"In the eyes of many experts, the world is moving away from oil as a cheap energy source. As this future unfolds, the United States may perform a leading role as the planet's premier energy consumer. Solar and nuclear power provide possibilities for this future which represent the extremes in terms of energy supply. The question this thesis asks is: what are the security implications of a substantial shift in energy policy in either a solar or nuclear direction? The analysis begins with a question, 'What is a substantial shift?' and defines substantial in terms of energy shortage, energy independence, and climate change. The proposed energy futures to match these shifts are then judged with respect to three security criteria: resource access, nuclear weapons proliferation, and infrastructure protection. Accepting many uncertainties with future economic and technical solutions (even as proven systems are proposed), solar power provides the most stable future in terms of security alone. However, because these options are not mutually exclusive, both cases offer security challenges which are addressed in the concluding recommendations."
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