In this issue, we discuss the necessity of expanding the nuclear security ecosystem in order to effectively address evolving and multifaceted global security challenges. We also note a recent effort by the Trump administration to strengthen the U.S. nuclear industry by sourcing funding from the new International Development Finance Corporation. Finally, we bring attention to a recent letter to the European Commission calling for fair assessment of nuclear energy in the EU taxonomy. 
The Necessity of Expanding the Nuclear Security Ecosystem
The widespread wreckage created by the novel coronavirus offers an opportunity to rethink the status, trajectory, and responses to many global security issues. But, the future of nuclear security is particularly vital. In order to be relevant to the real world, the nuclear security silo needs to be connected to the larger ecosystem of global challenges.

The nuclear weapon and material guardrail systems are highly specialized and were created during and after the Cold War to manage nuclear weapons expansion and proliferation. They expanded after 9/11 to meet new challenges, particularly nuclear terrorism. Now these systems are under increasing pressure from a world in disarray and beginning to  unspool .

There are a number of reasons for this, but it is difficult to ignore that the issue set is isolated and increasingly out of synch with how the world and its challenges are evolving. Unfortunately, the creation of modernized, multifaceted nuclear policy mechanisms, more suited for today’s realities, is badly lagging.

One reason is a lack of adequate financing to support a creative, coordinated, and vibrant future-focused nuclear policy community. The scale of global philanthropic resources devoted to innovative nuclear weapons and security policy is  less than  $50 million per year. This creates an adversarial competition for limited resources and undercuts the need for effective community-building and collaboration. It also creates a   constricted   professional environment that creates barriers to entry and limits the advancement of young professionals, who are the lifeblood of the future.

By contrast, Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, recently pledged $10 billion to fight the threat posed by climate change, an issue that already is well funded by philanthropies.

This mismatched scale of resources is dramatic, given that both issues pose existential threats to humanity. But it also reflects some realities. The public expects governments to effectively manage nuclear challenges, which they have, despite a number of  close calls . They don’t have a deep appreciation for the work or influence of nuclear experts outside the government. Much of this work is done behind the scenes by performing analysis, deciphering satellite images, engaging government officials, reading murky tea leaves to ascertain official nuclear policies and priorities, and analyzing technical ephemera.

By contrast, public and media interest in protecting the planet from climate change has grown in intensity, in part because it has political and celebrity leaders, and the mechanisms for addressing the concerns are tangible technologies, not paper policies.

But there is a significant crossover between the nuclear and climate issues that largely is being ignored. International security is now a complex confluence of military, diplomatic, environmental, technology, and economic issues. For example, developing economy nations, like China and India, are driving global carbon emissions, are nuclear armed, and have aggressive nuclear power plants. They and other developing nations must contend with growing populations, inconsistent access to electricity, and spiraling water and food crises. This is a package of interrelated issues to which nations increasing are seeking more than single issue answers and policies.

There is a clear nexus between the global climate and nuclear challenges of this century. But the pairing is non-traditional and alien to many. However, continuing a constrained scope of nuclear security very well may imperil the future of its policy community. The international environment continues to churn in unpredictable ways and adaptation is essential for survival. 

Ken Luongo, Partnership for Global Security
New Report Spotlight

In a new brief, 'COVID-19 Lessons for Next-Gen Nuclear Governance', from the Global America Business Institute, Ken Luongo, President of Partnership for Global Security, analyzes how COVID-19 has illustrated the lack of transparency, trust, and international cooperation required to effectively address transnational security challenges. These three concepts are central to the nuclear governance regime required for the rapidly developing next generation of nuclear energy.
Nuclear Collaborations
France’s Framatome and Germany’s Technical University of Munich (TUM) are collaborating on the development of new research reactor fuel. Focusing on uranium-molybdenum (U-Mo) based fuels, the two entities hope to replace the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and minimize the risk of nuclear proliferation.
Nuclear Policy, Governance, and Geopolitics
A group of more than 100 scientists and environmentalists have called upon the European Union to include nuclear energy in the EU taxonomy, citing nuclear energy’s significant contribution to Europe’s low-carbon electricity generation. “Fighting climate change is a matter of the highest urgency”, read a letter from the group to top EU commissioners. “All low-carbon energy sources must be allowed to contribute, and the final Taxonomy on Sustainable Finance must respect these points.”

