Nuclear Power's Global Expansion: Weighing Its Costs and Risks   [open pdf - 12MB]

"This volume consists of research that the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC) commissioned in 2007 and 2008. 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;1 and it has been market economics, more than any other force, that has kept most states from starting or completing these pro¬grams. Since the early 1950s, every major government in the Western Hemisphere, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe has been drawn to atomic power's 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 power's 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 technology's further spread-no matter what its security risks might be."

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