The threat of global warming, the energy demands of China, India and other emerging economic powerhouses and the challenges facing traditional and alternative energy sources led many in the past decade to suggest that the early twentieth century would see a ‘renaissance’ in the use of nuclear energy for generating electricity. In response to the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan, following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, many countries that were previously excited about the prospect of nuclear energy have now begun to reconsider. But even before these events the barriers to widespread adoption of nuclear energy were formidable.
This timely book examines comprehensively the drivers of and constraints on a prospective nuclear revival and its likely nature and scope. Of special interest are developing countries which aspire to have nuclear energy and which currently lack the infrastructure, experience and regulatory structures to successfully manage such a major industrial enterprise. The Fukushima disaster has made such considerations even more pertinent: if a technologically sophisticated country like Japan has difficulties dealing with nuclear safety and security how much harder would it be for a newcomer to the technology.
Following on from the assessment of the prospects for a revival, the author examines the likely impact of various revival scenarios on the current global governance of nuclear energy, notably the treaties, international organizations, arrangements and practices designed to ensure that nuclear power is safe, secure and does not contribute to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The book concludes with recommendations to the international community on how to strengthen global governance in order to manage a nuclear energy revival prudently. Among them are recommendations for improving nuclear safety which assume even greater urgency in the light of the Fukushima tragedy. This book will be of interest to students of energy security, nuclear power, global governance, security studies and international relations.