Keywords: fuel assurance, OLS regression, nuclear nonproliferation regime, nuclear power, proliferation, nuclear energy, electricity generation, nuclear reliance, sensitive technologies
Are sensitive technologies enablers of civil nuclear power? An empirical study
In order to better understand, quantitatively and objectively, the factors that have been associated with the extent to which a given state relies on nuclear energy to generate electricity (termed 'nuclear reliance' (NR)), regression analysis was applied to a set of 14 hypothesised independent variables having associated measures constructed from a database assembled for this purpose. That process led to a linear model with five independent variables that collectively predict NR with high confidence (p < 0.05, for all predictors) and acceptable goodness of fit (R² = 0.53). This basic linear model was then employed as a tool to analyse several more-or-less current topics related to proliferation. These include the historical effectiveness of the nonproliferation regime, as regards the spread of sensitive fuel-cycle technologies; the premise underlying (fuel) assurance programmes, as intended to ensure access to (insensitive) nuclear materials and technology, in return for forgoing development of sensitive technologies; and the persistent lack of recipient states willing to accept the bargain underlying assurance programmes.