-nuclear nexus. It does this by tracing the cyber challenge right across the nuclear weapons enterprise, explains the important differences between types of cyber threats, and unpacks how cyber capabilities will impact strategic thinking, nuclear balances, deterrence thinking, and crisis management. The book makes the case for restraint in the cyber realm when it comes to nuclear weapons given the considerable risks of commingling weapons of mass disruption with weapons of mass destruction, and argues against establishing a dangerous norm of "hacking the bomb."


Benoît Pelopidas, Sciences Po-CERI, titulaire de la chaire d'excellence en études de sécurité, Sciences Po.

Camille Roth, Professeur associé, Médialab, Sciences Po

Responsable scientifique : Benoît Pelopidas, Sciences Po-CERI.


Dans le cadre du séminaire de la Chaire d’excellence en études de sécurité

How to Think about Nuclear Crises
Mark Bell, University of Minnesota, and Julia Macdonald, University of Denver

Abstract: How dangerous are nuclear crises? What dynamics underpin how they unfold? Recent tensions between North Korea and the United States have exposed profound disagreement among scholars and analysts.We reconcile these apparently contradictory views by showing the circumstances in which different models of nuclear crises should be expected to hold. Nuclear crises should be expected to have very different dynamics depending on two variables: the incentives to use nuclear weapons first in a crisis, and the extent to which escalation is controllable by the leaders involved. Variation across these two dimensions generate four distinct models of nuclear crises, which we label as the “staircase” model; the “stability-instability” model; the “brinkmanship” model; and the “firestorm” model. These models correspond to well-established ways of thinking about nuclear weapons, but no one model of nuclear crises is “correct.” Different models should be expected to apply in different cases, and we should interpret nuclear crises very differently according to which model is most appropriate. We demonstrate the utility of our framework using the cases of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, 1999 Kargil War, and ongoing U.S.-North Korea tensions.

Strategic Stability in Two Nuclear Posture Reviews
Professor Sharon K. Weiner, American University, Washington D.C. member of the advisory board of the chair of excellence in security studies.

Abstract: Deterrence is an ambiguous guide for translating presidential guidance into nuclear force structure and strategy. Although claims are made that these choices are linked to national security needs and threats, I bring in the context of bureaucratic structure. Using the 2010 Obama Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) and the 2018 Trump NPR as case studies, I show how both NPRs claim to justify essentially the same nuclear modernization plan, but this plan has significantly different consequences for strategic stability when seen within the bureaucratic and organizational contexts that will implement it under Trump.

Discutants: The two discussants will discuss each other's papers

Responsable scientifique : Benoît Pelopidas, Sciences Po-CERI.


Dans le cadre du séminaire de la Chaire d’excellence en études de sécurité

Nuclear Reach: Uranium Prospection and the Global Ambitions of the French Nuclear Program, 1945-1965

Avec : Dr Matthew Adamson, McDaniel College, Budapest
Discutants: Dr Roberto Cantoni, Université d'Augsbourg et Dr Sezin Topçu, EHESS

Abstract :
By the beginning of the 1960s, the French nuclear program was notable for its tangible presence around the globe—France’s nuclear reach. Weapons testing ranges, numerous scientific exchanges, a seat on the IAEA’s governing board, all characterized the program and its successes in the eyes of its leadership. Yet the most remarkable and curious reach of the program was something many in the program may not have been aware of: French uranium geologists, inspecting the prospects of the sands and soils of over two dozen different countries on every continent. This paper explores this phenomenon, and considers the link between this form of “nuclear reach” and the others aforementioned. Utilizing sources in France, the US, and at the IAEA archives in Vienna, it concludes that the status of uranium, dynamic and shifting during the first decade of the nuclear age, and the prospection of uranium by French geologists around the globe, reveal a great deal about the evolving ambitions of the French nuclear leadership; in the end, geophysics, geochemistry, and ore concentration techniques should be viewed alongside nucleonics and nuclear reactor design as lynchpin techniques of the nuclear age, and the diplomatic and commercial stakes involved as essential elements of the calculations of the French nuclear leadership.

Responsable scientifique : Benoît Pelopidas, Sciences Po-CERI.


