An international ban should be placed on the export of nuclear reactor technology
Last updated: March 2, 2017
The use of all forms of nuclear technology is a heavily controversial issue, while governments support the use of Nuclear Reactor technology for its convenience , the masses strongly stand against its use, the wake of the Chernobyl Nuclear disaster as well as the more recent Nuclear Crisis in Fukushima Dai-chi, Japan for safety concerns. The export of Nuclear reactor technology will have much wider implications, specifically but not limited to its social, political and environmental effects.
We define the export of Nuclear Reactor technology as the export of Nuclear Reactor technology from a country to another for the purpose of establishing Nuclear power plants.
Opp)While the recent crisis in Japan is a tragedy, it must not cloud our jugment, and certainly not justify a witchhunt. Nuclear energy has emerged as a realistic alternative to at least partially replace fossil fuels. Without a clear and present threat, the international society has neither authority nor means to enforce a ban against many states' interest. The appropriate concerns must be raised and dealt with in individual states, not the international society.
Since the proposition did not provide a concrete definition for "the international ban", the opposition presumes the United Nations to be currently the most accurate representation of the international society and thus the subject of enforcement.
When nuclear technology is exported to different countries around the world, they will lack the technical knowledge of maintaining such sensitive installations. Even those countries who develop such technologies themselves have proven to be incapable of maintaining them, In the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster of 1986, thousands of people lost their lives due to dangerously high levels of radiations which spread throughout most of Europe, even though the plant was under the direct control of Russian authorities, they failed to maintain a level of safety.[[ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster ]]Recently, in Japan the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster was also a Level 7 Nuclear disaster which took place because of inadequate safety measures in the wake of a natural disaster. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_Daiichi_Nuclear_Power_Plant]]. Even countries that develop such technologies cannot be trusted to maintain adequate levels of safety. Hence it would be potentially disastrous to export such Nuclear Reactor technology to other countries that are incapable of safely handling it.
Moreover, resources starved countries like India will not dispose nuclear waste safely because of the costs associated with it. Even financially strong countries have been known to be involved in the improper disposal of nuclear waste, in the 1980s, an Italian organization was found dumping drums of nuclear waste in Somalia .[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioactive_waste_dumping_by_the_%27Ndrangheta]]
Especially in the context of global warming and population explosion, it is almost an inevitability that the usage of this should expand.
Not only has civil nuclear power improved in engineering and operational safety over its past 55 years of history with very few accidents, the major incidents mentioned by the Proposition—the only two that resulted in radiation exposure to the public—have proved as legacy, as in cars and airliners, to improve the original design[[http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf06.html]]. Such cases include advanced inherent or passive safety systems and provision to confine complications of fuel damage to the plant itself, which would have averted both accidents. The Chernobyl reactor’s design and safety features had apparent faults, which would never have been overlooked were it not in Soviet Union. The Fukushima incident also resulted from failure to update safety measures in old models. Man-made mistakes must not justify a senseless overreaction. Moreover, all EU and 7 non-EU countries with power plants agreed to conduct stress tests and undergo peer-review: another preventive step. Likewise, the IAEA is in the process of strengthening its mandates. Local organizations like World Association of Nuclear Operators conducts peer tests to improve safety as well. In the same vein, improper nuclear waste disposal infringes on international law. Italy’s case calls for stricter monitoring and is not an excuse for internationally banning exports of nuclear plant technology.
Will indirectly lead to the spread of Nuclear Weapons
North Korea started its nuclear program in the 1950s with the assistance of the United States, the aim was to set up Nuclear Powered energy plants, but over the course of the last few decades, it has employed the same knowledge of nuclear systems to make nuclear weapons. Hence when we transfer Nuclear Reactor technology, we are providing more and more counties a chance to develop Nuclear weapons which can easily be manufactured from materials and supplies which are available to those countries which have Nuclear Power plants. When it comes to the sovereignty of a state, it will be willing to take all measures necessary to protect its self, and the export of Nuclear reactor technology will give more countries the opportunity to use it as a tool to develop nuclear weapons, just like in the case of North Korea which withdrew from the Non-Proliferation treaty did, despite of the pressure it faces from the international community for its nuclear weapons program.[[ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Korea_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction#Nuclear_deterrence%5D%5D
Additional precautions can also be taken. Allowing exportation of nuclear technology doesn’t mean it will be done without any regulation. Restrictions such as only allowing countries that have signed the non-proliferation treaty and have agreed to a regular inspection by IAEA to partake in the exportation process will take care of the Proposition’s fear. In conclusion the risks the Proposition mentioned are either scientifically inaccurate or can be effectively curbed with international regulations.
