Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Potential Strategic Consequences of the Nuclear Energy Revival

Proliferation Papers, n° 35, été 2010

Renewed interest throughout the globe in harnessing nuclear energy has raised concern about security threats from states and non-state actors while holding out the promise of more electricity for more people. The focus of this paper is on assessing the potential security consequences of increased use of nuclear power in the existing nuclear power states and most importantly in many more states that have in recent years expressed interest in this power source. While safety of nuclear plants and disposal of radioactive waste are important issues, this paper analyzes the risks of sabotage of nuclear facilities, and misuse of peaceful nuclear technologies to make nuclear weapons, and addresses two under-examined risks: military attacks on nuclear facilities and the effects on security alliances and conventional arms buildups as more countries seek to acquire nuclear power infrastructures.