This report is a distillation of the issues examined in a series of workshops and three major policy memos that offered 22 recommendations. These proposals were produced through a process that had as a core principle: no artificial consensus or ideological preconceptions. So, while not all participants agreed with every proposal, there is agreement that action must be taken on the four key policy findings and recommendations that have been produced by the Partnership for Global Security and the Nuclear Energy Institute in this report.
Findings and Recommendations
1. Nuclear Power is Necessary to Address Climate Challenges
Nuclear power, in addition to other clean energy technologies, is essential to meet increasing global clean energy demands. Cutting carbon emissions while powering the 21st Century will require preserving the existing nuclear fleet, replacing many reactors by midcentury, and constructing new advanced reactors. Deploying the next generation of technologically advanced reactors in the next 10-15 years will require three significant evolutions: new policies; an innovative, effective regulatory system; and a bold private-public financial partnership.
2. Nuclear Governance Needs Significant Strengthening
Nuclear governance – the global framework of international and national laws, regulations, recommendations, and operating procedures that support nuclear safety, security, and nonproliferation – must be strengthened if nuclear power is to continue being a major provider of zero carbon energy. Nuclear challenges are constantly evolving and the governance system is increasingly under novel pressure from new suppliers, newcomer nations, and non-state actors. Strengthening public confidence through enhanced safety and security measures is essential. Governments, international institutions, the nuclear industry, and civil society need to work together to create effective, credible, and rapid governance responses to these new realities.
3. Evolving Nuclear Suppliers Impact Geopolitics
Nuclear power is a significant element of a country’s geopolitical influence. There are long timeframes and deep relationships that are developed in the course of building and operating a nuclear plant and through the exchange of technologies. Traditional nuclear leaders, including the United States and its allies, need to recognize and elevate the importance of supplying the international nuclear marketplace in their geopolitical strategies to meet the economic and political ambitions of other nations that may not share their deep commitment to upholding effective nuclear norms. The control of market share translates into the power to create nuclear governance rules and prevent commercial competition from eroding vital safety, security, and nonproliferation standards.
4. Innovative Nuclear Policy Requires “Break the Mold” Partnerships
A unique, collaborative relationship has been created between non-traditional partners – the nuclear industry and the civil society organizations that work on nuclear governance, climate change, and energy policy. GNI proved that together they can develop valuable new policies that address important issues arising from the nexus of nuclear power, climate challenges, and global security. Further progress on joint policy development – and the strengthening of public confidence that this offers – can best be served by institutionalizing and expanding this “break the mold” partnership and expanding the collaboration and financing that fuels this unique partnership.