Key findings of a new report on nuclear energy suggest that a significant worldwide expansion is unlikely before 2030, and that a window of opportunity exists to fix the currently inadequate system global governance system to avoid accidents, nuclear terrorism and weapons proliferation. The report, which is the culmination of a three-and-a-half year study by CIGI, identifies key drivers that are spurring existing and aspiring nuclear states to develop nuclear energy and the constraints that will limit a “revival.”
Key barriers to a revival include:
* Unfavourable economics compared to other sources of energy
* Fewer government subsidies
* Nuclear energy is too slow to address climate change and to compete with cheaper alternative means of tackling it
* Demands for energy efficiency are leading to fundamental rethinking of how electricity is generated and distributed
* Long-term decline of the nuclear sector is resulting in industrial bottlenecks and personnel shortages
* The nuclear waste issue remains unresolved with no country currently implementing a sustainable solution
* Growing fears about safety, security and nuclear weapons remain in public consciousness
* Developing countries face additional constraints, including inadequate infrastructure, poor governance, deficient regulatory systems and finance.
Despite these obstacles, some states are proceeding with their nuclear energy plans. Given that reality, there is a crucial need for international governance arrangements.
The report comes at a pivotal time for nuclear issues. President Obama will host a special nuclear security summit in April; parties to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty will gather in New York in May for a review conference; and nonproliferation issues will be part of the agenda at the G8 Summit hosted by Canada in June.