To compete and thrive in the 21st century, democracies, and the United States in particular, must develop new national security and economic strategies that address the geopolitics of information. In the 20th century, market capitalist democracies geared infrastructure, energy, trade, and even social policy to protect and advance that era’s key source of power—manufacturing. In this century, democracies must better account for information geopolitics across all dimensions of domestic policy and national strategy.
Advanced nuclear reactors offer enormous promise as carbon-free solutions for a range of energy and development challenges due to their potentially lower cost, flexibility, and enhanced safety. To meaningfully influence climate change, these reactors will need to be widely deployed, including in countries without extensive nuclear experience and in designs using novel fuel cycles. And policymakers, regulators, and civil society will need to have confidence that these reactors are designed not only with safety and cost in mind but also with due consideration to whether terrorists, insiders, or even governments can sabotage a facility or acquire or divert nuclear material that could be used for weapons. Meeting these challenges requires more than a slogan of “proliferation resistance” and relates to security- and safeguards-by-design as well as fuel cycle characteristics. Reactors that incorporate security- and safeguards-by-design could become more attractive exports, maximizing economic and national security benefits for the United States.
Ambassador Laura S.H. Holgate served as U.S. Representative to the Vienna Office of the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency from July 11, 2016 to January 20, 2017. The United States Mission to International Organizations in Vienna works with seven major organizations of the United Nations system based in Vienna: the International Atomic Energy Agency; the UN Office on Drugs and Crime; the Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization; the UN Office of Outer Space Affairs; the Wassenaar Arrangement; the UN Commission on International Trade Law; and the UN Industrial Development Organization. In this role, Ambassador Holgate advanced President Barack Obama’s commitment to design and implement global approaches to reduce global threats and seize global opportunities in the areas of nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear security, verification of the Iran Deal, nuclear testing, counterterrorism, anti-corruption, drug policy, export control, and the Nuclear Suppliers Group. She also promoted gender balance in the staff and programming of the Vienna-based international organizations.