A nuclear renaissance would require significant changes by both governments and multinational agencies as well as aggressive financial support.
Increased interest in nuclear power has fueled talk of a "nuclear renaissance." But the reality of nuclear energy’s future is more complicated. Without major changes in government policies and aggressive financial support, nuclear power is actually likely to account for a declining percentage of global electricity generation.
The first public examination of open-source data shows that the U.S. spent at least $52.4 billion on nuclear weapons and programs in 2008; yet despite growing concern about the prospect of a nuclear 9/11 only 10 percent of that went toward proliferation prevention. The U.S. must devote less funding to upgrading its arsenal and more to securing and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.
Many key aspects of the recent Brazilian-Argentine nuclear cooperation agreement remain unresolved. This article reviews its main obstacles and future prospects.
The 1978 Nuclear Nonproliferation Act (NNPA) sought to tighten the criteria for nuclear cooperation and reshape the nuclear fuel cycle. Many of its provisions have been forgotten, but the NNPA regained notoriety this year with the approval of the U.S.-Indian nuclear cooperation agreement. The objectives of the NNPA are timeless and in no danger of being achieved soon.
The current financial crisis and resulting credit squeeze raises many questions about how to finance big capital projects. Carnegie hosted a discussion investigating how the financial crisis will affect nuclear reactor construction in the United States.
Despite talk of a renaissance, nuclear power will account for a declining percentage of global electricity generation without aggressive financial support and significant policy changes. Before committing to a rapid expansion of nuclear energy, the next U.S. administration must address critical questions about the feasibility and safety of that expansion, and act to minimize proliferation risks.
Without significant political and financial support, nuclear energy is expected to decline in its share of electricity generation by 2030. The drivers for that support seem to be nuclear energy's contributions to energy security and climate change. Yet nuclear energy won't reduce American dependence on foreign oil, which has been a key concern of many Americans.
In this paper presented to GDF Suez University's "Nuclear Prospective Seminar" in Paris, Pierre Goldschmidt highlights the high volume of recent nuclear agreements forming between nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states.
In this event hosted by the Carnegie Endowment's Nonproliferation Program, Mycle Schneider, author of the 2007 World Nuclear Industry Status Report, questions whether the world civilian nuclear industry is capable of achieving a "nuclear renaissance," given its declining share of electricity market, recent construction problems, and education crisis.