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Elina Brutschin and Jessica Jewell

The use of nuclear power has been driven by the motivation to meet growing electricity demand while avoiding dependence on imported fossil fuels and constrained by capacities to launch nuclear energy programmes. The chapter argues that tension between the two is a defining feature of the international political economy of nuclear energy. On the one hand, nuclear technology promises energy security and industrial modernisation. On the other hand, launching nuclear programmes can plunge countries into three forms of international dependence: on imported uranium, on production and disposal of nuclear fuel, and on the uneven capacities to manufacture nuclear reactors and construct nuclear power plants. The authors argue that international cooperation and competition profoundly shape how states deploy, expand and phase out their nuclear power programmes and brings together diverse international aspects of nuclear power which may increasingly shape the future of nuclear energy.