In this issue, we highlight increasing international cooperation in developing civil nuclear energy capacities, with a focus on Eastern European countries. Meanwhile, the IAEA has established new partnerships and held a conference on the relationship between climate change and nuclear energy. Finally, in the United States, both the public and private sectors have been engaged in discussions about cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.
The Nuclear-Climate-Security Conversation Gains Altitude
The nuclear-climate-global security discussion has ramped-up in recent weeks, led by several high-profile international organizations responding to the growing global concern about the impact of increasing greenhouse gasses. But the debate is still balkanized with energy and technology garnering more attention than their security implications.

In Vienna, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) held a unique conference on the role of nuclear power in combatting climate change. The event was designed to assess the role of nuclear power in contributing to global clean energy objectives and the opportunities and challenges the technology faces in meeting these goals. Over 70 countries were represented, and the major speakers came from a mix of countries, spanning large nuclear operators like the U.S. and France to nascent nuclear nations like Egypt and Morocco.

The IAEA’s Acting Director General, Cornel Feruta, captured the nuclear-climate conundrum in his opening remarks. Nuclear energy, he stated, “accounts for one-third of all low-carbon electricity generated today. That fact deserves to be better known.” He further noted, “It is difficult to see how the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions can be achieved without a significant increase in the use of nuclear power in the coming decades.”

However, Feruta also cautioned that, “like all technologies, nuclear power brings benefits and risks…and it is not always judged purely on the basis of scientific facts,” a reference to persistent public concern about nuclear technologies. Other speakers noted the importance of cost competitiveness for nuclear power to continue its low-carbon contribution.

Hoesung Lee, Chair of the United Nations (U.N.) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) noted that in the uphill battle to hold the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, consistent with the Paris Agreement, “[C]limate change needs all the help it can get” and that nuclear power can contribute to decarbonization particularly over the next 30 years.

Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) highlighted the, “growing and dangerous disconnect between climate emissions reports…and what is happening in real life.” Drawing on IEA energy data, he noted that, “[W]e do not have the luxury to pick our favorite technologies,” and that support for existing nuclear plants and new technologies were required by, “those governments that take climate change and electricity security seriously.”

Also entering the climate debate was the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which produced a new analysis calling for a dramatic $75 per ton tax on fossil fuel burning as the most effective approach to mitigate climate change. The IMF cautioned that, “[G]lobal warming is threatening our planet and living standards around the world…the window of opportunity…is closing rapidly.” Unstated in the IMF assessment, but, clearly articulated by the IAEA’s Feruta is the fact that “around 70% of the world’s electricity comes from burning fossil fuels…and together with hydropower, nuclear is the only low-carbon source of energy that can replace fossil fuels for 24/7 baseload power,” even as “wind and solar power will continue to grow.”

While the IAEA and IMF were focusing on the energy-climate connection, several other new analyses were focused on the global security impacts of climate change. A new report by the Council on Foreign Relations clearly underscores that climate change can cause “financial market failures” and that its impacts on the financial viability of U.S. energy firms can cause “disruptions to domestic energy supply” which have global and national security implications. A prior assessment by the U.S. Federal Reserve identified how higher global temperatures will impact the U.S. economy. Meanwhile, a group of 64 senior military, national security, and intelligence officials presented a new plan that called on the U.S. to recognize climate change as a “vital national security threat” and offered recommendations for how to “prepare for and prevent” this danger.

The developments of the past few weeks are important and demonstrate that the nuclear-climate-security discussion is maturing, advancing, and elevating. However, it is still disjointed, with the global energy and nuclear technology discussion mostly divorced from its global security significance. The Global Nexus Initiative has been drawing these three critical issues into a collaborative framework for the past four years and the new voices in this conversation are welcome. It may be time to now join all the key stakeholders into a broad and effective coalition that in sum is more effective and comprehensive than its individual parts. 

