UK PONI Annual Conference 2018

UK Project on Nuclear Issues (UK PONI) Annual Conference is the premier national forum for the nuclear policy community to consider salient issues in the field and promote the emergence of a new generation of expertise in academia, industry, government, and the military

calendarclock - (BST)
location61 Whitehall


The 2018 Annual Conference will gather established and emerging experts from academia, industry, government and the military to share insights and debate a broad range of civil and military nuclear topics, including arms control, new technologies and the role of AI, and the future Britain’s nuclear deterrent.

The agenda comprises panel presentations submitted by emerging experts, high-level keynote speakers, and a conference dinner.

Speakers include:

Julian Kelly, Director General Nuclear, Ministry of Defence

Renata Dwan, Director, United National Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR)

Dr Kori Schake, Deputy Director-General, IISS

Dr Patricia Lewis, Research Director, International Security, Chatham House

Main Image Credit HMS Vigilant alongside Faslane Naval Base, Courtesy of MOD

Watch the recording of the sessions

Opening Remarks and Morning Keynote

Plenary Session One - Arms Control and Disarmament

Plenary Two: New Technologies and the Nuclear Landscape

Plenary Three: UK Nuclear Decisions


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    Registration and Welcome Coffee - Library

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    Opening Remarks - Duke of Wellington Hall

    Tom Plant, Director, UK PONI

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    Morning Keynote

    Chair: Tom Plant, Director, UK PONI

    Speaker: Julian Kelly, Director General Nuclear, Ministry of Defence

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    Plenary One: Arms Control and Disarmament

    Chair: Shatabhisha Shetty, Deputy Director, European Leadership Network


    Jennifer Schofield, MA Student, King’s College London
    'An “America First” Arms Control Policy'

    Dr Katarzyna Kubiak, Policy Fellow, European Leadership Network
    'The way forward on the INF Treaty'

    Elif Beyza Karaalioğlu, MA Student, King’s College London
    'How can the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Contribute to the Future of the NPT?'

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    Morning Coffee - Library

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    Plenary Two: New Technologies and the Nuclear Landscape

    Chair: Justin Bronk, Research Fellow, RUSI


    Martin Everett, MA Student, King’s College London
    'The Rise of Hypersonic Defence'

    Cameron Hunter, PhD Candidate, University of Bristol
    'Anti-satellite technology and US-China nuclear deterrence stability'

    Kirsty Nixon, Graduate Electronic Engineer, Babcock
    'Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) – Operational Technology (OT) Security'

    Guy Bishop, Model Engineer, MASS
    'Could a state cyber-attack result in nuclear war?'

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    Lunch - Library

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    Lunchtime Activity – Women of Mass Destruction

    Organised in partnership with Women in International Security (WIIS) UK

    Dr Heather Williams, Lecturer in Defence Studies, King’s College London
    Cristina Varriale, Research Analyst, RUSI

    This session aims to engage the UK PONI community on issues of gender diversity in the nuclear community, across civil and military, technical and policy. The session will see delegates work in smaller groups and use questions to guide a discussion on gender and nuclear professions.

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    Plenary Three: UK Nuclear Decisions

    Chair: Dr Rob Downes, King’s College London


    Dr Suzanne Doyle, Research and Training Lecturer, University of East Anglia
    'The United States’ Sale of Trident to the United Kingdom, 1977-1982'

    Patrick Ferns, Mechanical Engineer, AWE
    'Exploring the potential effects on UK safeguards of leaving EURATOM'

    James Bauld, Fluid Systems Engineer, Rolls-Royce
    'The Future of the UK Fast Attack Submarine: Nuclear Relevance, Cost Cutting and Enrichment'

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    Break-Out Sessions

    Retaining Skills - Duke of Wellington Hall
    Chair: Don Frazier, Strategy and Organizational Consultant

    Brogen Dawkins, Analytical Chemist, AWE - 'An Argument for Capability Retention in the Event of Multilateral Disarmament'
    Ben Percy and Victoria Murtland, Young Nuclear Safety Professionals Forum - 'Applying Generational Analysis to Recruit and Retain Nuclear Talent'

    Artificial Intelligence - Reading Room
    Chair: Ulrike Franke, Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations

    Oliver Dawkins, Thermofluids Engineer, Rolls-Royce
    Self-driving cars?  - 'Why not a self-driving nuclear power station? AI’s role in a nuclear future'
    Damon Jones, Consultant/Development Team Tester, MASS
    'The Evolution of Automation and the Future of Process Improvement of Nuclear Targeting through AI'

    Responses to the US Nuclear Posture Review - Writing Room
    Chair: Shashank Joshi, Senior Policy Fellow for International Affairs, Renewing the Centre, Tony Blair Institute for Global Change

    Rose Tenyotkin, MA Student, MIIS -  'China’s Response to the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review: A Comparison of Chinese Social Media and
    Official State Response'
    Maxwell Downman, BASIC - 'Weakening Nuclear Restraint: the impact of changes to US declaratory policy for European allies'

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    Interactive Expert Panel

    Chair: Tom Plant, Director, UK PONI

    Dr Kori Schake
    , Deputy Director General, IISS
    Dr Patricia Lewis, Research Director, International Security, Chatham House
    Rebecca Hersman, CSIS PONI Director

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    Closing Remarks

    Speaker: Tom Plant, Director, UK PONI

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    Drinks Reception - Library

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    Dinner - Duke of Wellington Hall

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    Dinner Keynote

    Chair: Professor Malcolm Chalmers, Deputy Director-General, RUSI

    Speaker: Renata Dwan, Director, UN Institute for Disarmament Research

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