Nuclear power, with its inherent safety and proliferation challenges, continues to grow in popularity among some states seeking to deploy sustainable alternatives to traditional fossil fuels.
The nuclear order is under pressure as the distance between nonaligned states and nuclear weapon states grows.
While it has been known since early 2004 that the illicit proliferation network headed by A.Q. Khan of Pakistan supplied the nuclear programs of Iran, North Korea, and Libya, certain questions have not yet been resolved.
The Nuclear Suppliers Group, which is responsible for establishing guidelines that govern the transfer of nuclear-related materials, equipment, and technology, faces a number of serious challenges.
While it remains unclear whether Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is sincere in his proposal to cease production of highly enriched nuclear fuel and import it instead, it is clearly in the West’s best interests to accept the offer.
The 2011 conference focused on new actors and new agendas, reflecting the need to develop cooperative responses to challenges being posed by changing technology, distributions of political power, interest in nuclear energy, and security conditions in key regions.
Japanese engineers are hoping that by restoring power to the cooling system in one of the damaged nuclear reactors at Japan’s Fukushima power plant, they will be able to restart cooling the reactor core.
As Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt embark on optimistic nuclear energy programs, these nations must also take into consideration the shortage of nuclear industry scientists and personnel as well as the necessity of solutions for the resulting waste.
While new outcomes are not expected on Iran and Syria's nuclear programs at the IAEA's last 2010 Board of Governors meeting, a vote on a nuclear fuel bank is likely to pass despite opposition from some developing countries and members of the Non-Aligned Movement.
With the U.S.-South Korea bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement set to expire in 2014, it will be difficult for the United States to refuse Seoul's push to renegotiate without damaging the broader U.S.-South Korean relationship.