Twenty-five years after the Chernobyl explosion, disaster struck once again after a tsunami overwhelmed the considerable safety measures at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. However, Fukushima had in place a solid containment structure to reduce the spread of radiation in the event of a worst-case scenario; Chernobyl did not. These two incidents highlight the importance of such safety measures, which were critically lacking in an entire class of Soviet-designed reactors.
This book examines why five countries operating these dangerous reactors first signed international agreements to close them within a few years, then instead delayed for almost two decades. It looks at how political decision makers weighed the enormous short-term costs of closing those reactors against the long-term benefits of compliance, and how the political instability that dominated post-Communist transitions impacted their choices. The book questions the efficacy of Western governments’ efforts to convince their Eastern counterparts of the dangers they faced, and establishes a causal relationship between political stability and compliance behavior. This model will also enable more effective assistance policies in similar situations of political change where decision makers face considerable short-term costs to gain greater future rewards.
This book provides a valuable resource for postgraduate students, academics and policy makers in the fields of nuclear safety, international agreements, and democratization.
Table of Contents
1. Political rules and nuclear safety 2. Ukraine’s uneasy past and uncertain future 3. Armenia at the crossroads 4. Lithuania reluctant but resolved to obey 5. Bulgaria, what a strange trip it has been 6. Overcoming Slovakia’s Meciar problem 7. Delaying disaster
Spencer Barrett Meredith, III has worked in the field of international relations as a professor and practitioner for more than a decade, teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as serving as a Fulbright Scholar in the Caucasus and a guest lecturer for the US Department of State in South and East Asia. He is currently an Associate Professor at the College of International Security Affairs in the US National Defense University.