Accession Number:

ADA535722

Title:

Nuclear Power's Global Expansion: Weighing Its Costs and Risks

Descriptive Note:

Monograph

Corporate Author:

ARMY WAR COLL STRATEGIC STUDIES INST CARLISLE BARRACKS PA

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2010-12-01

Pagination or Media Count:

666.0

Abstract:

When security and arms control analysts list what has helped keep nuclear weapons technologies from spreading, energy economics is rarely, if ever, mentioned. Yet, large civilian nuclear energy programs can--and have--brought states quite a way towards developing nuclear weapons and it has been market economics, more than any other force, that has kept most states from starting or completing these programs. Since the early 1950s, every major government in the Western Hemisphere, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe has been drawn to atomic powers allure, only to have market realities prevent most of their nuclear investment plans from being fully realized. With any luck, this past may be our future. Certainly, if nuclear power programs continue to be as difficult and expensive to complete as they have been compared to their nonnuclear alternatives, only additional government support and public spending will be able to save them. In this case, one needs to ask why governments would bother, especially in light of the security risks that would inevitably arise with nuclear powers further proliferation. On the other hand, if nuclear power evolves into the quickest and least expensive way to produce electricity while abating carbon emissions, little short of a nuclear explosion traceable to a peaceful nuclear facility is likely to stem this technologys further spread--no matter what its security risks might be. Adam Smiths Invisible Hand, then, could well determine just how far civilian nuclear energy expands and how much attention its attendant security risks will receive. Certainly, if nuclear powers economics remain negative, diplomats and policymakers could leverage this point, work to limit legitimate nuclear commerce to what is economically competitive, and so gain a powerful tool to help limit nuclear proliferation.

Subject Categories:

  • Nuclear Power Plants and Fission Reactor Engineering

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE