Foreign Policy Blogs

Putting the “New” in Nuke: Two Groups Formed to Look at Nuclear Energy, Non-Pro


In what I can only imagine to be an explicit acknowledgement of the importance of nonproliferation in the context of the renewed fervor for nuclear power – Fukushima notwithstanding – two new NGO initiatives have recently launched. The first, launched earlier this month, is courtesy of the Bipartisan Policy Center. Their new “Nuclear Initiative” will be co-chaired by former Senator and former chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Pete Domenici and former Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Dr. Warren “Pete” Miller. While the initiative will focus more broadly on “U.S. nuclear policy issues”, the group will, because it is the 10 ton elephant in the nuclear energy room, also conduct events on nonproliferation issues. The first will be one scheduled for October 3rd event on “effective approaches for U.S. nonproliferation policy” and will feature Dan Poneman and BPC Senior Fellow and former Obama National Security Advisor General Jim Jones. The group had its maiden event earlier this month with a session entitled “Evolving Nuclear Technology and Regulation: Lessons Learned from Fukushima.”

The second initiative, announced by the American Nuclear Society (ANS), is the formation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Technical Group. The group is not entirely new, having been elevated from a Special Committee which has been active since the early 1990s. Its charter is to “promote policy that discourages the proliferation of nuclear technology and material to inappropriate entities; provide information to ANS members, the technical community at large, opinion leaders, and decision makers to improve their understanding of nuclear nonproliferation issues; become a recognized resource on nuclear nonproliferation, safeguards, and security issues; serve as the integration and coordination body for nuclear nonproliferation activities for the ANS; and work cooperatively with other ANS Divisions to achieve these objectives.”

According to Chairman John Gunning, the incoming chair of the group, “The formal creation of this Nuclear Nonproliferation Technical Group will help increase the visibility of this important subject to those within ANS as well as those in the community at large…”

To my mind, the looming question which goes hand in hand with the nuclear revival is whether or not nuclear power and nonproliferation are mutually exclusive, and if not, how to do you accomplish both. As long as Article IV of the NPT continues to exist, the nuclear community will continue to struggle with this thorny issue.

 

Author

Jodi Lieberman
Jodi Lieberman

Jodi Lieberman is a veteran of the arms control, nonproliferation, nuclear terrorism and nuclear safety trenches, having worked at the Departments of State, Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She has also served in an advisory capacity and as professional staff for several members of Congress in both the House and Senate as well as the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Jodi currently spends her time advocating for science issues and funding as the Senior Government Affairs Specialist at the American Physical Society. The views expressed in her posts are her views based on her professional experience but in way should be construed to represent those of her employer.

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