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ABSTRACT. Nuclear power has been linked to geopolitical issues beyond its control for decades. Matters of safety, waste management, and proliferation are intrinsic to the technology. However, other issues – including the Cold War competition between Western and Eastern blocs for hearts and minds around the world – added to the complexity of the nuclear industry. These issues might have been subdued for a time with the resolution of the Cold War, but new geopolitical issues – energy security and climate change foremost among them – have also arisen. The authors believe nuclear power can play a constructive role in addressing the energy needs of the twenty-first century, both in the developed world and in emerging markets. For this to happen, though, policymakers and industry need to take an approach to the geopolitical issues around nuclear energy includes the following elements: 1) A concerted approach to demystify the science around nuclear power and to ensure local communities and the public at large have an appropriate appreciation for the role nuclear energy can play; 2) A renewed global partnership for managing the risks of proliferation that combines political and technical factors; and, 3) Government support for nuclear research and development, both through investment vehicles and private public partnerships. This should include mechanisms to streamline the R&D process.

Keywords: nuclear power; technology; energy security; climate change

How to cite: de Blasio, Nicola, and Richard Nephew (2018). “Renewing Nuclear Power and Technology,” Geopolitics, History, and International Relations 10(1): 119–147.

Received 8 January 2018 • Received in revised form 8 March 2018
Accepted 8 March 2018 • Available online 27 March 2018

doi:10.22381/GHIR10120186

NICOLA DE BLASIO
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The Center on Global Energy Policy,
Columbia University
RICHARD NEPHEW
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The Center on Global Energy Policy,
Columbia University

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