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Reactor No. 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear
power plant

More Countries Looking to Nuclear Power

May 13, 2008 09:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
by Josh Katz
The increasing number of developing countries interested in nuclear power programs raises concerns about the proliferation of nuclear arms.

30-Second Summary

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As fossil fuel prices reach record highs, it isn’t surprising that many nations are now turning to nuclear power. The Washington Post reports that at least 40 developing countries have expressed to the United Nations a desire to develop nuclear programs.

However, several of the nations seeking nuclear programs are located in the Middle East and sit on vast supplies of oil and natural gas. In the case of these countries, “the investment in nuclear power appears to be linked partly to concerns about a future regional arms race stoked in part by Iran's alleged interest in such an arsenal,” reports the Post.

Arms Control Today cites similar findings from The New York Times, writing that “Arab officials have warned that an unchecked Iranian nuclear program may lead to regional nuclear proliferation.”

However, economic factors may also be motivating Middle Eastern nuclear ambitions. With fuel prices soaring worldwide, “it may be more cost effective to sell oil to Americans driving SUVs than to burn it domestically,” Alan McDonald, an International Atomic Energy Agency official, told the Post.

Nonetheless, the growing interest in nuclear technology only adds to the uneasiness inspired by Israel’s September 2007 military strike against an alleged Syrian nuclear facility. In April, a congressional hearing explored North Korea’s role in the reactor’s construction, providing evidence reputedly linking Pyongyang to the reactor.

Headline Link: ‘Spread of Nuclear Capability Is Feared’

Background: The global nuclear trend

Related Topics: Congressional hearings on Syrian reactor; nuclear energy in the United States

Reference: Chernobyl

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