Accommodating Nutopia: The nuclear ban treaty and the developmental interests of Global South countries

18 August 2023

Review of International Studies

This publication by Andrew Futter and Olamide Samuel argues that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) would not have been possible without protecting the inalienable rights of states to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. While some Western states and NGOs have pushed to ban all applications of nuclear technology, this was unacceptable to a large number of disarmament-supporting states from the Global South and the Non-Aligned Movement. Without support from states across the Global South, the TPNW would not have achieved the required number of signatories to be adopted. 

Thus, we argue that to properly understand the TPNW, an appreciation of states’ interests and motivations beyond their more widely discussed frustrations with the pace of nuclear disarmament is essential. We also argue that nuclear weapons scholarship must pay more attention to perspectives from the Global South and the concept of Nutopia – a belief in both the dystopian potential of nuclear weapons and the utopian possibilities of nuclear energy – in its understanding of nuclear politics, past and present. Global South perspectives are often overlooked, and as such, current regimes of nuclear arms control and disarmament remain only partially understood in Western literature.

Dr Olamide Samuel

The NPT: the cornerstone or headstone of the global non-proliferation regime?

25 July 2023

Olamide Samuel

Without a doubt, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) has cemented its place as the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime. Referring to the NPT as the cornerstone is one of the few things that NATO and ICAN agree on, albeit for different reasons. 

The Former UN Secretary-General, the late Kofi Annan, even went further to hail the NPT as a “true cornerstone of global security”, as has every UN Secretary-General after him. It is obvious that the NPT is of great significance to global security, but the notion of a ‘cornerstone’ is a rather specific characterisation that the NPT enjoys. This specificity begs the question: what really is a cornerstone?

Photo of Olamide Samuel
Olamide Samuel

Will Africa have a Nuclear Powered Future?

BBC World Service - 21 April 2023

Olamide Samuel

Africa is facing a power dilemma – it needs to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, but renewable energy sources currently produce very little power on the continent. This is why some governments are looking seriously at nuclear power as an alternative. There is currently only one commercial nuclear power station on the continent, but there could soon be more. Questions of cost and safety will have to be addressed, and there are strict international regulations that take years to fulfil.

Africa Daily looks at what it takes to become a nuclear powered state, and which countries in Africa are considering it. Alan Kasujja speaks to Dr Stephen Yamoah, Executive Director of Nuclear Power Ghana, nuclear scientist Senamile Masango and nuclear policy analyst Dr Olamide Samuel.

Photo of Olamide Samuel
Olamide Samuel

nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)'s
Review Conference - first session

23 January 2023

Olamide Samuel

With the eleventh Review Conference (RevCon) of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) slated for 2026, the first session of its Preparatory Committee will be held this year in Vienna. 

As the NPT cycle has been cut to four years instead of five due to pandemic-related delays, there is limited time for considered reflections on the ‘failure’ of the Tenth NPT RevCon to produce a final consensus document.

Given the prevailing international security environment, the near possibility of a ‘successful’ tenth RevCon was surprising. The Russian delegation’s last-minute decision to block consensus was equally surprising and ultimately led to the conference’s failure. 

Russia’s actions were especially disappointing, considering that numerous delegations were prepared to set aside their misgivings about the final document and join the consensus. With the exception of Russia, the symbolic importance of adopting a ‘middle-ground’ outcome document on the 50th anniversary of the treaty was widely understood to be of paramount importance.

Photo of Olamide Samuel
Olamide Samuel

Travelling While Black

Olamide Samuel

A first-hand account of the restrictive visa system impacting diversity at nuclear policy conferences

As the 2022 NPT RevCon enters its second week in New York, there have been reports of its noticeable lack of diversity. Olamide Samuel gives a personal account of his efforts to secure an Austrian and US visa to attend nuclear policy conferences this summer and calls on conference organisers to pay attention to the visa regimes that pose logistical barriers to entry for people from the global south.

Difficult Conversations: Fingers off the Button

Andrew Futter

On Thursday 5 May 2022, Prof Andrew Futter, Dr Cameron Hunter, Dr Olamide Samuel, Marion Messmer & Dr Matthew Bolton participated in the Difficult Conversation Series. ‘Fingers off the Button’ was the fourth installment of the series.

The panel primarily considered questions regarding nuclear weapons in the UK.  

View the recording of this session, by clicking the link below. 


Olamide Samuel

It appears that Russian aggression in Ukraine has taken extensive notes from the western playbook. Russia’s indiscriminate attacks that have jeopardized the safety of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants, its willingness to consider “sharing” its nuclear weapons with Belarus, and its ability to caricature the UN Security Council with false justifications, all point to one underlying fact: International law has been persistently weakened by exemptions….

Dr Olamide Samuel

Research Associate

"The Global South: Access to Nuclear Technologies and the Ban Treaty"

Andrew Futter & Olamide Samuel

Conventional wisdom holds that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (the “ban treaty”) is about reinvigorating the push for nuclear disarmament and seeking justice for those adversely impacted by nuclear testing. Yet, there is hardly any indication from the nine current nuclear-armed states that they are serious about nuclear disarmament, and the countries responsible for nuclear weapons tests have failed to offer assistance or compensation to the victims. But by focussing only on frustrations about disarmament and nuclear testing, and by implications a very “Western” view of nuclear politics, both supporters and detractors have overlooked other national interests in states’ decisions to sign the ban treaty, especially the interests of states from the global south. ..

Prof. Andrew Futter

Principal investigator

Dr Olamide Samuel

Research Associate

TNA Project Runs procurement politics simulation

12th January 2022

The Third Nuclear Age Project Team ran a simulation of the politics of technological procurement.  The players were briefed on their starting positions and then were left free to choose whatever technologies they felt their team required to maintain national security over the long-term. This closed game was part of a process of developing and refining scenarios for future events with stakeholders.

Held at the imaginary “ERSATZ” classification level, the players took on the roles of senior defence procurement bureaucrats in the fictional region of “Archipelagia.” Each turn simulated 3 years of in-game time, allowing players to see the consequences of their procurement decisions and respond to their regional rivals. Competition was intense, and the players’ decisions resulted in a deteriorating security environment. At its conclusion, the game designers extrapolated how a military crisis in the region would play out in light of the new weapons capabilities that the players had selected.

Feedback from the players was incredibly positive, highlighting requirements and implications for the methodology of future games.

The finale session gave players an overview of actions taken by the game designers and their opponents – actions that were otherwise secret while the game was in progress.

The briefing was delivered by the fictional superpower’s military featured in the game.