Small-group seminars address current problems in international affairs, each focusing on one specific policy question and producing a joint task force report. Restricted to senior majors in International Studies. Prerequisite: SIS 200; SIS 201; SIS 202; SIS 401.
Lowering carbon emissions has proved far more politically challenging than anticipated, even as scientific evidence for serious climate impacts has grown. Renewable energy, despite favorable press, is unlikely to provide electricity on a major scale for decades. As a result, nuclear power emerges as a primary option for addressing climate change. Contested in the West, this energy source is expanding rapidly in the rest of the world. At least 30 nations now have plans to begin nuclear power programs soon, a number likely to grow. Meanwhile, new types of reactor designs with greatly reduced proliferation risk are being explored. Leaders of major nations therefore face a profound dilemma: are the risks associated with climate change worth trading for those—physical, technological, and political—related to a global expansion in nuclear power, and, if so, what measures must be taken to contain, indeed eliminate, any further opportunities for weapons proliferation? This Task Force will take up the question by examining its principle elements (e.g. current understanding of climate risks; carbon savings from nuclear; the status of global nuclear power; current negotiations to amend the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; policies regarding nuclear arsenals and their continued reduction; challenges related to Iran, North Korea, and the U.S.-India nuclear deal) in order to forge a set of recommendations that would give the U.S. an active leadership role in resolving this issue for the long-term.
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