“And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.” Revelation 6:4
While the world keeps a watchful eye on the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea, the rest of Asia is increasingly looking to nuclear technology for its energy needs. Instability in the Middle East along with a growing number of political realignments could accelerate Asia’s move toward nuclear technology.
Asia has been experiencing tremendous growth economically. With this growth comes an increased demand for reliable energy sources. The most reliable energy source for any nation is one that lies within its control. Nuclear power has gained increased acceptance among many nations of Asia for this reason. Almost 70 percent of the reactors being constructed in the world today are in Asia. (1)
South Korea relies on its nuclear reactors for about 40 percent of its energy production. (2) Japan gets a third of its energy from its nuclear power plants. (3) Taiwan obtains 9 percent of its energy from nuclear power. (4) China has struggled to get nuclear power plants online, using nuclear technology for less than 5 percent of its energy needs. (5) However, China has plans to build forty nuclear power reactors by 2020. China is a rapidly developing country that is quickly emerging as Asia’s major power broker. China’s flourishing economy is fueling its rush to form geo-political alliances in the Eastern Hemisphere. At the heart of these alliances, is China’s growing need for energy and political clout.
Economically, the United States is concerned with China’s growth. According to the Commerce Department, America’s trade deficit with China was $201 billion in 2005, which is 28% of America’s total deficit of $726 billion. (6) The United States is also concerned with China’s growing influence in Asian politics. In the past, America’s strongest alliances in Asia were driven by military security. Today, energy security is driving the geo-political alignments in Asia. China and America are actively competing for regional domination.
India and China have been competitors for foreign investors and both have experienced a rapid increase in their economies. The United States is committed to helping India build nuclear reactors to meet their increased energy demands. The President and Congress have worked on granting special waivers to India that would allow American assistance even though India maintains a stockpile of nuclear weapons and has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1970. (7) Pakistan, India’s historical nemesis, has struggled to get the United States to give it equal access to American nuclear technology but without success. Although Pakistan is a nominal partner in the War on Terror, there are many radical Islamic factions in Pakistan that are a constant threat that country’s stability. So Pakistan has taken on another energy partner. China will provide assistance to Pakistan in building six nuclear power plants. (8) It is believed that Pakistan is already building a large plutonium production reactor that could produce dozens of nuclear fission bombs within a year. (9) Given their mutual hostility, it is likely that a nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan is inevitable.
There are many problems associated with the development of nuclear power. Nuclear materials can be weaponized if they fall into the wrong hands. Nuclear waste can be weaponized if it falls into the wrong hands. And Chernobyl has taught the world that nuclear accidents can occur with deadly consequences.
Rogue nations like North Korea and Iran are already testing international resolve as they openly seek nuclear weaponry. Nations that have a history of violence could soon possess enormous power. The world may pay a heavy price for energy security.
1.http://www.physorg.com/news71500294.html, accessed 7/16/06; lgf
2.http://www.physorg.com/news71500294.html, accessed 7/16/06; lgf
3.http://www.physorg.com/news71500294.html, accessed 7/16/06; lgf
4.http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/taiwan.html; accessed 07/16/06; lgf
5.http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/china.html, accessed 07/16/06; lgf
china-japan-deficit-in_cd_0215soapbox_inl.html, accessed 2/118,2006;lgf
7.http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=34120, accessed 07/30/06; lgf
8.http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/7598_1754882,000500020000.htm, accessed 7/29/06;lgf
9.http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=34120, accessed 07/30/06; lgf