This thesis is in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the Master of Strategic Studies Degree. "This paper is an examination of the relevance that terrestrial nuclear energy has with regard to U.S. national security. Terrestrial nuclear energy is herein defined as energy produced from land-based nuclear reactors. The principal application for terrestrial nuclear reactors is in the generation of electricity. Maritime or space-vehicle propulsion reactors are excluded from this definition, as are nuclear weapons. While the national security implications of thermonuclear warheads and nuclear-powered warships are relatively direct, the national security implications of benign nuclear energy are less so. National security interest areas of energy independence, energy security, climate change, economics, public safety, and nuclear terrorism and proliferation are considered. The paper addresses both domestic nuclear energy and aspects of foreign nuclear energy. Through this examination, terrestrial nuclear energy is found to have both direct and indirect implications to U.S. national security interests."
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