Serious Nuclear Security Challenges Posed by Evolving Suppliers and New Nations

Report by group of industry, energy, climate and security experts calls for strengthened nuclear governance

April 19, 2017 – Washington, DC – The nuclear governance system is facing an unprecedented challenge as traditional nuclear suppliers that have built the backbone of the safety, security, and nonproliferation regime face new competition to provide technology to emerging nations. This according to a policy report released today by the Global Nexus Initiative (GNI), a unique project that combines experts from the nuclear industry and leading energy, climate change and nuclear security advocacy organizations.

The locus of new nuclear plant construction has shifted to fast growing nations in Asia and the Middle East, the report notes, and traditional suppliers, including the U.S., 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. China alone has 21 reactors under construction and another 40 planned; Russia has 7 under construction and another 25 planned. South Korea, a key U.S. ally and another emerging global nuclear supplier, has three reactors under construction and is building four new plants abroad in the United Arab Emirates.

Neither Russia nor China has been leaders in the nuclear governance area, and many of the emerging economy nations with ambitious nuclear power development plans face challenges in effectively governing the plants and materials they seek.

“Control of the nuclear energy market translates into the power to set the governance agenda,” said Kenneth Luongo, President of the Partnership for Global Security. “We cannot afford a race to the bottom in pursuit of market share in this vital area. The growth of non-U.S. and non-European nuclear reactor suppliers is a significant concern as it may impact the global leadership needed to drive forward the improvements required for the system to remain effective.”

Dr. 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 recognizes this and stands ready to work with governments, international organizations 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 GNI is a joint project of the Partnership for Global Security, a think-tank with a long history of offering innovative solutions to global nuclear security challenges, and the Nuclear Energy Institute, which supports the beneficial use of nuclear technology and advocates on issues affecting the nuclear industry.

The current nuclear governance system encompasses the critically important nuclear safety, security, and safeguards regimes and essential issues related to environmental impacts. It covers a wide range of national regulations and laws, international agreements and guidance, and facility operations and practices.

The report, “Evolving Nuclear Governance for a New Era,” offers nine recommendations for strengthening nuclear governance:

  • – Establish the principle of “realistic continuous improvement” for nuclear governance to identify gaps and weaknesses that should be addressed
  • – Strengthen the nuclear security regime by moving toward common standards, greater transparency, expanded peer reviews and consideration of an international agreement
  • – Institutionalize 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
  • – Improve communications to the public about the steps being taken to continually strengthen the management of nuclear operations and oversight
  • – Ensure that emerging nuclear suppliers demonstrate a commitment to protecting existing norms and take leadership in initiating improvements in the nuclear governance system
  • – Maintain the strong influence of current nuclear suppliers in the US, Japan and Europe to ensure that existing nuclear governance norms are maintained and not compromised
  • – Recognize the impact of nuclear supply relationships on the political and strategic objectives of recipient and supplier nations and the attendant impact on their ability to shape the nuclear governance system
  • – Assess the needs of nuclear-newcomer nations in order to provide the assistance required to ensure the safe, secure and proliferation-resistant operation of any nuclear plant
  • – Encourage nations deploying significant new nuclear power reactors and advanced reactors to specify how the nuclear governance system will adapt to an increase in the number of reactors and the multi-technology environment that may develop by mid-century

“Evolving Nuclear Governance for a New Era” is the third policy memorandum from the GNI working group. The report is available here, and additional information can be found on the GNI website:

The final report of the GNI will be released on May 2, 2017, and will present recommendations on the role of nuclear power in meeting the challenges of energy production, climate change and global security.  A briefing for the media will take place at the National Press Club on May 2 at 12:00pm ET, with a simultaneous webcast.  To accommodate international media, a teleconference will be held the following day.  For further information or to reserve a place at the briefing please contact:

About the Global Nexus Initiative

Formed in 2015, the Global Nexus Initiative (GNI) brings together for the first time leading experts from the nuclear industry, nuclear security energy, and climate change communities to examine the complex challenges posed by the intersection of climate change, energy demand and global security. The GNI is co-sponsored by the Partnership for Global Security and the Nuclear Energy Institute.


Partnership for Global Security
Kenneth Luongo:
Richard Mahony:

Nuclear Energy Institute
John Keeley. Media Relations:


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