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TitleAtoms for Peace After 50 Years: The New Challenges and Opportunities
Publication DateDecember 2003
Report NumberUCRL-TR-200927
Unique IdentifierACC0383
Other NumbersOSTI ID: 15009747
Research OrgLawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Livermore, CA (US)
Contract NoW-7405-ENG-48
Sponsoring OrgUS Department of Energy (DOE)
Subject03 Natural Gas; 11 Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Fuel Materials; 12 Management of Radioactive Wastes, and Non-Radioactive Wastes from Nuclear Facilities; 29 Energy Planning, Policy and Economy; 45 Military Technology, Weaponry, and National Defense; 46 Instrumentation Related to Nuclear Science and Technology; 22 General Studies of Nuclear Reactors; 99 General And Miscellaneous//Mathematics, Computing, And Information Science; 62 Radiology and Nuclear Medicine; Agriculture; Air Pollution; Atoms; Climates; Developed Countries; Electricity; Modifications; Natural Gas; Nuclear Power; Nuclear Weapons; Proliferation; Radiation Protection; Radioactive Wastes; Security
Related Web PagesPeaceful Uses of the Atom
AbstractThis report draws on a series of international workshops held to mark the fiftieth anniversary of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace address before the United Nations General Assembly. A half-century after President Eisenhower's landmark speech, the world is vastly different, but mankind still faces the challenge he identified--gaining the benefits of nuclear technology in a way that limits the risks to security. Fifty years after Eisenhower declared that the people of the world should be "armed with the significant facts of today's existence," the consequences of his bold vision should be evaluated to provide a foundation upon which to shape the next fifty years. Policy and technology communities cannot escape the legacy of a half-century of nuclear technology expansion. At the same time, citizens need to consider the future role of military and civilian nuclear technology in a global strategy to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. The new century brought with it a set of contradictions regarding nuclear technology. Nuclear knowledge, technology, materials, and facilities have spread around the world, but control and management of the nuclear genie have not kept pace. The Cold War is over, but not the threat from weapons of mass destruction, including the prospect that nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons may get into the hands of terrorists. Nevertheless, mankind continues to explore the frontiers of technology, including nuclear technology. Public concern about nuclear safety and security--exacerbated by accidents, nuclear weapon proliferation, and terrorism--confronts major growth in applications of nuclear technology in nuclear power, medicine, agriculture, and industry. While some developed countries have essentially stopped civilian nuclear-power expansion, mainly for economic reasons, several developing states--notably China and India--plan increases in the nuclear generation of electricity. Ironically, while governments still seek answers to long-term, nuclear waste disposal, other concerns about the environmental health of the planet such as climate change, regional air pollution, and possible rising natural gas prices have also renewed interest in nuclear power, even in countries that once sought to terminate their own nuclear programs. Many of these contradictions can and will be resolved--for better or worse. A wide range of forces--economic, political, and technical--will determine the impact of nuclear technology in the future, and no consensus exists on the outcome. The significance of nuclear technology for civilian or military purposes may expand, contract, or remain the same. This suggests a matrix of basic possibilities from which we focus on five alternative futures: (1) More civilian/Less military significance, (2) Less civilian/Less military significance, (3) Less civilian/More military significance, and (4) More civilian/More military significance. Of course, changed circumstances could also result in (5) the significance of both civilian and military nuclear technologies remaining about the same as today. Experts offer compelling logic why each of these alternatives is more likely or desirable. For each of these futures or their modifications, a more comprehensive vision can be presented and specific measures recommended. Some call for a new nuclear "compact" or "bargain" to share benefits and reduce risks. No matter which alternative future emerges, however, dealing with the legacy of existing civilian and military nuclear materials and infrastructure will keep important nuclear issues active for the next half-century.
8794 K
149 pp.
 
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