The nuclear governance system is facing an "unprecedented challenge" as traditional nuclear suppliers that have "built the backbone" of the safety, security, and non-proliferation regime face new competition to provide technology to emerging nations, according to a policy report by the Global Nexus Initiative (GNI). The GNI, which is co-sponsored by the Partnership for Global Security and the Nuclear Energy Institute, plans to publish the report, Evolving Nuclear Governance for a New Era, on 2 May.
"The locus of new nuclear plant construction has shifted to fast growing nations in Asia and the Middle East," the GNI said on 18 April, "and traditional suppliers, including the USA, France and Japan, are giving way to Russia and China, which have the most active nuclear production lines, the capacity to increase manufacturing and the state financing to support it."
According to the report, China has 21 reactors under construction and another 40 planned; Russia has seven under construction and another 25 planned; while South Korea has three under construction and is building four in the United Arab Emirates. Neither Russia nor China has led the nuclear governance area, the report says, and many of the emerging economy nations with ambitious nuclear power development plans face challenges in effectively governing the plants and materials they seek.
Everett Redmond, senior technical advisor for New Reactor & Advanced Technology at the Nuclear Energy Institute, said: "Strong global governance is essential if the promise of nuclear power is to be achieved. The nuclear industry recognises this and stands ready to work with governments, international organisations and the NGO community to ensure that nuclear power can meet the growing need for clean energy with the highest standards of safety and security."
The report makes nine recommendations for strengthening nuclear governance. These include: establishing the principle of "realistic continuous improvement" to identify gaps and weaknesses that should be addressed; strengthening the nuclear security regime by moving toward common standards, greater transparency, expanded peer reviews and consideration of an international agreement; and institutionalising the initiatives that have brought closer collaboration between the nuclear industry and civil society so that together they can assess requirements for improvement and formulate balanced and needed advances in the nuclear governance system.
Formed in 2015, Washington DC-based GNI brings together experts from the nuclear industry, nuclear security energy, and climate change communities to examine the challenges posed by climate change, energy demand and global security.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News