Challenging the Myths: A Transatlantic Discussion on Nuclear Power and the Civil-Military Dilemma

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Heinrich Boell Foundation

In cooperation with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Heinrich Boell Foundation North America organized a panel discussion to examine the perception of nuclear power both inside and outside of the United States.

While some claim that nuclear power offers a clean and secure energy source allowing to facilitate a low-carbon economy in the near and far future, its risks as well as its economic shortcomings often remain overseen: The civil use of nuclear energy relies deeply on governmental subsidies in order to be competitive within the free market economy, while at the same time raising serious security concerns in terms of uncontrollable proliferation threats. Moreover, adhering to nuclear power in fact hinders the growth of renewable energies and postpones investments in wind, solar, and efficiency technologies. Hence, is it really fair to say that nuclear power should serve as a “bridge technology” while heading towards the age of renewables?

The Heinrich Boell Foundation has asked renowned international scholars from both sides of the Atlantic to prepare reports which challenge these and other “nuclear myths”. At the panel discussion, the authors presented their findings on how nuclear power is contested by environmental, economical, and security objections. They provided an outlook on how investment in nuclear power constitutes a severe barrier for developing more efficient and renewable energy supplies, assessed the likeliness of a nuclear revival in the United States, and proposed next steps to overcome the civilian-military nuclear dilemma. Their presentations were followed by a vivid discussion which focused on the backlash of nuclear proliferation worldwide on security and economy interests of both the United States and Europe. In the end, it was learned that nuclear power today marks a form of “government energy”, much rather than being anywhere near to market-competitive.

Click here to view the reports

Click here to listen to a recording of the event (mp3)

Click below for the presentations of the featured speakers:

Henry Sokolski: Nuclear Power and Nuclear Weapons: What's the Connection?

Michele Boyd: New Reactors and Nuclear Subsidies in the United States

Antony Froggatt: Transforming the Energy System: What Role for Nuclear Power?