Managing the Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Policy Implications of Expanding Global Access to Nuclear Power. Mary Beth Nikitin, Coordinator, Specialist in Nonproliferation, Anthony Andrews, Specialist in Energy and Defense Policy. October 19, 2012.
A major concern about the global expansion of nuclear power is the potential spread of nuclear fuel cycle technolog – particularly uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessin – that could be used for nuclear weapons. Despite 30 years of effort to limit access to uranium enrichment, several undeterred states pursued clandestine nuclear programs, the A.Q. Khan black market networks sales to Iran and North Korea representing the most egregious examples. However, concern over the spread of enrichment and reprocessing technologies may be offset by support for nuclear power as a cleaner and more secure alternative to fossil fuels. The Obama Administration has expressed optimism that advanced nuclear technologies being developed by the Department of Energy may offer proliferation resistance. The Administration has also pursued international incentives and agreements intended to minimize the spread of fuel cycle facilities.”