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Unmaking the BombA Fissile Material Approach to Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation$
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Harold A. Feiveson, Alexander Glaser, Zia Mian, and Frank N. von Hippel

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027748

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027748.001.0001

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Fissile Materials, Nuclear Power, and Nuclear Proliferation

Fissile Materials, Nuclear Power, and Nuclear Proliferation

(p.87) 5 Fissile Materials, Nuclear Power, and Nuclear Proliferation
Unmaking the Bomb

Harold A. Feiveson

The MIT Press

The 1953 U.S. Atoms for Peace initiative launched the dissemination of nuclear technologies to non-weapon states. It also led to the establishment in 1957 of the International Atomic Energy Agency and to the Nonproliferation Treaty of 1970. The spread of nuclear power programs also has led to the spread of sensitive enrichment and reprocessing technologies which has given some non-weapon states the means of producing fissile material and thereby a “latent” proliferation capability, where a state could quickly produce nuclear weapons should it decide to do so. Even a small nuclear power program can provide a nuclear weapon breakout potential. The proliferation dangers associated with today’s dominant nuclear fuel cycle come from the fact that the uranium enrichment plants that produce low-enriched uranium for fuel could be rapidly converted to produce highly enriched uranium for weapons and that some countries reprocess spent fuel to recover plutonium, a weapons material, to recycle as fuel.

Keywords:   Nuclear power, Nuclear proliferation, Atoms for Peace, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Nonproliferation Treaty, Safeguards, Uranium enrichment, Reprocessing, Plutonium, Spent fuel

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