The purpose of this presentation is to indicate possible ways in which nuclear power plant (NPP) projects and possibly related nuclear fuel cycle facilities (should there be any) could be subverted to hide and clandestinely support nuclear weapons development programs. The discussion here is generic in nature; however, special applicability to the newly emerging nuclear programs in the Middle East is noted. The speaker's purpose is not to provide a ‘cookbook' for would-be proliferators on how to utilize NPP projects to support clandestine weapons development programs, but rather to provide indication to the nonproliferation-minded as to what to look for and guard against when a number of new NPP projects are initiated within a short time frame in a region with limited past nuclear experience as a direct response to the Iranian quest for ‘nuclear power'. This is not to imply that there are nefarious intents behind the sudden desire to acquire nuclear power capabilities by several countries that are mostly well endowed with oil and natural gas resources. My intent here is rather to provide a general assessment on how such NPP projects might be utilized, should their national owners decide to do so in situations of "supreme national interest', as a guise for clandestine nuclear weapons programs.
Chaim Braun is a CISAC consulting professor specializing in issues related to nuclear power economics and fuel supply, and nuclear nonproliferation. At CISAC, Braun pioneered the concept of proliferation rings dealing with the implications of the A.Q. Khan nuclear technology smuggling ring, the concept of the Energy Security Initiative (ESI), and the re-evaluation of nuclear fuel supply assurance measures, including nuclear fuel lease and take-back.
Braun, currently, is working on an analysis of new nuclear power plant prospects in the Middle East, and the potential for nuclear proliferation from prospective nuclear plants in industrializing countries. He also works on extensions of nuclear fuel supply assurance concepts to regional fuel enrichment plants operated on a ‘black box' mode, particularly as applied to the South Asian, Central Asian and South American regions.
Previously, Braun worked at CISAC on a study of safeguarding the Agreed Framework in North Korea, was the co-leader of a NATO Study of Terrorist Threats to Nuclear Power Plants, led CISAC's Summer Study on Terrorist Threats to Research Reactors and, most recently, chaired a working group on the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle, as a part of a CISAC summer study on Nuclear Power Expansion and Nonproliferation Implications.
Braun is a member of the World Nuclear Association (WNA) committees on Nuclear Economics and Assured Fuel Supplies. He is a permanent lecturer at the World Nuclear University's (WNU) One-Week Courses. Braun was a member of the Near-Term Deployment and the Economic Cross-Cut Working Groups of the Department of Energy (DOE) Generation IV Roadmap study. He conducted several nuclear economics-related studies for the DOE Nuclear Energy Office, the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), the Non-Proliferation Trust International, and other organizations.
Before joining CISAC, Braun worked as a member of Bechtel Power Corporation's Nuclear Management Group, and led studies on power plant performance and economics used to support maintenance services. He also managed nuclear marketing in East Asia and Eastern Europe. Prior to that, Braun worked at United Engineers and Constructors (UE&C), EPRI and Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL).