three terms: the probability that an adversary will choose to proliferate along a particular pathway (L), the probability of success along that path (P), and the consequences of proliferation (C) (NSSPI 2010, NRC 2011a, Charlton 2012). A full risk assessment sums over all possible pathways. The committee notes that this is a difficult and evolving task for situations in which a motivated host state may continuously invent new pathways (including illegal acquisition) or regional stability alters that motivation; both examples affect the probabilities that attach to the terms above. Country-specific factors such as motivation, technical capability, access to technology, and intent clearly are needed to assess L. Proliferation resistance could contribute to both P and L. Because proliferation resistance is one component to the problem of proliferation risk and because it is not infinite (there is no proliferation-proof fuel cycle), other country-specific factors will determine whether and how a host state proliferates.


The report is organized into five chapters that correspond to the five tasks in the study charge.

Chapter 2 describes the types of proliferation-related topics faced by decision makers and identifies questions that can be informed by a broad range of technical assessments. It ends with a discussion of the types of questions that can be addressed by technical assessment of proliferation resistance.

Chapter 3 describes historical and existing methods for assessing proliferation risk, with a particular focus on predefined framework methodologies, identifies their strengths and weaknesses, and discusses their utility to decision makers.

Chapter 4 considers how risk assessment methodologies from other fields might be applied to the problem of proliferation risk assessment. It also discusses how application of these approaches could be applied to address deficiencies in implementation of predefined framework assessments.

Chapter 5 addresses needs for future R&D to improve assessments of proliferation risk, based on the findings of Chapters 3 and 4. Chapter 6 focuses on approaches for better communicating results of technical assessments to different audiences, including policy makers, the international community, and the public.

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