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Issues & Insights Vol. 03 – No. 07

Driven by the prospect of rapid economic growth and the perceived need for energy security, the Asia-Pacific region will significantly expand nuclear energy use over the coming decades. China, India, South Korea, and Japan are projected to add a combined 45 gigawatts of nuclear power generating capacity between 2001 and 2025. An increase in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, however, brings with it rising concerns over safety, security, proliferation, and nuclear spent fuel accumulation. Particularly worrisome are projections that the amount of spent fuel in the region is projected to triple from 27.78 metric tons today to 95.07 metric tons by 2020. These concerns are further amplified when political insecurity in the region, including historical animosity and unsolved territorial issues, is taken into account. Plainly, nuclear energy concerns, entwined with regional tensions, have great implications for regional stability.