US Global Nuclear Policy

Government Reports

  • GNEP Overview Facts Sheet, U.S. Dept. of Energy.
  • GNEP: A Reliable Fuel Services Program, U.S Dept. of Energy. A brief outline of the goals behind GNEP.
  • Remarks Prepared for Energy Secretary Sam Bodman, 2005 Carnegie International Nonproliferation Conference, 7 November 2005. In this speech, Bodman outlines how the US government is approaching the problem of simultaneously promoting the spread of nuclear power while also preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
  • Foreign Press Center Briefing, Clay Sell, Deputy Secretary of Energy; Robert Joseph, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, 16 February 2006. Sell and Joseph outline the administration’s argument for why plutonium recycling is a necessary part of a global nuclear power expansion.
  • Report of the Advanced Nuclear Transformation Technology Subcommittee of the Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee, Burton Richter et al., 22 March 2006. This report examines the plans for GNEP and suggests areas that need further research or clarification. “Of particular importance is the creation of a carefully constructed roadmap with a realistic timeline and clear mission statements for major facilities proposed for this program.”
  • U.S. Nonproliferation Strategy and the Roles and Missions of the Defense and Energy Departments, Hearing of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee, 29 March 2006. Testimony of Peter Flory, Assistant Secretary Of Defense For International Security Policy; Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, Commander, U.S. Strategic Command; Jerry Paul, Principal Deputy Administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration.
  • U.S. Strategy to Combat the Proliferation of WMD. Statement of Robert G. Joseph, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, to the Senate Armed Services Committee Sub-Committee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, 29 March 2006
  • Global Nuclear Energy Partnership Technology Demonstration Program, Steven E. Aumeier, The International Nuclear Nonproliferation Science and Technology Forum, Tokyo, 19 May 2006. Brief presentation on the plans for GNEP-TD, the domestic demonstration program to support GNEP goals.
  • Global Nuclear Energy Partnership: Greater Energy Security in a Safer, Cleaner World, U.S. Dept. of Energy, September 2006.
  • Statement of Clay Sell, Deputy Secretary. U.S. Department of Energy, Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, U.S. Department of Energy, FY 2007 Appropriations Hearing
  • Republic of Senegal Joins the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership. U.S. Department of Energy, 1 February, 2008. The Republic of Senegal became the 20th country to become a member of GNEP.
  •  A Time for Action: The U.S. Next Generation Safeguards Initiative. Adam M. Scheinman, Assistant Deputy Administrator, Nonproliferation and International security, Dept. of Energy, 31 March 2008. Scheinman explains the  U.S. government’s Next Generation Safeguards Initiative, which aims to by renew US domestic safeguards expertise and technological capabilities, explore opportunities to improve safeguards institutions, and promote international partnerships on the development and application of safeguards measures.
  • Next Generation Nuclear Safeguards Initiative. National Nuclear Safety Administration, September 2008. NNSA launched the Next Generation Safeguards Initiative (NGSI) to develop the policies, concepts, technologies, expertise, and infrastructure necessary to sustain the international safeguards system as its mission evolves over the next 25 years.  NGSI is designed to revitalize and strengthen the U.S. safeguards technical base.  The initiative will also bring together international partners to join forces in meeting key safeguards challenges.
  • International Safeguards: Challenges and Opportunities for the 21st Century. National Nuclear Safety Administration, 9 September 2008. This report examines current and future challenges of the international safeguards system and identifies new capabilities and resources that the IAEA and other key organizations and institutions will need to address these challenges.