Dans le cadre du séminaire de la Chaire d’excellence en études de sécurité

"From the Perennial Nuclear Security State to Federated Powers of Shared Nuclear Responsibility"

Avec :

Professor S. M. Amadae, Associate Professor of International Political Economy, Department of Politics and International Relations, Swansea University Research affiliate, Program on Science, Technology and Society, MIT

Any political theory of legitimate governance and sovereignty that cannot address the nuclear security dilemma is null and void: specifically in a time of neoliberal and illiberal politics celebrating Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump. The current reconciliation of this nuclear dilemma emphasizes the credibility of deterrence through the preparedness to fight and win nuclear wars, escalation dominance, flexible response and coercive bargaining. Sustaining the credibility of nuclear deterrence is of the highest importance. The price for this is to relegate agency to unintended processes and to treat potential errors of judgment and technological accidents as instances of risk, both amenable to rational decision theory. To move beyond this stalemate of perennial nuclear saber-rattling and embrace of the likelihood of nuclear cataclysm, I turn to republican theory. Ian Shapiro (2017) and Daniel Deudney (2007) put forward two alternatives, the first shunning international government, and the latter embracing it as a means to achieve joint global nuclear security. In either case, I argue that the most critical step in jointly achieving freedom from the fear of nuclear domination is to go beyond strategic rational action.

Deudney, Daniel H. 2007. Bounding Power: Republican Security Theory from the Polis to the Global Village. Princeton University Press. Shapiro, Ian 2017. Politics Against Domination. Harvard University Press.


Grey Anderson, chercheur postdoctoral auprès de la chaire d'excellence en études de sécurité, Sciences Po.

Benoît Pelopidas, titulaire de la chaire d'excellence en études de sécurité, Sciences Po


Responsable scientifique : Benoît Pelopidas, Sciences Po-CERI.

Retrouvez les actualités de la Chaire sur Twitter @NKnowledges



Palais des Nations, United Nations Office at Geneva

Organized by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) with support from the Government of Switzerland

Difficult relations among some of the nuclear-armed powers have contributed to an atmosphere that lends itself to the onset of crisis. With a proportion of existing arsenals already on high alert status, the warning and decision time available to nuclear decisionmakers is short in crisis situations. How does this affect thresholds against use of nuclear weapons? What are feasible means to reduce the risk of nuclear detonations happening?

Support from UNIDIR's core funders provides the foundation for all of the Institute's activities. In addition, dedicated project funding was received from the Government of Switzerland.

Speaker(s): John Borrie, Sabrina Dallafior, Patricia Lewis, Benoît Pelopidas, Scott D. Sagan


Séminaire mensuel sur les politiques de la vulnérabilité épistémique à l’âge nucléaire de la Chaire d’excellence en études de sécurité

Avec :

Dr Clément Therme, International Institute for Strategic Studies, auteur d’une thèse d’histoire de l’IHEID de Genève sur les relations entre l’Iran et l’Union soviétique

Dr Justin Vaïsse, directeur du Centre d’Analyse, de Prévision et de Stratégie du Ministère de l'Europe et des Affaires étrangères, auteur d’une thèse d’histoire de l’IEP de Paris sur le néoconservatisme américain

Les deux invités présenteront leur analyse du sujet dans la longue durée, puis nous discuterons les éventuels points de désaccord et les chantiers de recherche qui restent à explorer ainsi que les conditions de possibilité de la connaissance sur un tel sujet.

Responsable scientifique : Benoit Pelopidas, Sciences Po-CERI.


Présentation et discussion du World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2017
par Mycle Schneider, Juan Rodriguez, et Andreas Rüdiger,



"The dilemmas of the public intellectual in the nuclear age", University of Canterbury in Christchurch,
16 August 2017
Benoît Pelopidas, Sciences Po-CERI, Holder of the Chair of Excellence in Security Studies



Seminar on The Politics of Epistemic Vulnerability in The Nuclear Age ( Chaire Sciences Po-CERI & USPC)

