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NukeLab is an undergraduate research lab that applies cutting-edge social science theory and methods to pressing policy questions in nuclear security, proliferation, and deterrence. Students work closely with faculty on all aspects of the research process—building theory, collecting and analyzing data, and visualizing and sharing findings with the academic and policy communities.

Ongoing research projects at NukeLab include:

  • Assessing proliferation risk. What countries are most likely to seek nuclear weapons? Under what circumstances? To help answer these questions, we are using advanced data analytics to develop a proliferation risk score—a systematic way to categorize states by the risk that they will develop nuclear weapons under particular circumstances.
  • Mapping the nuclear nonproliferation regime. How does membership in the nuclear nonproliferation regime affect the nuclear choices that countries make? Why do countries decide to join or abstain from parts of the regime? We are helping to build a comprehensive dataset of country membership in the nonproliferation regime, with tools to visualize patterns of membership over space and time.
  • The past and future of nuclear proliferation. Have the drivers of nuclear proliferation changed over time? What will proliferation look like in the future? Using a mix of machine learning techniques and deep qualitative research into cases of nuclear pursuit, we can better understand how the proliferation landscape has shifted and which policy tools are likely to prove most effective in addressing tomorrow’s proliferation challenges.
Project Leader

Professor Jeff Kaplow

Focus Areas

International Security, Nuclear Proliferation, Nuclear Deterrence



Professor [[jkaplow,Jeff Kaplow]]

Student Opportunities

NukeLab recruits students on an ongoing basis. We seek motivated, independent students with an interest in international security or nuclear policy. We particularly encourage applications from students with strong methodological skills; experience in data science, data visualization, or machine learning; an interest in geospatial analysis, or a background in STEM fields relevant to nuclear technology. Please email Professor [[jkaplow,Kaplow]] to express your interest.


Defense Threat Reduction Agency, United States Air Force Academy