As Nuclear Energy Grows, Int’l Cooperation Needed to Lower Proliferation Risks

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The United States, Russia and other countries, as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), should ensure a reliable supply of nuclear fuel so that countries seeking nuclear energy have less incentive to build their own facilities to enrich uranium and reprocess spent nuclear fuel, says a new Carnegie Corporation-funded report by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and Russian Academy of Sciences. Read the news release

Such facilities pose proliferation risks because they can also be used to produce the key ingredients for nuclear weapons. 

The international community, supported by the U.S. and Russia, should continue to explore a broad menu of approaches to provide assurances against political disruptions of the nuclear fuel supply, an effort led by the IAEA, the report says. 

The report offers other recommendations including that nations stop accumulating plutonium as soon as practicable, and reprocess spent fuel only when it is necessary to make new fuel or for safety reasons. Reprocessing when fuel is not needed in the near-term creates excess stocks of plutonium, which pose security risks. Read the full report.

Carnegie Corporation of New York’s supports policy relevant research at think tanks, research institutions and universities to advance the further refinement and implementation of steps to reduce nuclear weapons and their proliferation risks. Read more about Carnegie Corporation’s nuclear security work.