The move to renewable energy offers another potential strategic benefit that is largely unacknowledged: the ability to delineate between “good” and “bad” nuclear actors in a way that we simply can’t today. In a world of cost-effective renewables, countries will be less able to pursue ambiguously dual-use nuclear progress under the banner of electricity generation and will be more easily enticed to relinquish more dangerous ambitions. The line between civilian and military nuclear programs is extraordinarily thin. As Nobel laureate Hannes Alfven put it, “Atoms for peace and atoms for war are Siamese twins.” It is relatively easy for a country with an advanced civil nuclear program to move from developing power stations to their more malicious sister, nuclear weapons. With some planning, discretion, and luck, a country can easily use the fuel and by-products of light-water nuclear power reactors—enriched uranium and plutonium—to produce nuclear bombs.
Defense One 5th Aug 2017 read more »