Normalization by Other Means: The Failed Techno-diplomacy of Light Water Reactor Export in the North Korean Nuclear Crisis
May 11, 2017
from 03:30 pm to 05:00 pm
|Where||CISAC Central Conference Room Encina Hall, 2nd Floor 616 Serra St Stanford, CA 94305|
|Contact Name||Catherine McMillan|
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[STANFORD, CA] The Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University will host a talk by Christopher Lawrence of Harvard University to discuss the history of North Korea's pursuit of light water reactors and such pursuit informed its diplomacy.
In 1992, North Korea offered to dismantle its plutonium-production reactors in exchange for more “proliferation-resistant” light water reactors (LWRs) from the West, and this offer culminated in the 1994 Agreed Framework with the United States. After the Agreed Framework collapsed in 2002, North Korean negotiators continued to insist that LWRs were a prerequisite for relinquishing its nuclear weapons capabilities. Why has the regime placed such importance on this particular form of energy generation? I examine the history of North Korea’s pursuit of LWR technology, and the shifting role that pursuit played in its diplomacy. A technically informed look at the LWR fuel cycle reveals a network of technical dependence that can draw nations into enduring modes of collective action. At times, and with varying degrees of awareness, actors on all sides of the North Korean nuclear crisis sought to leverage these unique aspects of LWR technology, hoping to lay a path for North Korea to vacate its isolation. This overlooked history offers important lessons for nonproliferation thought and policy.
Open to the public. No RSVP required
Chris Lawrence is a Research Fellow with the Program on Science, Technology and Society in Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He is trained in nuclear physics and engineering, and is generally interested in the role of knowledge in arms control and disarmament. He was previously Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University.