The Nuclear Renaissance and International Security

The Nuclear Renaissance and International Security

The Nuclear Renaissance and International Security

The Nuclear Renaissance and International Security

Synopsis

Interest in nuclear energy has surged in recent years, yet there are risks that accompany the global diffusion of nuclear power-especially the possibility that the spread of nuclear energy will facilitate nuclear weapons proliferation. In this book, leading experts analyze the tradeoffs associated with nuclear energy and put the nuclear renaissance in historical context, evaluating both the causes and the strategic effects of nuclear energy development.

They probe critical issues relating to the nuclear renaissance, including if and how peaceful nuclear programs contribute to nuclear weapons proliferation, whether the diffusion of nuclear technologies lead to an increase in the trafficking of nuclear materials, and under what circumstances the diffusion of nuclear technologies and latent nuclear weapons capabilities can influence international stability and conflict. The book will help scholars and policymakers understand why countries are pursuing nuclear energy and evaluate whether this is a trend we should welcome or fear.

Excerpt

Adam N. Stulberg and Matthew Fuhrmann

Interest in nuclear energy has surged in recent years, prompting some to tout a “global nuclear renaissance.” Iran became the first new member of the nuclear energy club since 1996, and it may be followed by the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Vietnam—states with profoundly different profiles. More than fifty other countries, including Chile, Jordan, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia, are seriously considering nuclear power for the first time in decades. Other states, such as China, Russia, India, and South Korea, have recently announced plans to expand existing nuclear power programs, while Brazil is enlarging its fuel cycle activities, both independently and jointly with Argentina. Still other nuclear power states, such as the United States, stand on the precipice of ending a prolonged hiatus of new reactor construction. Meanwhile, some governments are rethinking their commitments to nuclear power in the aftermath of the March 2011 accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. There, an earthquake and tsunami resulted in mechanical failures that caused some of the fuel rods to melt down, causing radioactive materials to spread into the surrounding environment. This disaster helped persuade Germany to shut down its oldest reactors and to implement plans to phase out the sector altogether. Other European states, such as Spain and Switzerland, may follow suit.

There are a number of explanations for the renewed interest in nuclear power. Concerns about global climate change, spiraling electricity demand, and excessive import dependency on fossil fuels are among the reasons . . .

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