Special Reports

Special Reports are longer, often more technical, documents consisting of entire articles, government statements, and other documents relevant to security and peace in Northeast Asia.

NAPSNet, Special Reports

The ROK’s Nuclear Energy Development and Spent Fuel Management Plans and Options

In this report Jungmin Kang reviews the current status of and future prospects for nuclear power in the Republic of Korea. The ROK’s current nuclear capacity of 21.7 GWe will, under current plans, be approximately doubled by 2030. Given the current lack of pool storage capacity, Kang asserts that spent fuel storage in the ROK will become worse in the near future and that decisions regarding the interim storage of spent fuel will play key roles in shaping nuclear fuel cycle activities and development in South Korea.

Dr. Jungmin Kang is currently a visiting professor at Lee Byong Whi Nuclear Energy Policy Center, Department of Nuclear and Quantum Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).

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Foundations of Energy Security for the DPRK: 1990-2009 Energy Balances, Engagement Options, and Future Paths for Energy and Economic Redevelopment

The purpose of this report is to provide policy-makers and other interested parties with an overview of the demand for and supply of the various forms of energy used in the DPRK in six years during the last two decades:

  • 1990, the year before much of the DPRK’s economic and technical support from the Soviet Union was withdrawn;
  • 1996, thought by some to be one of the most meager years of the difficult economic 1990s in the DPRK; and
  • 2000, a year that has been perceived by some observers as a period of modest economic “recovery” in the DPRK, as well as a marker of the period before the start, in late 2002, of a period of renewed political conflict between the DPRK, the United States, and it neighbors in Northeast Asia over the DPRK’s nuclear weapons development program; and
  • 2005, also a year in which observers have again noted an upward trend in some aspects of the DPRK economy, as well as the most recent year for which any published estimates on the DPRK’s energy sector and economy are available.
  • 2008, the last year in which the DPRK received heavy fuel oil from its negotiating partners in the Six-Party talks; and
  • 2009, the most recent year for which we have analyzed the DPRK’s energy sector.

David von Hippel is an Associate of the Nautilus Institute. Peter Hayes is the Executive Director of the Nautilus Institute.

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The “Joint Facilities” Revisited – Desmond Ball, Democratic Debate on Security, and the Human Interest

Richard Tanter examines Ball’s writings on these facilities, setting them in the wider context of Ball’s work on nuclear targeting, the transnational UKUSA intelligence and security community, and the possibilities and limits of self reliance in Australian defence. Reviewing developments in US-Australian “joint facilities” in Australia in the past decade, the paper examines the asymmetrical alliance cooperation involved in the technological, organisational and doctrinal integration of Australian defence forces with those of the United States. It then argues for a reconsideration of the balance of costs and benefits of the US facilities and the accompanying alliance grand bargain. The paper concludes with a re-consideration of Ball’s reluctant conclusion to the question of whether, on balance, the retention of the Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap is in the Australian national interest and the wider human interest.

Richard Tanter is Senior Research Associate at the Nautilus Institute, and professor in the School of Social and Political Studies at the University of Melbourne. Email: rtanter@nautilus.org.

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Summary Report: A New Approach to Security in Northeast Asia – Breaking the Gridlock Workshop

This summary report is based on the New Approach to Security in Northeast Asia: Breaking the Gridlock workshop, which convened senior international experts in the field of security in Washington, D.C. on October 9th and 10th, 2012. The purpose of this meeting was to access Morton Halperin’s proposal that establishing a Northeast Asian Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (NEA-NWFZ) would strengthen peace and security in the region, reinforce the nuclear non-proliferation regime and facilitate nuclear disarmament on the Korean Peninsula. The workshop built upon the findings of the East Asia Nuclear Security Workshop in 2011 to further explore the proposal’s limits, weaknesses and possible means of implementation.

Binoy Kampmark is a Lecturer at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Peter Hayes is the Executive Director of the Nautilus Institute and Richard Tanter is an Associate of the Nautilus Institute.

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An Initial Exploration of the Potential for Deep Borehole Disposal of Nuclear Wastes in China

Although China’s nuclear power industry is relatively young, and the management of its spent nuclear fuel and nuclear waste is not yet a major concern, China’s commitment to nuclear energy and its rapid pace of nuclear generation capacity development require detailed analyses and planning of its future spent fuel management and nuclear waste policies. Specially, China is moving forward on its commitment to operate a closed nuclear fuel cycle, a policy that was first articulated in the 1980s. Figuring out how to manage and store the high-level nuclear waste resulting from reprocessing—a necessary part of a closed nuclear fuel cycle—could be a challenge for China.