We believe that the export of nuclear reactor technology results in an imbalanced economic and political dependence that is both harmful for the importer country and the global political climate
Although this situation is similar to the current status quo whereby oil exporting countries enjoy a similar amount of clout, incase of nuclear technlogy this dependancy would be much more acute and irreversable since the initial cost of a nuclear plant is mich higher and nuclear plants unlike those using fossil fuels cannot be converted to use other forms of energy
As for the concern regarding oligopolization of nuclear technology, this is not something to be worried about. Unlike oil, where natural geographic limitations centralize control, technology, even nuclear reactor technology, is open to developed and developing countries in the long run. Contrary to the affirmative's point, already there were actually six countries exporting the technology in 2009, including the US, Russia, China, France, Japan and S. Korea, [[http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/business/2009/12/27/34/0501000000AEN20091227001800320F.HTML]] and is continuing to expand into countries like India. As with any technology goes, not every nation will be producing this technology, but it can be expected that nuclear reactor technology will not be exclusive and will expand parallel to the growth of the industry.
Drastically increased threat of Nuclear terrorism
Regardless of what team opposition will have you believe, not only can governments employ the same technology and materials used in nuclear power generation to produce “dirty bombs”, this proliferation will also significantly increase the risk of terrorist organizations being able to take possession of such crude nuclear weapons because by exporting Nuclear reactor technology, such crude weapons will be made available to a large number of countries.
Moreover, the nuclear power stations themselves are potential targets for terrorist attacks, such an attack could have catastrophic consequences[[http://www.psr.org/chapters/oregon/assets/pdfs/nuclear-power-and-the-terrorist-threat.pdf]]. By allowing the export of nuclear technology, such a threat will only be exacerbated because most developing countries will lack the recourses and expertise required to maintain satisfactory levels of security but if countries develop such technology in time, themselves, this will ensure that sufficient recourses and expertise are arranged/allocated which is something we as proposition strongly believe in.
For terrorists, access to such installations (Nuclear power plants) is not as difficult as most might believe[[http://www.fas.org/irp/crs/RS21131.pdf]]. Pakistan came under intense pressure from the international community when a 17-hour siege of the country's most important naval head quarters raised questions about security of its nuclear program.[[ http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-05-23/pakistani-commandos-end-taliban-siege-of-karachi-navy-air-base.html%5D%5D Such a breach of security at a nuclear power plant in any country would have disastrous consequences.
Summing up, by supporting the export of Nuclear reactor technology we are actually allowing more developing countries to set up Nuclear power plants which they may not be able to secure adequately, hence not only threatening the well-being of people in the country but also the whole region.
First, certain level of security and management systems will be a prerequisite for the exportation.
Second, if anything the exportations will provide better security and management systems. 1, in the current energy race countries don’t have time. As soon as they have the technology to BUILD a nuclear plant they will go ahead without waiting for adequate security measures to be established. 2, even if they do develop security measures, the Opposition is very skeptical as to the effectiveness of a security system in a country where its most important naval base comes under seize. The very example the Proposition has given us proves the need for exportation of reactor technology and the entailing security systems. 3, the Proposition is failing to consider the process of BUILDING a plant. Such transition period is a much easier time for the terrorists to seize or sabotage the process as these novice countries lack both the know-how and management of such know-how.
Third, regarding the dirty bomb. 1, the main threat of dirty bomb comes from the conventional explosive not the radioactive material. According to test explosion done by US Department of Energy, even in the extreme condition that nothing is done to clean up the affected area and everyone stays in the affected area for one year the radiation exposure does not reach fatal standards. 2, radioactive material used for a dirty bomb doesn’t come from guarded plants but research labs, construction sites and medical facilities(even X-ray pictures require the use of radioactive materials). 3, exportation will increase the importing country’s security and management regarding radioactive materials as explained above
Leads to exploitation of developing countries
This might seem improbable to some, but it has been going on from a long time now, The United States is mounting diplomatic pressure on even developing countries to slash carbon and greenhouse gas emissions. The only way for them to do so is to purchase Nuclear power systems from countries like the US on a higher price.
Environment is not the only factor that is being used by countries like the United States to sell more Nuclear power systems. The United States is also declares certain countries “incapable” of managing their own Nuclear power plants and is offering such countries to buy this technology or face diplomatic pressure.
