Topic Guide: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Nuclear power has been a contentious and controversial topic. It has the ability to produce electricity with zero carbon emissions, and therefore it is considered as a solution to the global energy problem. However, it also entails several risks, including weapons development, meltdown, and hazards of its waste products.
Topic 1: The Viability of Alternative Nuclear Reactors
Until now, the most common resource for generating nuclear power was uranium. However, scientists have found an alternative means: thorium. Thorium has several potential advantages over uranium, including much greater abundance on earth, superior physical and nuclear fuel properties, reduced nuclear waste, and lack of potential for being used as a weapon. However, there are several disadvantages as well compared to uranium, including significantly high start-up costs and the development of breeder reactors (nuclear reactors capable of generating more fissile material than it consumes). Since 2008, nuclear energy experts have become more interested in thorium over uranium to generate nuclear power. There are projects already going on by several developed and developing nations regarding it. There have been a number of scientific conferences regarding the matter as well.
The job of this committee is to determine if thorium is a good alternative to replace uranium as a generator of nuclear power. Once this has been debated, ways of encouraging nations of different economic, geographic, and political situations to cooperate as well as policies regarding nuclear power need to be discussed.
International nuclear disarmament safeguards are a concern for rival countries if a state develops a nuclear weapon. This has been a critical factor in the creation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). There also have been recent conflicts between countries that develop nuclear powers, weaponized or not, and other threatened states, including Iran having gone under pressure for its nuclear power source, and North Korea developing its own nuclear weapons.
Despite the small number of states that do possess weaponized nuclear capabilities, it is still the general interest of the international community that nuclear capabilities should not be proliferated, and thus occurred the NPT. However, with the current situation of state relations, some states would not feel comfortable disarming themselves from nuclear capabilities. Depending on the political situation, there are many ways to disarm nuclear capabilities. Mainly, there are two methods: forced and reciprocity. Forced disarmament means a state or group of states compels another state or group of states by threats or sanctions. On the other hand, reciprocity disarmament means that a state or group of states disarm their nuclear capabilities as a mutual cooperation with other states in the non-proliferation process. Both methods will be discussed in committee. Whichever is safe, however, is a matter to be discussed.
The goal of this committee is to discuss and determine how countries can disarm their nuclear facilities in a way that is safe, monitored, and efficient. After that, based on the political situation, the committee must find a way to convince other countries to disarm their capabilities based on safeguards.
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