Among other also bad consequences, economic crisis is playing a key role in the growing weakness of the public debate. We understand that political firemen are very busy looking for a a way to solve the financial nightmare but it is not healthy the rest of us are only thinking on macroeconomics. A big number of hot questions are waiting for public policy decisions. We should remember that in terms of global stability we were not very comfortable two years ago. Economic situation has worsened, but other problems have not gone better.
It is the case of the nuclear threat. Nuclear energy is being discussed because more people agree to a revival in its use. Fourth generation plant and the need to generate a lot of cheap energy are harder arguments than the points of the environmentalists and socialist political parties. The nuclear lobby enjoys to be listened by a bigger audience and there are many plans to increase the number of atomic power plants in all over the Western world. We have not solved the problem of the nuclear waste, but it seems we do not care about next generations as we did.
But a positive view of the nuclear question has other important implications. A very attractive high-quality uranium marketplace is emerging as many people want to have this material. The setting up of fast breeder reactors opens the use of plutonium and it is more difficult to control and stopped the use of plutonium by not very friendly countries and people. Therefore, it is necessary to create a new political, economic and legal framework to assure a proper use of the nuclear power. May be everybody agrees it is not convenient the proliferation of WMDs. But if some groups have an alternative access to nuclear forces we could face a worse threat. The 11-S showed that instruments of civil use can be converted in letal warfare.
If yu are interested in reading more about the topic, I recommend to review a recent work of Frank Barnaby, which has been published by the British Institute of Public Policy Research. In The Nuclear Renaissance: Nuclear weapons proliferation and terrorism, Barnaby says that
«At present, there is a surprising lack of academic debate and research about the global, regional and national security consequences of the spread of nuclear knowledge and technology, and about how the international and regional communities can cope with this spread».
According to him, although civil and military officials are aware of the fact that «in the nuclear renaissance many countries will have access to plutonium that could potentially be used to fabricate nuclear weapons, both by countries and by terrorists, since the information needed to produce nuclear weapons is widely available», there is no debate on the international regulation of the use of nuclear power.
There are two proposals to organise the traffic of uranium and specially of plutonium, the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) and the Nuclear Fuel Bank (NFB). But countries do not agree which of them is the best way to control the use of nuclear resources all over the world. The lack of a common ground is taking to a multipolar situation where there is not a clear roadmap to cope with the matter. Meanwhile, evil people is enjoying a perfect environment to collect nuclear fuel without the consent of the international community.