The United States is working on a Nuclear Power project itself in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, but has pressurized neighboring Iran to give up its nuclear program just because they think it’s not safe enough just because Iran developed the program itself.[[ http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123862439816779973.html%5D%5D
In ways similar to these countries like the United States are pressurizing the developing world to purchase nuclear technology from them, against their own will by threatening to sideline them if they initiate their own nuclear program. Nuclear Technology is far too expensive for most developing nations to afford in the first place and thus it is criminal on part of the UN to allow countries like the US to exploit their position. By banning the export of nuclear reactor technology, we are restricting this from happening and hence allowing countries to develop nuclear programs at their own pace and
Regarding the affirmative's example of Iran, this case is irrelevant as there was admittedly controversy regarding the high possibility of arms development under the guise of energy development. Which was further unverifiable and understandably distressing to the international community. This is another problem of the self-development plan the affirmative suggests. Bans will likely put nuclear development in a shade, if anything, only increasing the very safety issue the affirmative itself has mentioned. An open and safely regulated trade of the technology would bring development and exchange into light, setting standards, and establishing guidelines in which could be properly headed by the IAEA.
Also to reemphasize, the monopoly the affirmative suggests will never last nor is it necessarily a bad thing.
Team proposition on the other hand pointed out the significant drawbacks of such export of nuclear reactor technology. Not only did we highlight the fact that countries may be incapable of handling these sensitive systems but also about the increased threat of nuclear terrorism, posing a threat to regional security. We also underscored the fact that this will indirectly lead to the spread of nuclear weapons resulting in a nuclear arms race, we pointed out how supplier countries will use this as a political tool and how it will lead to the exploitation of importer countries. The opposition clearly failed to engage with these issues are kept presenting a one-sided view of the whole issue.
On grounds that team proposition established the need for such an action, highlighted the real concerns about this practice under the status quo, substantiated all claims and provided solid refutations to the arguments presented by the worthy opposition, this case clearly belongs with team Pakistan.
Freedom and Sovereignty
Even if the proposition believes otherwise, individual states are to make that judgment, not the UN. Sovereignty of a state comes from its citizens; and that of the UN, its member states. The UN shall not represent individual states’ people; only states shall judge whether their citizens are in danger. As many countries are interested in usage of nuclear energy[[www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf102.html]], the UN should not block them.
The situation is more complex since the trade involves private corporations. As in case of the US and the UK[[www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf41_US_nuclear_power_policy.html, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_the_United_Kingdom]], nuclear reactors are often constructed and managed by corporations, despite various government regulations. The trade of technology therefore is often not a diplomatic pact but commercial business. A state shall decide whether to restrict that individual freedom, not the UN. A democratic state cannot interrupt that business unless it poses a clear harm to the public welfare, which is not the case here—how does the UN get to do so? Note that a state also has duty to protect the individual freedom—to defy the ban.
Thus the opposition’s argument about how civilian nuclear power is a "domestic" matter is opposite to how the international community understands this matter and the UN's official position on it. Furthermore the NPT was created so that countries could develop civilian nuclear programs without the proliferation of nuclear weapons technology or know how, the NPT however, has failed to do this. North Korea's case is an excellent example whereby it imported nuclear technology from other countries under the NPT for a civilian nuclear withdrew from the NPT and became a declared nuclear weapon state. Moreover the oppositions own statistics say that 10 out of the 30 countries that have nuclear programs have developed nuclear weapons, up from the original 5 NPT nuclear weapons states, shows that the only 5 countries that had reason for the development of nuclear weapons were able to develop them.
Even setting aside the question of authority, the UN has struggled with serious enforcement issues. North Korea voluntarily walked out of NPT and developed nuclear bomb. It imported technology right under the UN’s eyes, yet retribution has been trivial. A series of economic sanctions[[UN resolution 1695, 1718, 1874]] and six-party talks[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six-party_talks]] failed to denuclearize North Korea, since China and Russia did not fully cooperate. UN presents a bigger problem at dealing with global warming. The Stockholm (1972) and Rio (1992) Declaration were non-binding. Kyoto protocol was a joke, with all countries busy pursuing individual interests. China was exempted, and the US took it as a chance to back off.[[http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/scientists-say-kyoto-protocol-is-outdated-failure-397801.html]] Copenhagen was frustration for everybody. It is evident that the UN is not only incapable of enforcing the ban but also pre-occupied—or should be pre-occupied—with more dire issues.
