Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Nuclear Power

Christopher Dickey has an excellent column about nuclear power as it pertains to international relations. While the U.S. and other countries have valid concerns that some nations, for instance Iran and North Korea, might be using nuclear power programs to hide nuclear weapons programs, there is a possible international solution:

IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei argues for the creation of fuel banks under international control, where countries wanting to generate nuclear power could go for the low-enriched fuel they need. There would be no danger of their enriching it further for nuclear-weapons production, on the one hand, but there would also be little or no possibility that the United States or other powers could use a cutoff of the fuel as an economic weapon. "Countries will have the fuels they need," ElBaradei told NEWSWEEK last year. "They have the assurance of the supply, but they do not necessarily need to do the job themselves."

International cooperation in the production of nuclear power for relatively clean and plentiful energy would do much more to foster world peace than any other diplomatic initiative possibly could. Economic entanglements with other countries are the antidote to war. Look at the U.S. and Saudi Arabia now. If we weren't bound together by the economics of oil, we'd surely be enemies.

I know that people who watched too many 50s scifi movies won't want to hear it, but the environmental risks from nuclear power are smaller than the environmental risks that stem from continued use of fossil fuels. Increased efficiency and conservation will only go so far when civilization seems to be coming up with more and more gadgets that use electricity.



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