Expanding Nuclear Energy: Unpacking the National Security Implications of Small Modular Reactors (George Washington University)

Expanding Nuclear Energy: Unpacking the National Security Implications of Small Modular Reactors

  Thursday, April 25th, 2024 Source: George Washington University

The latest report by Sharon Squassoni, "New Nuclear Energy: Assessing the National Security Risks," delves into the complexities and emerging concerns surrounding the expansion of nuclear energy through Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). As countries and companies push for a rapid increase in nuclear capabilities to meet climate goals, there is an underlying risk landscape that could impact global security. Squassoni points out that while SMRs offer a promising route to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, their proliferation could exacerbate national security risks, including nuclear terrorism and geopolitical tensions.

The report identifies several challenges, notably the potential for increased nuclear proliferation due to the nature of SMR technology and its deployment in potentially unstable regions. This includes risks of diversion of nuclear materials, sabotage, and misuse in the geopolitical chessboard. Furthermore, the involvement of major powers like the United States, Russia, and China in the nuclear energy market introduces a complex layer of diplomatic and security dynamics that could influence global stability.

Insurance industries and stakeholders in the energy sector must consider these risks when developing policies and strategies. The potential liability issues stemming from nuclear incidents, the need for robust risk assessments, and comprehensive insurance coverage are more pertinent than ever. This report serves as a critical resource for understanding the broader implications of nuclear energy developments on international security and insurance markets.

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