Nuclear Energy and Proliferation Risks: Myths and Realities in the Persian Gulf
Ian Jackson, International Affairs, Chatham House
Writing in a special edition of International Affairs on avoiding worst case scenarios in the 21st Century, Ian Jackson looks at the relationship between civil nuclear energy development and military nuclear weapons proliferation in the context of the Middle East. The use of civil nuclear power is set for major expansion among the world’s developing economies. The pursuit of nuclear energy technology offers energy-hungry developing nations access to reliable large-scale electricity supplies with very low carbon emissions. But this climate-friendly energy solution comes at a security price. Historically, one third of the 30 countries that possess civil nuclear energy programmes have weaponized them. Security threats from the proliferation of nuclear weapons might become an important barrier to the further expansion of the global nuclear energy market. Nowhere is this tension more acute than in the Persian Gulf. Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) illustrate how the establishment of civil nuclear energy programmes can pose different levels of security risk depending on a country’s foreign policy. While the UAE has embraced international transparent nuclear safeguards, Iran rejected the concerns of the international community and has developed uranium enrichment technology that may potentially lead towards a viable nuclear weapon. However, the use of proliferation-resistant thorium rather than uranium as a nuclear fuel technology might significantly reduce the threat of plutonium weaponization in Arab states. The UAE nuclear energy model deserves the political support of western nations as the best compromise between nuclear energy expansion and nuclear security threats. This article discusses the myths and realities surrounding the diversion of civil nuclear energy programmes for military use in the Persian Gulf region, and argues that proliferation of atomic weapons is a political choice, not a certain technical inevitability.
Nuclear Energy and Proliferation Risks: Myths and Realities in the Persian Gulf is available to buy from Wiley Online Library.
Nukenomics: The Commercialisation of Britain’s Nuclear Industry
Ian Jackson, Nuclear Engineering International
Written as a business book for the financial community considering investment in nuclear assets, Nukenomics was commissioned and published by the highly respected trade journal Nuclear Engineering International. Nukenomics contains a Foreword by former Conservative Energy Minister and Secretary of State for Industry the Right Honorable The Lord Jenkin of Roding, who Ian Jackson advised for a decade.
Over the past 20 years the British nuclear industry has experienced rapid and turbulent commercial change, transforming from a handful of public sector owned organisations into a series of private sector ones ready to tackle Britain’s £100-billion-plus nuclear cleanup legacy. At the same time, just when the future of nuclear energy looked set to be in terminal decline, the politics of global warming have delivered a dramatic return to respectability for nuclear power. Significant investment in new British nuclear power stations now seems almost certain; a situation that was unthinkable just a few years ago.
The restructuring of Britain’s nuclear industry, and the resulting implications for the private sector, are explained in Ian Jackson’s book Nukenomics: The commercialisation of Britain’s nuclear industry. This Nuclear Engineering International special publication describes the major trends and market forces that are actively shaping the future development of the nuclear industry today, by explaining not just what things are happening but, more fundamentally, why.
Nukenomics: The Commercialisation of Britain’s Nuclear Industry is available to buy on Amazon.
Effluent Release Options from Nuclear Installations: Technical Background and Regulatory Aspects
Ian Jackson and Stephan Mundigl. OECD Nuclear Energy Agency
Ian Jackson acted as an environmental regulatory consultant to the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Written as an international report for nuclear regulators, Effluent Release Options from Nuclear Installations provides basic technical information on different options for managing and regulating radioactive discharges from nuclear installations during normal operation. It should contribute to national and international discussions in this area and be of particular interest to both national regulatory authorities and nuclear power plant operators. Radioactive effluent releases from nuclear installations have generally been substantially reduced in recent years, well below regulatory requirements. At the same time, international and intergovernmental agreements and declarations, as well as national policies, continue to seek to optimise and further reduce such releases. Nevertheless, due to societal concerns about levels of radioactivity in the environment, the management of discharges from nuclear installations remains high on the agenda of public discussion.
Effluent Release Options from Nuclear Installations: Technical Background and Regulatory Aspects is available from the OECD/NEA.