General Analysis

  • R&D Priorities for the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, Richard Garwin, Testimony to the House Science Committee, 06 April 2006; Presentation slides. Garwin, IBM Fellow Emeritus, criticizes GNEP as a misguided approach to the problem of nuclear waste storage. “GNEP … would launch us into a costly program that would surely cost more to do the job less well than would a program at a more measured pace guided by a more open process.”
  • GNEP: the right way forward? Steve Kidd, Nuclear Engineering International, 1 June 2006. Kidd, Head of Strategy & Research at the World Nuclear Association, lays out the arguments for and against GNEP, particularly from the standpoint of promoting global norms.
  • Nuclear Power Renaissance? A Look at the Issues, Tom Cochran, presentation at the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, June 4, 2006. In this power point presentation, Tom Cochran of the National Resources Defense Council takes a skeptical view the idea that a vast expansion of nuclear power is the key to addressing global warming, arguing that it’s unrealistic from both an economic and technological point of view, and that the risks far outweigh the benefits.
  • Key GNEP Issues in East Asia, Nautilus Institute, 5 November 2006. Background briefing on the key issues surrounding GNEP as they relate to the context of nuclear power and weapons proliferation in East Asia.

Nuclear Fuel Supply

  • Ensuring Security of Supply in the International Nuclear Fuel Cycle, World Nuclear Association Report, 12 May 2006. This report is the nuclear industry’s response to the Expert Group on Multilateral Approaches for the Nuclear Fuel Cycle established by the IAEA. The report argues that existing IAEA and Eurotom safeguards and commercial arrangements are robust for assuring nuclear supply, and that emergency measures should only be implemented in case of major political disruptions.

Spent Fuel Storage

  • GNEP and the U.S. Spent Fuel Problem, Frank Von Hippel, Congressional Staff Briefing, 10 March 2006. Von Hippel of Princeton University argues that GNEP is costly and unnecessary, as plutonium reprocessing is commercially unviable and increases proliferation concerns. Instead, interim dry cask storage is cheaper, safer, and more proliferation resistant.
  • Experts at AAAS Capitol Hill Briefing See Problems with Nuclear Waste Plans, Paul Recet, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2 May 2006. Experts at a briefing organized by the AAAS argued that the US Dept. of Energy’s plans for Yucca mountain are inadequate for storing the waste from existing nuclear power plants, let alone any new plants that may be built.
  • New Nukes, Richard K. Lester, Issues in Science and Technology, Summer 2006. Lester, director of the Industrial Performance Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, argues that the Bush administration’s plan to reprocess plutonium is doomed to failure, and that dry cask storage remains the best option for dealing with nuclear waste.
  • GNEP and Yucca Mountain, Victor Gilinsky, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 17 February 2007. In this power point presentation, Gilinsky reviews US plans for Yucca Mountain and concludes that its expensive and unnecessary, and based on the idea that the public will not accept new reactors unless there’s a single repository site for the spent fuel.

