Economic solution to a political deadlock

A year ago, I wrote a short proposal to solve Iran's nuke problem, advocating an IAEA managed nuclear fuel stockpile.

I am glad to see now that it is finally becoming a solid plan.
  • "Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, CNN creator Ted Turner and former Sen. Sam Nunn pledged $50 million to the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency Tuesday to create a uranium stockpile.
  • The aim is to discourage countries from developing their own nuclear programs. The reserve would ensure supplies of low-grade fuel for nuclear power plants around the world. One example of a program they hope to discourage is in Iran, which critics fear is ultimately aimed at developing weapons."
Yes, I am aware of the fact that for the cases of Iran, nuclear power is probably just an excuse. For Pyongyang, even though it has declared nuke capability and intention, it is dying for energy. To provide them with affordable nuclear fuels in the form of low grade purified uranium and plutonium isotopes may not be the full recipe to dissuade them away from the nuclear program, but it removes a major excuse they could use. It would be useful to delay, if not suspend, their current project.

Much more important is that we should expect more countries (of which most will be on purely economic motive) expressing interests in developing their own nuclear program, especially when the price of fossil fuel (oil, gas, coal, etc) is becoming more and more expensive. Even if fossil fuel is abundant and cheap, nuclear energy, counter-intiutively, is a lot more cleaner option...
  • Several life cycle analyses show similar emissions per kilowatt-hour from nuclear power and from renewables such as wind power [75]. According to one life cycle study (van Leeuwen and Smith 2001-2005 [source 1]), carbon dioxide emissions from nuclear power per kilowatt hour could range from 20% to 120% of those for natural gas-fired power stations depending on the availability of high grade ores.
...provided that proper safety management is exercised, both on the power plant construction and operation, and that of the fuel rods.

Since fossil fuel can only provide us for a few centuries (the number of depending on different estimates), and nuclear energy would provide us for many BILLIONS of year. So it is a matter of sustainability and inevitability that we have to switch to nuclear, sooner or later. (see also Wired Magazine and FAQ from Stanford Professor John McCarthy) Regarding the melt-down of a nuclear power plant (Chernobyl) vs damage from fossil fuel plants, a good analogy would be comparing the total casualties in accidents in flying a plane vs accidents in crashing a car.

Unfortunately, nuclear power should have been much cheaper than it is today, if more competition is introduced to the market. The new international stockpile effort will introduce new competition to the fuel rod supply, and hence boost the market size and scale of power plant construction, which will in turn lower the cost of building and operating a power plant. Since the fuel rods from this international stockpile will be more affordable than those available on the market today, an attached condition to the buyer could be a strict safety operating standard. This will ensure the safety of the plants.

All these benefits are, on top of what it will achieve for non-proliferation.

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