Since it’s birth in the United States and Russia, Nuclear Power generation has been the domain of the developed world only. The “Old Core” powers (US, Russia, France, UK, and others…) had a nearly exclusive grip on the Atom as a source of increasingly clean, abundant, and reliable power.
It seems, to me, that the IAEA, an organ of the United Nations, was setup not to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons, but rather to prevent expansion of this exclusive nuclear energy and military club.
Unfortunately, we have seen over the past 30 years, just how well that has worked. From Israel, to India, from China to South Africa… military ambition and one-upmanship have consistently won out over nuclear restraint.
Fast forward to current day. It seems that an incredible number of countries are investigating, revisiting, and accelerating research and development in nuclear technology.
In the past year or to many countries we simply would never have associated with nuclear power have added themselves to the nuclear wannabe bandwagon.
Nigeria… Africas largest oil exporter
Indonesia (the worlds largest Muslim nation) is well on it’s way
Mexico has announced plans to build a 2nd nuclear power plant
Egypts’ Presidents son a Nuclear Program for that country a while back
Hugo Chavez announced last year that Venezuela will investigate nuclear power
Perhaps the strangest thing about many of these countries is that in the case of Nigeria, Indonesia, Mexico, and Venezuela, they are all or have been major oil exporters. You can of course add Iran to that list as well.
If you listen to the politicos and propagandists, all you’ll hear is that these are all potential threats to the security of the world. Venezuela and Iran especially… how could *they* be trusted given their undesirable politics? And Egypt? How will that affect Israels security?
Or… is it more pragmatic than that? Iran is currently going through a major gas/petrol crisis. Their oil reserves peaked a long time ago and their exports are waning as domestic consumption rises. How will that elected government satisfy it’s people if energy is scarce? Mexico is also facing a nearly catastrophic decline of their largest oil field, Canterell. (7% last year alone). They are also dealing with economic growth. Where will the energy come from.
Never mind the effect the loss of these major energy exporting countries will have on importers like the US, EU, and China… domestic issues, as in any other country, must come first. And that means figuring out how to “power” the country and economy.
As Natural Gas reserves decline in Canada… we too (the US as well) will be looking for new sources of energy. We won’t be able to import everything we need, and with the added pressure of NG needed to continue growth in the oilsands… how will all this work?
Increasingly, nuclear, will need to be part of the answer. And if we don’t want things to get out of hand with atom bombs popping off here and there, maybe it will be time to destroy the weapons we have, and show that *we* the developed world… the “Club” are not willing to sacrifice our future for short term machismo.