Energy

286 Items

South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Republic of Korea via Flickr

Journal Article - Georgetown Journal of Asian Affairs

An Analysis of Moon Jae-in's Nuclear Phase-out Policy

| Winter 2019

Although South Korea adopted nuclear energy later than countries like the United States, Russia, or France, the country, until recently, has been considered to have one of the most successful civil nuclear power programs in the world, with a fully-devel- oped supply chain, a remarkable record in constructing and operating nuclear power plants (NPPs), and the ability to compete and win contracts to supply NPPs abroad. The fortune of South Korea’s nuclear program has seemingly come to an end, however, with the election of Moon Jae-in. The new South Korean President promised to reduce the country’s dependence on nuclear energy, and has, since taking office, implemented measures to phase out this type of electricity generation.

In this paper, following a brief history of the development of nuclear energy in South Korea, the root causes that instilled public distrust of nuclear energy and Moon Jae-in’s phase-out policy are discussed. Subsequently, by analyzing the validity of Moon’s plan, I argue that this phase-out policy is not beneficial for the long-term sustainability of South Korea’s economy in general, and of the Korean nuclear industry in particular. The paper concludes with policy recommendations for a more balanced nuclear policy that can accommodate public opinion and, at the same time, ensure energy security and provide other economic and diplomatic benefits.

Visitors look at the models of oil tanker shaped floating nuclear reactors and oil rigs showcased at the display booth of China's state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation during the China International Exhibition on Nuclear Power Industry in Beijing. April 27, 2017 (Andy Wong/Associated Press).

Andy Wong/Associated Press

Journal Article - Maritime Issues

China's Planned Floating Nuclear Power Facilities in South China Sea: Technical and Political Challenges

| Nov. 21, 2018

The operation of the fleet of Chinese floating nuclear power plants in the South China Sea carries with it numerous safety and security risks that may have widespread consequences to not only China but also to Southeast Asia and beyond.

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry delivers a speech during the general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria. September 18, 2017 (Ronald Zak/Associated Press).

Ronald Zak/Associated Press

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

A Poorly Negotiated Saudi Nuclear Deal Could Damage Future Regional Relationships

| Feb. 05, 2018

As George Orwell once observed, some ideas are so absurd that only the intelligentsia could hold them; ordinary people would not be so foolish. A case in point is a reported proposal to allow the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to enrich uranium and reprocess spent reactor fuel—two activities that could bring it within weeks of acquiring nuclear weapons—under a developing civil nuclear cooperation agreement.

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Analysis & Opinions - The Nautilus Institute

China's Nuclear Spent Fuel Management and Nuclear Security Issues

| Nov. 10, 2017

In this essay, Hui Zhang reviews the status of spent fuel storage in China.  He suggest that China should take steps to improve physical protection, reduce insider threats, promote a nuclear security culture, and improve nuclear cyber security. He also recommends China, South Korea, and Japans’ nuclear security training centers should cooperate and exchange best practices on insider threat reduction, contingency plans for emergency response, and discuss regional cooperation for long-term spent fuel storage, including building a regional center of spent fuel storage.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sits in the official endorsement ceremony of President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran, Iran,

AP/IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER OFFICE

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

Tearing Up the Nuke Deal Now Would Hand Iran the Best of All Possible Worlds

| July 31, 2017

The Iran nuclear deal is deeply flawed. Its duration is too short, and it fails to require of Tehran the universally agreed-upon minimum for effective verification — a complete and correct declaration of all relevant activities. Nonetheless, it would be a mistake for President Donald Trump to renounce it now, as he is reportedly contemplating.

soldiers goose-step across Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea

AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

‘No Good Options’ on North Korea Is a Myth

| July 07, 2017

It is now a commonplace to argue that there are no good options on North Korea — common perhaps, but wrong. In fact, it is Pyongyang that faces militarily and economically dominant adversaries, and dim prospects for long-term success. To be sure, the threat posed by North Korea’s growing nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals is changing in kind as well as magnitude and will require responses, but some perspective is warranted. Japan, South Korea, and the United States are more than capable of meeting that threat and deterring a catastrophic attack from the North.

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Paper

The History of Highly Enriched Uranium Production in China

| July 2017

China initiated its nuclear weapon program in 1955 and began to construct its fissile-material production facilities in the late 1950s. China has produced highly enriched uranium (HEU) for weapons at two complexes: Lanzhou gaseous diffusion plant (GDP, also referred as Plant 504) and Heping GDP (the Jinkouhe facility of Plant 814).

In 1958, China started the construction of the Lanzhou plant with advice from Soviet experts. Moscow withdrew all its experts in August 1960, however, forcing China to become self-reliant. On January 14, 1964, the GDP began to produce 90% enriched uranium, which made possible China’s first nuclear test on 16 October 1964.

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Paper

The History of Plutonium Production in China

| July 2017

China has produced plutonium for weapons at two sites: 1) Jiuquan Atomic Energy Complex (Plant 404) in Jiuquan, Gansu province. This site includes China’s first plutonium reactor (reactor 801) and associated reprocessing facilities. 2) Guangyuan plutonium production complex (Plant 821), located at Guangyuan in Sichuan province. This “third line” site also included a plutonium reactor (reactor 821) and reprocessing facility. While China has not declared officially that it has ended HEU and plutonium production for weapons, it appears that China halted its HEU and plutonium production for weapons in 1987.1

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Has South Korea Renounced "Nuclear Hedging"?

| June 27, 2017

"While it remains to be seen how the Moon administration's nuclear energy and security policies will materialize, it is too early to conclude that Seoul is renouncing the option of nuclear hedging. Uncertainty over the US commitment to security alliances under President Trump, combined with the election of a South Korean president who is promoting more independent national security, makes it unlikely that South Korea is abandoning the hedging option altogether."