Nuclear Energy Proliferation; Lessons For The Third World Nations, 1945-2006

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Nuclear Energy Proliferation; Lessons For The Third World Nations, 1945-2006


The proliferation of nuclear energy is a phenomenon of the 21st century and apparently, the most pernicious issue in modern international relations. As nations jostle for atomic devices, the international system is threatened by the fear of nuclear holocaust. Therefore, the need to underscore the relationship between the “nuclear haves” and the “nuclear have nots”, becomes imperative. Moreover, the nuclear proliferation saga is overblown and the general public is ill-informed of the intricacies of nuclear politics as well as the games nations play in this regard. This study is poised to unravel and highlight these issues in consonance with the realities of the international system in the 21st century and draw attention to the implications of this phenomenon to the Third World countries of the world.

Table of Contents

  • Pages
  • Title Page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgments
  • Table of Contents
  • Abstract

Chapter One:


  • 1.1 Background to the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of Problem
  • 1.3 Purpose of Study
  • 1.4 Significance of Study
  • 1.5 Scope and Limitations of Study
  • 1.6 Method, Sources and Organization of Study
  • 1.7 Theoretical Framework
  • 1.8 Literature Review
  • End Notes

Chapter Two:

Development of Nuclear Energy.

  • 2.1 Modern Nuclear Technology
  • 2.2 Early Trait of Nuclear Technology
  • 2.3 The Uses of Nuclear Energy
  • 2.4 The Spread of Nuclear Energy
  • End Notes

Chapter Three:

Nuclear Energy and Its Proliferation

  • 3.1 The Nuclear Powers and Nuclear Energy Proliferation
  • 3.2 Military Imbalance between the Developed and the Developing Nations
  • 3.3 Threat of Nuclear Proliferation to World Peace
  • End Notes

Chapter Four:

Nuclear Control

  • 4.1 The International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A) 57
  • 4.2 The Politics of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
  • 4.3 The Position of Third World Nations
  • 4.4 Lessons of Nuclear Energy Proliferation for the Third World countries
  • End Notes

Chapter Five:

Recommendations and Conclusion

  • 5.1 Recommendations
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • Bibliography

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Besides the many discoveries of Science and technology in the 20th Century, nuclear energy seems to be one of the few inventions which have more direct impact on people’s lives and the society at large. The innovation is profitable in several civilian uses. It is the safest, cleanest, cheapest and most efficient energy source, but the danger lies in its use for the manufacture of bombs and other destructive weapons.

Ironically, some nations acquire nuclear energy for military advantage in an uncertain international system. Thus, as governments seek to survive as viable entities in the conflict prone International system, the desperate bid for nuclear energy becomes inevitable. However, the military, as one of the major determinants of national power, is only a reflection of other components of a state’s existence.1

In spite of measures taken by the international community to forestall the development and the diffusion of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear energy proliferation has become the hallmark of global discourse since the end of Second World War. It is widely accepted that the United States bombardment of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, 1945, ushered in the most destructive epoch in the development of nuclear technology in the globe.2

However, the ideological rift between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) exacerbated the proliferation of nuclear devices. Five powers, namely, the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China are considered to be the major “nuclear haves’. Nonetheless, the new generation of nuclear powers, known as the “Phantom Proliferators”, adds a new phase to the spread of nuclear energy around the world. The “phantom proliferators” include India, Pakistan, North Korea, Iran and to a lesser degree, Argentina and Brazil. In all, over 31 nations have acquired nuclear reactors in the world.

The dynamics of global politics has left the international system in a dilemma, arising from the antics of the “nuclear haves” and the “nuclear have nots”. Traditionally, the most advanced nations are referred to as the “nuclear haves”, while the Third World nations represent the “nuclear have nots”. The nuclear tests by India, Pakistan and North Korea are strong indications that some Third World nations have already acquired the capacity for Uranium enrichment and could be close to having a bomb in the basement.

