A Global Picture of Industrial Interdependencies Between Civil and Military Nuclear Infrastructures
21 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2018
Date Written: August 13, 2018
Noting the increasingly unfavourable economic and operational position of nuclear power around the world, this paper reviews evidence for a hitherto neglected connection between international commitments to civil and military nuclear infrastructures. Reviewing well established understandings of interlinkages associated with fissile materials and other nuclear weapons related substances, the paper surveys a distinct – and currently potentially more important – kind of interdependency that has up to now received virtually no policy attention. This relates to the national industrial supply chains necessary for the manufacture and operation of nuclear propelled submarines, that are deemed central to strategic military doctrine in a few states – and to burgeoning ambitions in a number of others. One of the most striking features of these interdependencies, is that evidence is so strong in strategic military literatures, but that the issue is typically so neglected in energy policy analysis. So the repercussions extend beyond specific domains of civil and military nuclear policy making in themselves – significant as these may be. Across a range of countries, arguably the most important implications arise for the rigour and transparency of mainstream academic and energy policy analysis and the quality and accountability of wider democratic processes – that are failing to give due attention to the evident force of these connections. With civil nuclear power now increasingly recognised to be growing obsolescent as a low carbon energy source, but key military capabilities evidently depending so strongly on its maintenance, a potentially important new window of opportunity may be opening up for robust measures to reduce global military nuclear threats.
Keywords: Nuclear power, nuclear weapons, nuclear submarines, nuclear proliferation, nuclear state, military industrial complex
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation