Controlling nuclear proliferation
Technological hurdles for turning a civilian nuclear program into a nuclear weapons program are low. As showcased by the North Korean and Iranian nuclear crises, the enrichment facilities for civilian nuclear programs can also be used to develop weapon-grade nuclear material. The rapidly increasing demand for nuclear energy—spurred by concerns about carbon-efficiency and the price volatility of fossil fuels—makes the risk of nuclear weapon proliferation more acute than ever before. China is a driving force in what some experts call a global ‘nuclear renaissance’, with several dozen new nuclear power plants under construction (Zhou 2010). As new emerging countries strive to master nuclear technologies, escalating arms races in the Middle East as well as East Asia have become increasingly more likely. At the same time, the advance of global terrorist networks has turned nuclear terrorism from a distant nightmare into a realistic possibility. The EU has, therefore, unequivocally affirmed nuclear proliferation as “potentially the greatest threat to our society” (EU Council 2003c).
KeywordsEurope Coherence Assure Volatility Stake
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