A national security argument for U.S. leadership on nuclear power

October 13, 2020, 9:43AMANS Nuclear Cafe

A recent commentary from Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy—the second in a series by the center’s Matt Bowen titled “Why the United States Should Remain Engaged on Nuclear Power”—examines the geopolitical and national security implications of the United States’ relinquishing the international nuclear energy marketplace to China and Russia.

“Under a hypothetical future where U.S. nuclear energy capabilities diminish further, countries that make the sovereign decision to pursue civil nuclear energy programs will still have reactor supplier options—they will just not be U.S. ones,” Bowen writes. “The nonproliferation commitments negotiated by the Chinese and Russians in their supply agreements with recipient states are likely to be weaker than what the United States would have otherwise negotiated as an active participant in the international nuclear energy marketplace. As a recent U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration report noted, the conditions of supply in U.S. nuclear cooperation agreements only apply if U.S. designs are chosen by other countries.”

Bowen’s national security commentary can be found here, while his earlier piece, on nuclear’s potential for helping to stem the advance of climate change and reduce air pollution, can be found here.


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