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.
Brazil is betting on a “renaissance” of nuclear energy in the next few decades and, having large uranium mineral reserves, believes it could be an exporter of enrichment services in a growing market. The Brazilian program should not be considered a danger to proliferation, however, because it is under IAEA safeguards and monitored by Argentina-Brazil Agency for Accounting and Control.
Discussion with Mark Hibbs, Nucleonics Week, at the 2007 Carnegie International Nonproliferation Conference.
2007 Carnegie International Nonproliferation Conference, which took place on Monday, June 25 – Tuesday 26, 2007 at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.
2007 Carnegie International Nonproliferation Conference Panel: Forging Nonproliferation Consensus after U.S.-Indian Civil Nuclear Cooperation.