Nuclear energy cannot make a real difference to global climate change. To do so would require a tripling of capacity — building 25 reactors per year to 2050 — a rate of expansion that can't be met by the current infrastructure. As it is, nuclear energy, hampered by a moribund supply chain, will have to grow rapidly to maintain its current market share as demand for electricity doubles by 2030.
A high-level panel on Iran held in Berlin, Germany, and hosted by Carnegie Europe on March 11, 2008.
After President Vladimir Putin said last month that Russia would not allow other countries "to poke their snotty noses into our affairs," we should face the fact that security relations with the West are in a shambles. Putin, who is fond of tough-guy slang, used the colorful phrase when he accused the United States of pushing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to decide against sending observers to the State Duma elections on Dec. 2.
Although nuclear safety has improved significantly, nuclear energy’s inherent vulnerabilities regarding waste disposal, economic competitiveness, and proliferation remain. Moreover, nuclear security concerns have increased since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) faces a critical test this November when it will issue its latest report on Iran's nuclear activities. A condemning report by the IAEA could prompt Iran to end all cooperation with the IAEA. Yet a falsely reassuring report could damage the credibility of the nonproliferation regime.
Last week, the six-party negotiations (which include the United States, China, Russia, Japan, North Korea and South Korea) agreed on a second phase of a plan to denuclearize North Korea that has under discussion since 2005. This plan goes further than the agreed framework by requiring "disablement" of North Korean plutonium production facilities, but is troublingly silent on a few things.
A report from the IAEA laying out a timeline for Iran to resolve outstanding issues related to its nuclear program may give Iran as much as eight months of continued centrifuge installation and operation.
The U.S.-India nuclear agreement was completed in Washington. Unfortunately, the concessions made by the United States at the end of the process may damage the Bush administration's broader efforts to rein in nuclear proliferation.