Global Nexus Initiative to innovate on policy

13 August 2015

A two-year initiative announced by the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) and the Partnership for Global Security (PGS) aims to encourage international policy experts to work together to find ways to address climate change, nuclear energy and global security challenges. 

The Global Nexus Initiative (GNI) aims to explore the links between these challenges through a working group of 17 multidisciplinary policy experts from the non-governmental, academic and private sectors in Denmark, France, Japan, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates and the USA. The group will convene for a series of meetings and workshops, through which it aims to produce policy memoranda identifying the challenges and offering recommendations. These will feed into a cumulative report at the end of the project.

According to the GNI, international policymakers are struggling to find solutions that simultaneously maintain growth, meet energy demand, and mitigate the risks of climate change. Developing countries need to meet their energy needs, it says, but new production must be as clean, affordable, and safe as possible. Meanwhile, concerns about energy security and greenhouse gas emissions are prompting more countries to pursue the development of low-carbon energy sources, with nuclear power and renewable energy set to play an increasing role in global electricity production.

"If nuclear power is going to be a significant contributor to successfully addressing climate change, how do we manage the expansion of nuclear facilities and materials, including their spread to new, less stable regions, in a way that maximizes safety and security and builds international confidence?" the GNI asks.

Climate change, energy security and global security are all issues that cut across national borders, have significant economic and social impacts, and require input from the full spectrum of stakeholders. This means policies must be coordinated at national, regional and global levels.

The GNI's objective is to create a transparent and productive process to generate "realistic and actionable" policy recommendations. "The final report will reflect workshop outcomes and the viewpoints of the Working Group members, not artificial consensus or ideological preconceptions," it says on its website.

NEI senior director of fuel cycle and technology policy, Everett Redmond, said that if nuclear power is to be a significant contributor to successfully addressing the threat of climate change, it must be managed in a way that builds international confidence. The GNI "will send a powerful message about the need to develop creative and innovative solutions to ensure the safe and secure use of existing and new nuclear energy sources to support economic vitality and protect people and the environment," he said.

PGS president Kenneth Luongo, a former senior advisor on non-proliferation policy to the US Secretary of Energy, said the GNI represented a "new level of real world collaboration between non-traditional partners" to address complex global challenges. "These aren't issues that can wait. We need experienced people, thinking through credible solutions today," he said.

PGS is a US-based non-partisan, non-profit organization focused on strengthening global nuclear governance and promoting polices to ensure the security of all nuclear materials and facilities. Originally incorporated as the Russian-American Nuclear Security Advisory Council, it has since broadened its focus from its initial remit of working to ensure the elimination of Soviet nuclear and biological stockpiles, to addressing emerging global security challenges.

The GNI's first workshop, with the title "Role of nuclear power in a carbon constrained world: benefits and constraints", is scheduled to take place in Washington DC in September.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News