The UN should not impose a ban that will undoubtedly fail. Mediocre attempts of enforcement will not only exhaust its capital, time, and endeavor which should be used for more urgent matters, but also devitalize its morale. It will further blemish the authority of UN that is already fragile in dealing with global warming.
Contrary to what team opposition would have you believe, the UN does have the ability and authority to enforce these measures .Before the opposition claims incompetence on part of the UN we would urge them to understand that the primary purpose of the UN is to uphold global peace and that it only uses force in cases where this is threatened, and although the environment, which is where team opposition draw almost all of their examples from ,an important issue the Undoes not use force in such matters. Such matters cannot command the kind of focus that a potential nuclear threat would. Thus the parallels of incompetence drawn by team opposition are completely irrelevant.
In cases where the security of the whole community was threatened the UN has repeatedly shown that it has the ability and the will to take action: the UN has placed strict sanctions on Iran[[http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6205295.stm]] and North Korea [[http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-30/obama-widens-sanctions-against-north-korea-in-bid-to-cut-off-nuclear-funds.html]] which stands testament to the UN’s commitment to dealing with issues of Nuclear threats. In the example of North Korea given by team opposition, the only reason the UN hasn’t taken military action is because North Korea has repeatedly shown the willingness to diplomatically resolve the issue. Furthermore North Korea in using the NPT to acquire Nuclear weapons know-how has vindicated our stance on how the NPT has failed to do its part[[http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/features/npt-fails/]], and thus the spread of Nuclear technology that was allowed under it should be banned.
Nuclear energy is a crucial alternative energy source that is too valuable to be restricted.
Nuclear energy may well be the only possible candidate that produces anything nearly as close to what fossil fuel sources do now while being committed to significantly reducing carbon emissions. [[http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2006/02/05/INGRBH0HFH1.DTL]] Currently the third largest source, nuclear energy supplies about a sixth of all electricity generation in the world, only slightly less than hydro power. [[http://www.ieer.org/ensec/no-1/glbnrg.html]] Nuclear power plants are far more gross-land efficient than both fossil-fuel plants and hydro-electric plants and have much potential to expand throughout the world. Moreover, experts predict that nuclear energy will be a sustainable source for 30,000-60,000 years. It is also expected that energy security will be considerably reliable considering the widely available 16million metric tons of uranium. [[http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-long-will-global-uranium-deposits-last]]
While being the only feasible large-scale alternative to fossil-fuels, nuclear energy is also an excellent method in curbing carbon emissions. In the US, nuclear energy provided about a fifth of all produced electricity, saving 700 million metric tons of CO2 emissions yearly, an amount that matches the amount from all US passenger car exhaust. [[http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=wq.essay&essay_id=204363]].
As a source with such potential, limiting expansion is simply putting a choke-hold on our future.
At team proposition, we believe Nuclear energy has a wide scope for future development, but we also strongly believe in the allowing nuclear technology to grow in a responsible and sustainable manner. By banning its export we are allowing countries to develop this technology themselves in a much more sustainable and safer manner. At the same time, it is imperative that other alternatives to Fossil fuel powered plants must not be ignored.
Countries that are unable to develop nuclear power systems themselves should progress towards other alternatives, solar, wind, geothermal and tidal power plants are much more safer than nuclear power plants when it comes to their maintenance in developing countries. Using other technologies is much cheaper and unlike Nuclear power plants in developing countries, they do not pose a threat to regional security. Again it is essential to clarify that we support development of Nuclear power plants by countries themselves but we strongly oppose the import and export of such sensitive systems.
Hence as a responsible proposition we encourage the use of alternative energy sources in the greater good of the international community, purely as an alternative for countries who cannot develop such technology themselves.
Being the only realistic alternative to fossil fuel energy, expansion of the technology must be available through trade.
While team affirmative contradicts itself by having stated strict standards impair development then suggesting nations should develop such technologies for themselves, team opposition recognizes that first, many nations do not have the power to develop the technology for themselves or to develop the technology fast enough to allow for a gradual and safe transition into alternative energy sources. Many developing nations must depend on the trade of such technologies for it to either be available to them or open possibilities of market entry the way economies such as South Korea have done with IT industries. In other words, trade allows for underdeveloped countries, where the technology is unavailable domestically, to access such technology. As for developing countries, a cheaper domestic alternative can be developed based on versions present in the market both dropping prices in the international market and increasing energy security, but as history shows, this only works as well as it can if the technology is readily available on the market.
