Thursday, August 30, 2012

Peaceful Nukes

Matthew Fuhrmann has a new book out.  It is about how the use of nuclear power (peaceful Nuke) has lead to the spread of nuclear weapons.

The United States and Britain, as a joint effort in World War 2, developed the nuclear bomb, and from that developed the ability to harness nuclear power to generate nuclear energy.  I am not aware of any other country that separately developed this technology- all nuclear facilities, peaceful or otherwise, derive from this first success.

What I was not aware of, his how much of that secondary spread was through the "peaceful" energy efforts.

Matthew Fuhrmann's "Atomic Assistance"
Page 99 Test, 23 August 2012

Peaceful nuclear assistance increases the likelihood of nuclear proliferation by providing states with dual-use technology and knowledge that collectively reduce the barriers to building the bomb. My analysis of global nuclear commerce supports this argument, showing that higher levels of atomic assistance are statistically associated a greater likelihood of proliferating.

Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, South Africa, and other countries benefited from peaceful nuclear aid before they built nuclear weapons. For example, the individual who headed South Africa’s nuclear explosives program during the 1970s was previously trained by the United States through its “Atoms for Peace” program. The United States also inadvertently augmented Iran’s capacity to build nuclear weapons when it exported the Tehran Research Reactor and small “hot cells” to that country in the 1960s—when Washington and Tehran were allies.

Needless to say, with many other countries, particularly some of the big oil producting nations looking to ramp up their "peaceful" nuclear energy capacity, this is a major concern.  Note, there are very good reasons for oil producing nations to want to increase this capacity, some of them need the power for desalination plants to accommodate their growing populations, and others want to keep from burning up the very product that is their main source of outside funds.  Their best hope to get the capacity is while they still have something useful to bargain with.


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