Shoring Up a Crucial Bridge: South Africa's Pressing Nuclear Choices

By Boureston, Jack; Lacey, Jennifer | Arms Control Today, January/February 2007 | Go to article overview

Shoring Up a Crucial Bridge: South Africa's Pressing Nuclear Choices


Boureston, Jack, Lacey, Jennifer, Arms Control Today


Taking advantage of an unusual nuclear history; an innovative, domestic nuclear power industry; and strong ties with other strategic countries, South Africa is emerging as a crucial bridge between developed and developing countries on nuclear issues. South Africa's outspoken support for "all" country's rights to develop nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes and its renewed interest in developing its own nuclear fuel cycle puts it at center stage in nonproliferation debates.

At the same time, its record as the only country to develop its own nuclear weapons and then renounce them (see page 20) has allowed it to challenge the nuclear-weapon states to meet their disarmament commitments under the nuclear Nonprolireration Treaty (NPT).

South Africa has long played a prominent role in the Nonaligned Movement (NAM), which brings together developing countries. Moreover, it has forged dose ties with Brazil and India on nuclear issues, and the three together yield considerable influence on nuclear issues as members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors.1 In the next few months, it will also gain new power in the UN Security Council and as the next chair of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.2 More than ever, therefore, South Africa's nuclear policy can have significant implications in shaping the future of the nuclear nonproliferation regime. It has the potential to be a responsible model for other developing nations to follow or could prove to be a new problem by backing some states that have questionable motives.

Unique Past, Unique Present

South Africa once had the infrastructure to assemble a number of nuclear weapons. In 1989, however, the government gave up that path, admitted its nuclear weapons development, and disassembled the devices. Subsequently, South Africa joined the NPT and became an important voice in the nonproliferation regime, particularly as a representative of developing nations, including those in the NAM. In addition, South Africa is part of the New Agenda Coalition, an eight-state grouping that demands "the speedy, final and total elimination" of all nuclear weapons. These fora provide South Africa with an opportunity to convey its commitment to nonproliferation and disarmament efforts.

To this end, South Africa was one of the few countries recently to criticize the United Kingdom's decision to build a new class of ballistic missile-capable submarines. In an official statement, the South African Department of Foreign Affairs called on the British government to honor its "unequivocal undertaking" toward nuclear disarmament made during the 2000 NPT review conference.3

South Africa's long nuclear history has also laid the basis for a domestic nuclear industry of a size and sophistication unusual for developing countries, and it continues to develop new nuclear technologies that will equate to larger markets and increased revenue in the future.

South Africa's nuclear industry is one of the most innovative in the world. It includes projects such as the pebble-bed modular reactor slated for construction beginning in 2007, which puts South Africa at the forefront of nuclear energy technologies. The pebble-bed reactor will be pioneering in its cost, safety (it avoids the complexities and low efficiencies of the steam cycle), design, and quality control. It will eventually provide 4,000-5,000 megawatts of power following module completion in 2013. The reactor will use down-blended weapons-grade uranium from former Russian nuclear warheads.4

The country also has the world's fourthlargest uranium reserves5 and significant experience in fuel production. South African officials are exploring the potential construction of new nuclear plants and re-invigorating South Africa's nuclear fuel cycle.6 Its strong web of bilateral and multilateral relationships could allow South Africa to grow as a major global supplier of nuclear technologies. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Shoring Up a Crucial Bridge: South Africa's Pressing Nuclear Choices
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.