Climate change and nuclear threats are closely linked and must be tackled together, US experts say. The warning comes from a working group chaired by the Center for Climate and Security (CCS), a non-partisan policy institute of security and military experts (many of them high-ranking former members of the armed forces), in a report which offers a framework for understanding and addressing the distinct problems together. The report is published as this year’s UN climate summit draws to a close in Bonn in the aftermath of President Trump’s tour of Asia, during which nuclear weapons issues featured prominently. Professor Christine Parthemore, a former adviser to the US defence department, co-chairs the working group. She told the Climate News Network: “Simultaneous effects of climate change, tough social or economic pressures, and security challenges could increase the risk of conflict among nuclear weapon-possessing states, even if that conflict stems from miscalculation or misperception. India and Pakistan are major concerns. “They are grappling with water stress, deadly natural disasters, terrorism, and numerous other pressures. At the same time, the types of nuclear weapons they are developing and policies on command of those weapons are raising tensions between them.
Climate News Network 16th Nov 2017 read more »
In an August 2017 report, former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz argues for federal subsidies to prop up the US nuclear power industry on the novel grounds that the industry is vital to our national security. One of his principal conclusions is that to have an effective nonproliferation policy we need to be selling lots of reactors internationally. The conclusion is dead wrong but, unfortunately, it’s also influential. The current energy secretary, Rick Perry, picked up the argument. In October 12 testimony, he told Congress that “we have to support this industry,” because, among other things, it is important to the success of our nonproliferation policy. What kind of reactor exports might this entail? The Energy Department’s acting assistant secretary for nuclear energy, Edward McGinnis, told an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conference in Abu Dhabi on November 1 that the United States wants “to spur exports of nuclear energy plants and equipment, including to the conference’s host nation UAE and Saudi Arabia.” That, after all, is where the export opportunities are—in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, among countries taking their first steps into nuclear energy. Most don’t have the required financial resources and would need massive loans. Some, like Saudi Arabia, or perhaps Turkey, appear to have more on their mind than electricity generation. The trouble is that power programs based on the most common type of nuclear power plant, the light water reactor, give a country a large leg up on creating a nuclear weapons option if that is what it wants. As a result, more nuclear reactors in more countries increase proliferation risks. Whatever the advantages of this technology, nonproliferation is not one of them.
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 16th Nov 2017 read more »