Ken Luongo, Partnership for Global Security

“Nuclear innovation is essential in the 21 st  century, a period of powerful technological evolution and intensifying global competition. The challenges posed by climate change and to global nuclear security must be addressed in a strong and effective manner. Advanced reactors are an important response to both of these critical issues.”
Nuclear Collaboration
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has established new partnerships with nuclear energy-related organizations from China, Norway, Malaysia, Egypt, Russia, Italy, and Thailand. This consortium aims to support the IAEA through research, development, and training relating to nuclear science, technologies, and their safe and secure applications. 
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov have recently agreed to bolster cooperation in a number of fields, including nuclear energy. President Moon hopes that South Korean companies can participate in Bulgaria’s nuclear projects.  
Romania and the United States have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at boosting cooperation on civil nuclear energy. In August, both countries’ leaders agreed on closer cooperation in supporting Romania’s civil nuclear energy goals. 
GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and an Estonian firm have signed an agreement that could lead to the construction of GE Hitachi’s BWRX-300 SMR design. As GE Hitachi’s 10th-generation boiling water reactor design, this would be the first time it will be constructed.
Russia is considering building NPPs in Cuba, aimed at reducing Cuba’s reliance on imports of energy resources.  
France's Orano Group recently agreed to work with Japanese utility Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) to manage the decommissioning of the Fukushima NPP. Orano will share its experience and expertise concerning the safe and innovative recovery and processing of nuclear waste.
Chief representative of China’s State Grid Ou Xiaoming stated that China is interested in working with Russia on nuclear and wind power projects in the Arctic region.   
Nuclear Policy, Governance, and Geopolitics
IAEA Acting Director General Cornel Feruta has recently given an address at the International Conference on Climate Change and the Role of Nuclear Power. This event serves as a forum to discuss how nuclear energy can help mitigate climate change.
The world’s first FNPP, designed and constructed by Rosatom, is set to begin operations in December. Despite security concerns and skepticism, FNPPs could present advantages over land-based counterparts. They could be used to serve Russian ports, energy-poor nations, and along river routes throughout the world. According to Rosatom, 15 countries have already expressed interest in the Russian FNPP.
The European Commission has decided not to exclude nuclear projects from a classification system that helps determine whether various economic initiatives and activities are environmentally sustainable. This has caused opposition from Germany, Austria, Luxembourg and the European Parliament.
The French government has criticized Électricité de France’s (EDF) management of NPP projects, citing delays and cost overruns. The country’s Finance and Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has announced that an independent audit will be carried out. 
Units 1 and 2 of France's Fessenheim NPP are set to shut down by mid-2020. Although these older units are being closed to offset the start-up of new NPPs, their closure represents France's energy policy of reducing nuclear energy use to 50 percent by 2035.
Bulgaria’s Kozloduy NPP has been granted a 10-year operational license after its lifespan was expanded. The plant is a crucial source of Bulgaria’s energy, producing about a third of the country’s electric power.  
Uzbekistan is planning to build its first NPP as a means to diversify its energy mix. Currently as much as 86 percent of its energy comes from fossil fuels and the country is likely to benefit from being the fifth largest producer of uranium.
A Russian-built NPP in Belarus is close to completion, according to Rosatom’s head. Both countries are engaged in talks over whether to construct a second unit at the plant.  
Kyushu Electric Power Corporation will stop operating two of its nuclear reactors next year due to a delay in implementing anti-terrorism measures, part of nationwide measures to prepare for and prevent nuclear disasters, such as at the Fukushima NPP in 2011.   
Domestic Civil Nuclear Developments
Two Congressional committees are currently working on passing bills focusing on nuclear energy. The Energy and Natural Resources Committee has pushed for the passage of its Nuclear Energy Leadership Act, while the Science, Space, and Technology Committee has been working on its own bill. 
BWX Technologies, Inc. announced that it is in the process of restarting its existing TRISO nuclear fuel production line and is planning to increase its existing capacity within about 12 months. The expansion of TRISO fuel production will position the company to meet emerging client interests for the Department of Defense’s microreactors, space reactors, and
civil advanced reactors.
Republican U.S. lawmakers have urged the Trump administration to ease restrictions on uranium mining on federal lands. In July, President Trump established the United States Nuclear Fuel Working Group to address the needs of both uranium miners and the nuclear industry.
In order to meet Puerto Rico’s energy needs, especially after the 2017 Hurricane Maria, the U.S. Department of Energy and non-profit Nuclear Alternative Project are collaborating on exploring the feasibility and favorability of nuclear power on the island. 
Nuclear Security and Emerging Technologies 
During the United Nations General Assembly in September the United States and 26 other nations issued a statement calling out state and non-state actors for targeting critical infrastructure through cyber warfare. Part of global efforts to set norms on cyber warfare , the de facto United States-led Group of Governmental Experts and the Russian-Chinese-led Open-Ended Working Group are vying to influence this behavior.
NASA is exploring ways to use nuclear rocket engines during space missions. They are likely to be used to provide the energy needed to power human outposts on other planets or cut the travel time to Mars by half. 
The IAEA has reported that the United Arab Emirates has made significant strides in developing its nuclear emergency preparedness and response arrangements since its last report in 2015. The UAE’s Barakah NPP is set to be a first for the UAE, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Arab World.  
Microsoft, the Hewlett Foundation, MasterCard and other major companies have formed the CyberPeace Initiative , a non-profit organization aimed at protecting victims against cyberattacks and helping them recover from one.
The Department of Energy has recently hosted its fourth InnovationXLab Summit in Chicago, Illinois. The summit brought together the private sector and the Department of Energy’s National Laboratories to consider collaboration opportunities in artificial intelligence (AI).  
Noteworthy Research
The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) has recently released a report entitled “Preventing a Dirty Bomb: Case Studies and Lessons Learned,” which outlines the security risks of cesium-137 and what measures can be undertaken to move away from the use of cesium-137 irradiators. The radioactive isotope cesium-137, typically used for medical purposes, can potentially be used to develop a “dirty bomb”.    
The Nuclear Conversation
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