1.2 Statement of Problem

No comparison is intended between energy resources, and thus no conclusion is reached as to which option is more preferable or best. Indeed, it would not be prudent to exclude any one of them. Accordingly, the point of singling nuclear energy out is just to underline the current drive of states for nuclear energy, and why this is the case. Drastic increases in the energy needs of states force decision-makers to choose an economically viable and sustainable resource option, which brings huge output and also is cost-effective. Authorities, unlike other citizens, perceive that they are under the pressure of time in making decisions owing to the estimated short, medium, and long-term economic status of their countries.5 That said, options are mainly the renewable energy resources, carbon sequestration, increased energy efficiency, and nuclear energy.

1.3 Purpose of Study

The purpose of the study is as follows

  1. To evaluate the non-proliferation measures and the ideas behind them.
  2. To examine the importance of nuclear energy proliferation.
  3. To examine the development and expansion of commercial nuclear energy.

1.4 Significance of Study

This study will examine nuclear energy proliferation: lessons for the third world nations, hence the study will be significant to the Nigerian government as it will be exposed to the need of developing nuclear energy.

The study will be of benefit to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature.

1.5 Scope and Limitations of Study

The study will evaluate the non-proliferation measures and the ideas behind them. The study will also examine the importance of nuclear energy proliferation. Lastly the study will examine the development and expansion of commercial nuclear energy. The study is delimited to Nigeria.

For the researcher.

This study was constrained by a number of factors which are as follows:

  1. Just like any other research, ranging from unavailability of needed accurate materials on the topic under study,
  2. Inability to get data
  3. Financial constraint , was faced by the researcher ,in getting relevant materials and in printing and collation of questionnaires
  4. Time Factor: Time factor pose another constraint since having to shuttle between writing of the research and also engaging in other academic work making it uneasy

1.6 Method, Sources and Organization of Study

To achieve the purpose of this research. The study is divided into five inter-connected chapters, ranging from chapter one to five. In this chapter one the researcher has been able to give an introduction to the work, state the problem that necessitate this study, outline the questions this work seek to answer as well as the objectives it hopes to achieve. The scope and limitations of this study were outlined as well as the methodology that was used for the study. Chapter two deals with Modern Nuclear Technology, Early Trait of Nuclear Technology, The Uses of Nuclear Energy etc. Chapter three discuss the The Nuclear Powers and Nuclear Energy Proliferation, Military Imbalance between the Developed andthe Developing Nations etc. Chapter four delves into the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A) , The Politics of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT, etc. ,while chapter five deals with the summary, recommendations and conclusion.

1.7 Theoretical Framework.

Kinetic Molecular Theory

Kinetic energy is energy that an object has because of its motion. The Kinetic MolecularTheory explains the forces between molecules and the energy that they possess. This theory is basedon three theories about matter.

  1. Matter is composed of small particles (atoms, molecules, and ions).
  2. The space the molecules occupy (volume) depends on the space between the molecules and not thespace the molecules occupy themselves.
  3. The molecules are in constant motion. This motion is different for each of the three states ofmatter. They are colliding with each other and the walls of their container. When the moleculescollide with each other, or with the walls of a container, there is no significant loss of energy.

Absolute zero is the temperature used to describe when all movement is as slow as it can possibly be.