This report reviews China’s spent fuel management policy, including its plans for reprocessing, including and China’s nuclear waste management plan, and explores the feasibility of deep borehole disposal (DBD) as an alternative to at-reactor, centralized surface- and near-surface storage, or mine geologic storage of spent fuel and high-level nuclear waste.

Yun Zhou is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Belfer Center’s Project on Managing the Atom and International Security Program.

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China’s Nuclear Energy Development and Spent Fuel Management Plans

Liu Xuegang writes, “Experience with spent fuel management is limited in China. No authorized roadmap or clear decision on the back end of nuclear fuel cycle has yet been developed and approved. Thanks to the present relatively small quantity of spent fuel in storage at China’s nuclear plants, it appears that there will be no critical pressure on the development of spent fuel transportation, interim storage, large-scale reprocessing and final disposal infrastructure for a number of years. The difficulty and uncertainty of development of nuclear power and nuclear fuel cycle facilities, however, have been well-proved worldwide in the past. China’s strategy of spent fuel management policy should be determined soon, and should be based on a comprehensive and scientific planning process that allows consideration of all reasonable options, issues, and points of view.”

Xuegang Liu is a Doctor at the Nuclear Chemistry and Technology Division at the Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology, Tsinghua University, Beijing, P. R. China.

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Tactical Employment of Atomic Weapons

By 1951 it was apparent that the Soviet nuclear explosion in 1949 had already cut short the era of U.S. nuclear omnipotence and in Korea,  the U.S. military’s began to worry about nuclear attack. “In the problem of defense,” advises this March 1951 Johns Hopkins report by to General MacArthur, “there is the question as to whether one’s own forces and installations are so disposed as to be vulnerable and, if so, what more suitable dispositions and defenses are possible.”

To answer this question, the report analyzes whether UN Command field troops, army and air force headquarters at Taegu, and UN airfields would have been lucrative nuclear targets; and whether Pusan, the logistical port through which poured 80 percent of the supplies to fight the war, was vulnerable.

The report shows that each of these targets was indeed vulnerable. Each target was sufficiently valuable to justify using nuclear weapons; each target could be identified; and none of them could assuredly stop a nuclear attack.

This report was released to the Nautilus Institute under the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

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United States Air Force Pacific Bases in the 70’s

This 1971 case study by Colonel William Roche explores the future role of U.S. air bases in the Pacific with regards to relations with the Republic of Korea, China, Japan (with emphasis on Okinawa) and the Philippines.

Roche states, “The current trend in the pacific, as elsewhere, is to reduce forces, economize and encourage other nations to assume a greater share of the defense burden.  This is being accomplished by withdrawal of some units and consolidation of other units, utilizing the same facilities. It also requires continued military assistance to certain Asian allies for a number of years.” (page 10)

This report was released to the Nautilus Institute under the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

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Loan Application for Korea Nuclear Units 7&8

South Korea experienced rapid economic growth in the 1970s which pushed the nation out of it’s post-war destitution. At the time, the Park Chung-hee administration invested massively in heavy industries and, in order to supply more electricity for the country’s new industries and growing citizenry, Park also invested in nuclear energy.

This 1979 report from the Export-Import Bank of the United States examines the finances, project costs, and benefits of lending capital to two nuclear plants in the southwestern area of South Korea known as Units 7 and 8.

This report was released to the Nautilus Institute under the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

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Australia in Mid-Passage: A Study of Her Role in the Indian Ocean-Southeast Asia Area

In this 1966 report, Wilder and Packard trace Australia’s development from WWII to the mid-1960s and consider the nation’s projected development. Their findings suggest Australia was and-would continue to become-a key component of Asian economics and politics. All statistics pointed to continued economic growth and substantial increases in trade abroad. The authors analyze Australia’s projected allegiances, level of international cooperation, agricultural development, military development, and increase in labor force.The report also considers external threats to Auatralia’s growth, including the possibility of a Chinese nuclear strike.

 This report was released to the Nautilus Institute under the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

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