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date: 08 February 2023

Nuclear Proliferation: The Next Wave in 2020locked

Nuclear Proliferation: The Next Wave in 2020locked

  • Rupal N. MehtaRupal N. MehtaDepartment of Political Science, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  •  and Rachel Elizabeth WhitlarkRachel Elizabeth WhitlarkSam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology

Summary

What will nuclear proliferation look like in the future? While the quest for nuclear weapons has largely quieted after the turn of the 21st century, states are still interested in acquiring nuclear technology. Nuclear latency, an earlier step on the proliferation pathway, and here defined as operational uranium enrichment or plutonium reprocessing capability, is increasingly likely to be the next phase of proliferation concern. The drivers of nuclear latency, namely security factors, including rivalries with neighboring adversaries and the existence of alliances, are especially consequential in an increasingly challenging geopolitical environment. Though poised to play a significant role in international politics moving forward, latency remains a core area of exploration and subject of debate within the nuclear weapons literature writ large. While in many ways similar to nuclear weapons’ proliferation, the pursuit of nuclear latency has distinct features that merit further attention from scholars and policymakers alike.

Subjects

  • History and Politics
  • Quantitative Political Methodology
  • World Politics

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