Secondly, team affirmative have introduced a counter argument regarding what we have disproved directly before. Again, we have stressed that alternative sources like solar or wind energy alone will not satisfy global energy demand. Even in the case that these technologies are developed enough in certain countries, they will be strictly geographically limited. Because of this inherent factor, such alternative energy sources will neither be universally applicable nor reliable. Therefore, such factors enforce the necessity of keeping nuclear technology available through trade.
Furthermore team opposition fails to realize that it is nuclear technology we are debating on. They fail to even notice the great security threat it poses to the region when one power plant in one incapable, under developed country falls short on security measures and cripples the economy of the region, in addition to a potentially colossal loss of life. We at team proposition realize the importance of even the life of one individual, who may lose his/her life just because of the incapability of the state. As we explained time and again, under developed countries lack the resources and expertise to maintain and secure such imported nuclear power plants, if they did have these resources and expertise, they would initiate their nuclear program themselves and hence the threat to their security cannot be ignored.
Just because it seems nuclear power can replace the use of fossil fuels does not mean that the threat to global security be ignored. According to statistics, 43% of nuclear power plants in the US failed in countering mock security threats. What would happen if we transfer this technology to countries in Asia and Africa that are completely incapable of dealing with even minor security issues? At team proposition we cannot ignore this threat.
Response to rebuttal)Strawman fallacies
As for feasibility, the proposition provides wrong facts. 1, No force for environment as it doesn’t harm global peace: unbalance of carbon emission among countries and consequent “unfair” transmission has caused significant conflicts, not to mention long term disaster. 2, sanctions on Iran and North Korea: the status quo speaks for itself. Whether they were strict do not matter; and certainly whether the proposition believes sanctions to be strict is irrelevant to this debate. 3, Lack of military action due to North Korea’s attitude: the only reason is that China and Russia don’t want it. Similarly we argued many members of the Security Council will block any substantial ban, yet the proposition failed to respond. Ultimately, the proposition is silent to priority. It didn’t show why controlling civilian nuclear usage, which at maximum has faint link, is more important than widely acknowledged global w
As explained earlier, when it comes to the sovereignty of a state, it will employ all methods necessary to safe guard itself, even if it involves breaking international agreements by using materials from nuclear reactors to make (nuclear) “dirty bombs”. Instead of going into the chemistry of things, team opposition must realize this threat that exists, even under the status quo; countries are reluctant to supply such materials to countries which they deem “suspicious”. The threat of initiating a nuclear weapons program under cover by using supplies and knowledge from those used in nuclear power systems cannot be ignored. Even if a single country is able to make a nuclear weapon just because of this cover, it will impair the balance of power in the whole region and will lead to a nuclear arms race, having a domino effect as more and more countries will follow this path.
South Korea Summary
In this debate, the proposition alleged what the UN should do. It stated that the UN should respond to safety concern; that it should suppress an indirect if not poorly related step for nuclear armament; that it should tell what’s bad for a country and act for that country to avoid what it perceives to be mistakes. The opposition showed the UN mustn’t act on assumptions. When it’s clear that many states want expansion of nuclear energy, when no consensus has arrived on its suppression, the UN should not launch a lonely crusade that it does not have right to initiate.
The proposition nevertheless tells what UN should do, reiterating nuclear threat and abuse of political leverage. However the proposition never rebutted to scientific facts that distinguish civilian and military use of nuclear power. The proposition never responded to the choices importing countries do have and willingly make. Simply there is no reason to believe the necessity of a universal, complete and strict ban. More importantly, the proposition never responds to question of sovereignty itself. Situational necessity, which is even false, doesn’t prove presence of predominant consent in various states.
Questionable legitimacy is the last thing the UN wants when burdened with so much more urgent matters that it hasn’t even begun to solve. The UN must succeed on solving present problems to gain support and authority it desperately needs for future, when we may even try to solve nuclear matter altogether.
The proposition again lists what UN does—all IAEA regulations and sanctions. However the proposition never established a foundation to show how export of civilian nuclear technology should be regarded as essentially the same matter. The list only strengthens our case by showing that those broad regulations that require minimal monitoring on civilian usage and economic sanctions that don’t even work are the only means the UN can wield; that the UN even failed to enforce those means and certainly is not able to exert stronger enforcement.
Nuclear energy is the only present alternative to fossil fuels. Dangling on still uneconomic alternatives or undergoing trial-and-error to develop own nuclear technology will not only cost more money but miserably fail to prepare already lagging nations in the new energy crisis.
With clear benefits of export and lack of the UN’s authority, we’re proud to oppose.