1. The motivations that drive the non-proliferation movement are not always clear, it is true, and no doubt there are those in industries that see nuclear power as a competitor are glad of any help they can get. However there are other forces at work here that should not be ignored.
    Traditionally, thinking about proliferation has been dominated by the point of view that in international anarchy the

  2. Rod, I came to the conclusion after some research a few years ago that from the top down, the aim of the NPT community was to stop the spread of civilian nuclear power. If you read the tortured books of “Dr. Strangelove,” Albert Wohlstetter this is very clear. He equates nuclear reactors with bombs. He and his co-thinker Amory Lovins worked together to stop new nuclear reactors in California in the late 1960s. Wohlstetter’s protege Paul Wolfowitz is another example of the anti-nuclear motive behind the NPT political maneuvers. I wrote this up
    at http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/2006_articles/spring%202006/Special_Report.pdf

  3. I can still clearly remember watching a “news” clip for children on Saturday morning (about 1975) during all of the kids shows explaining “Nuclear Power.” In the clip, CBS showed a graphic of the typical atomic bomb explosion and mushroom cloud, the power this bomb produced, and then they reduced the “bomb” picture and added about a thousand more into the graphic of the core for a nuclear reactor, explaining this as to where the heat comes from and why it was so dangerous. One little mistake and the “bomb” could get out of the reactor core. Perhaps this is why young adults are afraid of Nuclear power plants.

  4. I know I’ll likely be in the minority here, but I’m going to come out and say that I take deep exception to the characterization of the entirety of the non-proliferation community as being fundamentally anti-nuclear. I will readily concede that there is a contingent of anti-nukes who use non-proliferation as a cover, but many involved in the effort do so because they reverently believe in the capability of nuclear energy to make a profoundly beneficial impact on society. If anything, those of us with this mindset take the opposite tack; our concern is to make safeguards which are as effective and minimally intrusive as possible.
    In that regard, I would argue that any attempt to squelch technology like SILEX is largely futile, much as was Carter’s decision to suspend civilian reprocessing in the vain hope of persuading other nations. The best thing we can hope to do is to come up with systems of reasonable, practical safeguards and vigorously enforce existing policies such as export controls.
    As an aside, it is my personal judgement based upon experience that proliferation is, by and large, a political problem, of which technical solutions (which include safeguards) can only act to deter or raise the difficulty of any politically-motivated attempt. Safeguards at their best make proliferation attempts cost-prohibitive, or at the very least slow down an attempt (or bring it out into the open) long enough for other political forces to act. At best technical solutions increase these margins.
    That being said, I think you (and others) fail to recognize that there are, at times, two non-proliferation communities – those that are just another cancerous outgrowth from the anti-nuclear industry (as you identify), and those who are genuinely interested in seeing nuclear energy grow and thrive.
    Put another way – any connection (however spurious) made in the public’s eye between nuclear energy technology and nuclear weapons proliferation is bad for business. In that light, it is fundamentally in our interest to see the implementation of effective safeguards while making the delineation between that and simple hand-wringing (as evinced in the Nature article above).

  5. SILEX might bring an improvement concerning the costs of enrichment, but what about the risks of a more

    1. The claim that thorium cycles are more proliferation-proof than uranium cycles is based on assumptions that center around the belief that proliferation is a technical problem, that will yield to technical solutions. In fact nothing could be farther from the truth. This perspective is obstreperously held in the face of repeated and consistent evidence from the historical record of the past sixty years that it is invalid. Worse, the people that realize that this is the case are largely in the other camp and continually use this to their advantage to have pronuclear supporters do the work of keeping this discreditable idea alive so that it can be used against nuclear energy.
      Proliferation is a political, diplomatic, and ultimately a military issue. It has nothing to do at all with nuclear power, or any other nuclear technology. This is because the total effort needed to carry through from the mine to the bomb, a surreptitious program of atomic armament on a scale sufficient to be a military threat, or to make it a temptation to evasion, so vast, and the number of separate difficult undertakings so great, and the special character of many of these undertakings so hard to conceal, that the fact of this effort is impossible to hide. Those countries that did produce atomic weaponry (post NPT) did so with the help, or the tacit permission of other NPT signatories because it suited them to do so. In some cases, right under the nose of international inspectors. Those countries that mounted programs without this ‘understanding’ from the dominant nuclear states, were swiftly shut down without much fuss. But the bottom line is that at no point did any of this hinge on technological or engineering factors or the type of civil reactors in use anywhere.
      There are many good and valid reasons for pursuing a thorium fuel cycle, but proliferation resistance isn’t one of them.

    1. You still don’t get it. Nuclear energy is in and of itself, not a proliferation risk. So far none of the countries

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