2 January 2017

Safety first: The future of nuclear energy outside the United States

Michael May

Michael May is professor emeritus in the School of Engineering at Stanford University and director emeritus of LLNL. This article is adapted from “New Nuclear Weapons Concepts: Strategic and...


Nuclear energy, hydroelectric power, and renewables are all needed to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, and the 10 largest emitters of greenhouse gasses all plan to use nuclear power in some way to deal with the climate crisis. In some countries it will be an essential part of low-carbon electricity; in others it will contribute only marginally. While Asian countries plan to have a growing reliance on nuclear power, European nations expect it to play a diminishing but still necessary role. Yet, although each country has different plans and faces different obstacles, the main requirement for carrying out nuclear plans will be the establishment of a cooperative safety culture agreed to by as many nations as possible.