The construction of futures has become a common activity in the functioning and management of a vast number of the economy’s subsectors: agencies, both public and private, governmental and non-governmental, increasingly resort to the expertise of modellers and scenario makers to anticipate what aspects of the future they deem relevant to their activities will look like. However, anticipating is only one of the aims: even more important is the ability to build futures, possibly have the power to monopolize this ability, and ultimately acquire enough credibility to impose them. In the case study I propose in this paper – shale gas in Poland – the construction of futures is closely linked to the concepts of technoscientific promise and sociotechnical imaginary. In both cases I show that nationally centred narratives and the promise of larger energy autonomy, together with the ability of mastering modelling instruments, have acquired these visions of the future a performative power, enabling their proponents to mobilise people and means to their materialisation, and contextually leading to the dismissal of alternative solutions.

With :

Roberto Cantoni, Sciences Po-CERI

Discussant: Pierre-Benoit Joly, INRA-IFRIS

Academic coordinator : Benoît Pélopidas (Sciences Po-CERI)

Séminaire en français et en anglais


Introduction and presentation of the USPC Security Chair 

- Alain Dieckhoff, Workshop presentation: 00.00.00 – 00.08.03 (F)

- Benoît Pelopidas, Chair presentation: 00.08.23 – 00.26.53 (F)

- William Walker, Reflections on the relevance of a security studies chair focusing on nuclear vulnerability: 00.27.00 – 00.34.03 (E)

- Benoît Pelopidas, Presentation of the Chair’s members, activities, and publications: 00.34.05 – 00.41.50 (F)

- Roberto Cantoni, Short summary of the paper « What’s in a Pipe ? »: 00.41.52 – 00.43.53 (F)

- BP, Continuation of the presentation of the Chair + Presentation of panels: 00.43.55 – 00.57.00 (F)


Panel 1: Transnationalize French nuclear experience

William Walker, session chair, presents the panel: 00.57.08 – 00.58.34 (E)

 - Jayita Sarkar, New perspectives on French-Indian cooperation: 00.58.36 – 01.18.20 (E)

- Anna-Mart van Wyk, Links between France and South Africa: 01.18.54 – 01.46.20 (E)

- Anna Konieckzna, New sources on the links between France and South Africa: 01.46.30 – 02.00.50 (F)


- Béatrice Heuser: 02.01.02 – 02.06.20 (E)

- Roberto Cantoni: 02.06.25 – 02.15.00 (E)

Q&A Panel 1: 02.15.30 – 02.40.44


Panel 2: Advances on the governance of nuclear weapons in France

Thierry Balzacq, session chair, presents the panel: 00.00.01 – 00.02.50 (F)

- Benoit Pelopidas and Sébastien Philippe, On the Foundations of Nuclear Bonapartism: Gaullist networks, the French Atomic Energy Commission and the legacy of wartime clandestine action: 00.03.04 – 00.15.30 (F)

- Grey Anderson, French intellectuals and nuclear debate in the 1980s: 00.15.33 – 00.29.30 (E)

- Yannick Pincé, The French political debate on nuclear energy in the 1980s: 00.29.50 – 00.44.20 (F)

- Florent Pouponneau, The effects of the end of Cold War on French non-proliferation policies: 00.44.21 – 00.59.03 (F) 


- Dominique Mongin: 00.59.20 – 01.18.15 (F)

- Beatrice Heuser: 01.18.20 – 01.27.51 (F)

Q&A: 01.27.52 – 2.15.52


Panel 3: Security and safety: the temporal challenges

 Benoît Pelopidas, session chair, presents the panel: 02.16.00 – 02.17.50

- Miyuki Tsuchyia: An analysis of catastrophes from a comparative perspective: 02.17.54 – 02.37.13

- Julie Blanck: Governing the long term: the role of ANDRA: 02.37.15 – 02.54.40 (F)

- Leny Patinaux: The administration of waste burying safety: 02.54.41 – 03.10.25 (F)

- Benoit Pelopidas: The memorialization of the Cuban Crisis in France: 03.10.35 – 03.32.18 (F)

- Sezin Topcu: Governance of the French nuclear contestation: 03.32.25 – 03.57.55 (F)


- Karena Kalmbach: 03.58.00 – 04.09.25 (E)

Q&A: 04.09.31 – 04.29.39


Retour en haut de page