Senior communication manager for the World Nuclear Association, Dr. Jonathan Cobb, says that countries around the world must begin the construction of new nuclear reactors to address growing energy demands and climate change. Speaking with Russian news outlet Sputnik, Cobb accentuated the significance of nuclear power in the post-COVID-19 world: “It is vital that when economies start to recover… we need to start construction on more new reactors to meet the growing demand for electricity cleanly.”

A working group under the Energy Ministry of South Korea has r eleased a proposal that would significantly reduce operational coal, and nuclear power plants, while increasing renewable sources to 40 percent by 2034. 

South Africa’s nuclear power capacity could grow by 2,500MW in the next five years under a new plan to be released by the country’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy. Currently housing the only commercial NPP in all of Africa (the Koeberg NPP), South Africa is hoping to outsource the construction of a modular nuclear station on a build-operate-transfer basis.

Russian officials have agreed to construct the world’s largest nuclear icebreaker as Moscow moves to keep Arctic shipping lanes open year round. Chief nuclear icebreaker corporation Atomflot signed the contract with Vladivostok shipyard, hoping to launch the $1.6 billion icebreaker by 2027 with two more ships to follow in the early 2030s.

Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Energy has set ambitious goals for new nuclear power generation as part of its low-carbon emission energy strategy to the year 2030. The detailed ‘Concept Note’ outlines the country’s goal to increase nuclear power to 15 percent of its total generation, while anticipating a sharp reduction in gas-fired power generation to 50 percent.
Domestic Civil Nuclear Developments
A recent effort by the Trump administration to strengthen the U.S.’s nuclear energy industry is looking at drawing funding from the International Development Finance Corporation - a fund designed to combat poverty in developing countries. Several development groups have aired criticism of the potential move, citing a focus on U.S. geopolitical interests and neglecting the interests of developing nations.

Four of Exelon’s Illinois NPPs have been safely refuelled in record time , while maintaining steady power supply to more than eleven million households, hospitals and businesses. The new operational records were set at each of the four facilities highlighting the efficiency of the state’s nuclear power supply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) this year has received more power from clean energy sources than coal for the first time in more than 60 years. With coal-fired power plants generating only 12 percent of TVA’s power needs in the first quarter of 2020, the results demonstrate the feasibility of nuclear energy as a baseload power source as Tennessee hopes to see a 70 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2023.
Nuclear Security and Emerging Technologies
Westinghouse Electric Company has installed a first-of-its-kind 3D-printed fuel component inside Exelon’s Byron Unit 1 nuclear reactor. The 3D-printed thimble plugging device, installed during a refuelling outage, gives hope to nuclear energy experts that the reactor manufacturing process can be simplified.

For the first time in over 30 years, the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has approved a new high-temperature metal that could be used in existing high temperature nuclear facilities and in new advanced nuclear reactors such as molten salt reactors. 
Noteworthy Research
A recent IAEA Global Energy Review found that demand for nuclear power has fallen in 2020 as the novel Coronavirus limits electricity demand. Several other energy sources, such as coal, oil and gas, also recorded a drop in demand, with resulting global carbon emissions expected to decline by 8 percent.

The American Nuclear Policy Initiative (ANPI) has released a comprehensive report evaluating U.S. nuclear policy under Donald Trump. ‘Blundering Toward Nuclear Chaos: The Trump Administration after Three Years’ assesses the nuclear challenges currently faced by the United States, and details how such challenges have worsened under the Trump administration.
The Nuclear Conversation
For more than two decades, the Partnership for Global Security (PGS) has developed actionable responses to global security challenges by engaging international, private sector, and multidisciplinary expert partners to assess policy needs, identify effective strategies, and drive demonstrable results.
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