Temperature is the term used to explain how hot or cold an object is. Temperature is theaverage kinetic energy of particles in the substance. Water molecules at 0º C. lave lower kinetic energy than water at 100º C. Mass, Volume, and Density Mass is the measure of the heaviness of a substance, usually is weighed in grams. The characteristics of atoms in the material determine the mass. The more tightly packed they are, the greater the mass; and the larger the atomic number, or the atomic mass, the greater the mass of the substance. Hydrogen, number 2 on the periodic chart, has an atomic mass of 4, because it has 2 protons and 2 neutrons in its nucleus. Gold has an atomic mass of 197, so each atom is much heavier. Mass is often referred to as weight. To distinguish between mass and weight, think of a lump of gold both here and on the moon. It would have the same mass in both places, but would weigh less on the moon because its gravity is about 1/6 of Earth’s. The volume of a substance is the three-dimensional space it occupies. It is measured in cubic centimeters or millimeters. One cubic centimeter equals 1 millimeter. When scientists set up the metric system, they set those quantities up that way to make science easier. Density is the ratio of mass to volume. To determine the density of a substance, divide its mass by its volume. Water has a density of about 1, and objects that sink in water, such as steel, have a higher density. In contrast, steel’s density is about 8(Carson,1993).

1.8 Literature Review

The spread of weapons to potential adversaries has long been a concern of states, and measures have been taken to prevent this. The news as we speak is full of the word “proliferation” and war is impending between the United States and Iraq over the acquisition of “weapons of mass destruction” – WMD – by Iraq in contravention of the UN Security Council resolutions dating from the 1991 Gulf War. Iraq was found to possess chemical and biological weapons and to have an aggressive and widespread program for the acquisition of nuclear weapons. All of these were forbidden to Iraq by the UN Security Council. “WMD” is a misnomer, since chemical weapons in general are far less effective, per kilogram, than BW or nuclear weapons. But we seem to be stuck with the term. The consequences of use by terrorist groups of BW or nuclear weapons are detailed in a number of current publications; including some of my own posted at Some of these are also available in print form, as in the September 2002 article “The Technology of Megaterror.”(Alfred,2001) In particular, the detonation of a nuclear explosive of yield 10,000 tons of TNT (10 kt) in a densely occupied part of Manhattan during the working day could kill 200,000 to a million people. Even a 1 kt weapon would subject almost one-quarter of the area to the same lethal overpressure, and be an unparalleled catastrophe. BW can be simply infectious as is in large part the case with anthrax, or contagious, as with measles or smallpox. A contagious BW agent such as smallpox has the potential of killing tens of millions or more, and it is fortunate that in this case there happens to be a sufficient number of doses of smallpox vaccine available to protect most Americans. Yet the epidemic would surely spread to the rest of the world, and must be prevented there too. Our current topic is the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and that in particular is advanced by the Bush Administration as the primary reason for war with Iraq, although the purpose is sometimes cast as “regime change” in order to avoid the possession of WMD by Iraq. The Bush Administration also objects to the sale by Russia to Iran of one to five nuclear reactors, despite the arguments by Russian officials that Iran would in any case acquire nuclear reactors, and the Russiansupplied power plants would use fuel which would be returned to Russia after being used in the reactor to produce electrical energy.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

In this study, our focus was to examine the nuclear energy proliferation: lessons for the third world nations, 1945-2006 . The study specifically was aimed at highlightingthe non-proliferation measures and the ideas behind them. The study also, examine the importance of nuclear energy proliferation. Lastly, the study examine the development and expansion of commercial nuclear energy.

5.2 Conclusion

Based on the finding of this study, the following conclusions were made:

A careful review of the historical evidence suggests that the links between nuclear energy and nuclear weapons proliferation are overstated. Although nuclear energy programs make it technically easier for states to develop nuclear weapons, they make it substantially more difficult politically, as proliferators with energy programs are more vulnerable to intelligence collection efforts and nonproliferation pressures. This suggests that the spread of nuclear energy can be managed and will not inevitably lead to greater proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Nevertheless, because these political obstacles are largely the result of effective policy countermeasures, officials in the United States and elsewhere should remain vigilant and committed to nonproliferation if they hope for these trends to persist.

5.3 Recommendation

  1. It is recommended that the Agency’s advice on nuclear energy proliferation will be sought increasingly..
  2. That if a country is to introduce nuclear power, Competence in the construction and erection industries and in operational and maintenance capabilities is a basic requirement.

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