  Plutonium Reprocessing

  • Demonstration of the Urex Solvent Extraction Process with Dresden Reactor Fuel Solution, M.C. Thompson et al., Westinghouse Savannah River Company, 30 September 2002. A solvent extraction process to recover uranium and technetium from solutions of irradiated commercial reactor fuel while sending the plutonium to waste with the fission products and higher actinides was tested with actual fuel solution. Demonstration of the uranium extraction (UREX) process at baseline conditions showed that the process meets all goals for recovery and decontamination.
  • Designing and Demonstration of the UREX+ Process Using Spent Nuclear Fuel, George F. Vandergrift et al., Advances for International Fuel Cycles International Conference,  21-24 June, 2004. As part of the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative, Argonne National Laboratory demonstrated the UREX+ process using a 2-cm centrifugal contactor. Results of this demonstration and the AMUSE code used to design it will be discussed.
  • Is US reprocessing worth the risk? Steve Fetter and Frank Von Hippel, Arms Control Today, September 2005. Fetter and von Hippel argue that reprocessing does not eliminate the need for a repository, and there is no urgent need for additional repository capacity. Further, the new reprocessing technologies being examined by the Energy Department, if adopted, would make huge additional quantities of plutonium accessible for diversion by terrorist groups and would undercut the ability of the United States to oppose the spread of plutonium-separation technology to additional countries.
  • No Hurry to Recycle, Frank Von Hippel, Mechanical Engineering, May 2006. Frank von Hippel notes that US moves toward reprocessing are driven by the belief that no new reactors will be built until a long-term solution is found for the spent fuel problem. But he argues that spent fuel can be stored on-site safely and cheaply for several more decades.
  • GNEP Expression of Interest: Japan’s Nuclear Industry Clutching at Straws, Citizen’s Nuclear Information Center, 9 September 2006. In this press release, a Japanese NGO argues that Japan’s participation in GNEP is not practical, but is rather a desperate attempt to reinvigorate its troubled nuclear energy program.
  • Assessing the Benefits, Costs, and Risk of Near-Term Reprocessing and Alternatives, Testimony of Matthew Bunn for the Subcommittee on Energy and Water, United States Senate, 14 September 2006. Harvard’s Matthew Bunn argues that expansion of nuclear energy will require making it as cheap, safe, secure, and proliferation-resistant as possible. But GNEP’s focus on rapidly moving toward large-scale reprocessing heads in the opposite direction.
  • Plutonium Recycle in the US Nuclear Power System? Richard Garwin, Presentation at AAAS Symposium in San Francisco, 17 February 2007. Garwin, an IBM Fellow Emeritus, discusses in detail the mechanics of plutonium reprocessing and what it would mean for the US nuclear power system.


  • Are IAEA Safeguards on Plutonium Bulk-Handling Facilities Effective? Marvin Miller, MIT, August 1990. The purpose of this paper is to assess the effectiveness of international (IAEA) safeguards at peaceful nuclear fuel cycle facilities which handle plutonium in bulk form. There are two facilities of this type: reprocessing plants which extract the plutonium from nuclear fuel irradiated in nuclear reactors, and fabrication plants which process the extracted plutonium into fresh fuel assemblies.
  • The Proliferation Challenge of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle in Non-Nuclear Weapon States, Pierre Goldschmidt, IAEA Deputy Director General, Head of the Department of Safeguards, 26 April 2004. In response to concerns that non-nuclear weapons states are using civilian nuclear power programs to circumvent safeguards, the IAEA Director General has proposeed “limiting the processing of weapon-usable nuclear material in civilian nuclear programmes – as well as the production of new weapon-usable nuclear material through reprocessing and enrichment – by agreeing to restrict these operations exclusively to facilities under multinational control,” and considering “multinational approaches to the management and disposal of spent fuel and radioactive waste.”
  • The Bush Proposals: A Global Strategy for Combating the Spread of Nuclear Weapons Technology or a Sanctioned Nuclear Cartel? Sean Lucas, Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) Monterey Institute of International Studies, November 2004. In this article, Lucas explains why the Bush administration is facing considerable international opposition to policies that prohibit the supply of nuclear technology to countries that have not ratified the Additional Protocol.
  • Peddling Plutonium, Dr. Thomas Cochran and Christopher Paine, National Resources Defense Council, March 2006. Cochran and Paine argue that GNEP is an “extravagant, unaffordable excursion into nuclear state-socialism on a global scale” that will not solve the problems of either spent fuel disposal or nuclear nonproliferation.
  • Routes to Weapons via Nuclear Fuel Cycle, Marvin Miller, MIT, 2006. In this presentation, Miller lays out the various way the nuclear fuel cycle can be used to make nuclear weapons.
  • Mapping Global Nuclear Expansion, Sharon Squassoni, Carnegie Corporation, November 5, 2007. In this power point presentation, Squassoni explores various scenarios for the global expansion of nuclear power and the implications for nonproliferation.
  • Lugar Speech on Nuclear Safeguards. 11 September 2008. Richard Lugar, ranking Republican member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, gave the keynote speech at the International Meeting on Next Generation Safeguards. Lugar arguews that the US-led Next Generation Safeguards Initiative is necessary to help address the limitations of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s safeguards programs.