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June 15, 2012

Shultz, Drell and Andreasen Call for Safer Nuclear Enterprise

"In the 26 years since Chernobyl, the nuclear power industry has strengthened its safety practices, yet Fukushima demonstrates the fragility of the civil nuclear enterprise," write Sidney Drell, George P. Shultz and Steven P. Andreasen in Science.  Similarly, they note the harrowing possibility of accidents or miscalculations with weapons programs and the ever-present fear that a terrorist organization might get ahold of weapons-usable nuclear materials.

Noting the rich history of nuclear diplomacy, including the Nunn-Lugar program, they note, "Successful leadership in nuclear enterprise policy will require continuous, diligent, and multinational assessment of emerging risks and consequences."  The authors make four key recommendations in "A Safer Nuclear Enterprise":

  1. Every enterprise and related military and civilian organization must embrace the overarching importance of safety and security, including the greater regulation and higher costs that may come along with it
  2. Independent regulation is crucial to setting and enforcing the safety and security, so careful attention is required to protect against regulatory capture by vested interests in government and industry
  3. Independent peer review should be incorporated into all aspects of the nuclear enterprise
  4. Nuclear threat reduction should be organized around a clear goal: a global effort to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons, to prevent their spread into potentially dangerous hands, and ultimately to put an end to them as a threat to the world

Science, produced by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, is a subscription-only publication. 

For a summary of the article, see "Specialists Seek Mutual Accountability System for Nuclear Arms, Power Efforts" from Global Security Newswire.

For an excerpt, click here

Click here to access the full version.