The Council on Strategic Risks is pleased to announce the launch of the Commission on Nuclear Energy and Climate Security (CNECS), with a view to restoring U.S. leadership in civilian nuclear technology to meet energy, climate, and national security needs for the 21st century.
Given the climate crisis and increasing global tensions around energy markets, this mission is both urgent and timely. Many countries around the world are looking to nuclear energy to help them reach their ambitious reduction goals for carbon emissions, expanding beyond the power generation sector to decarbonizing other industrial processes.
Consequently, the U.S. faces a historic opportunity to re-engage with its partners around the world and exercise global leadership on nuclear energy to promote the highest standards of nuclear safety, nuclear security, nuclear nonproliferation and climate security.1 A failure to seize this unique moment would continue to cede influence to other nations whose interests and standards may not coincide with our own. We cannot be strong abroad if we are weak at home.
The Commission will work with the U.S. government, the private sector, and civil society to encourage the investment of significant resources toward reviving our domestic nuclear industry and position as a supplier of nuclear fuel and technology.
 In this effort, we define nuclear safety to include matters of reactor design, construction, operations, and environmental protection; security to include facility protection, supply chain stability, etc; and nonproliferation goals to include technology-sharing, compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty, IAEA safeguards, and other international norms, as well as the effective control of fissile materials.
The Commission is co-chaired by former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Sherri Goodman and former Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman and is comprised of U.S. leaders across key sectors including climate change, nuclear energy, defense and national security, organized labor, and foreign policy, including the following members:
- Dr. Rita Baranwal, Chief Technology Officer and Senior VP of Digital and Innovation, at Westinghouse
- Ms. Kathleen Barrón, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Constellation
- The Honorable Dan Brouillette, former Secretary of Energy
- The Honorable Paula Dobriansky, former Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs
- Ms. Susan Eisenhower, The Eisenhower Group, Inc.
- The Honorable Sherri Goodman, Co-chair, former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense*
- The Honorable Rose Gottemoeller, Steven C. Házy Lecturer, Stanford University*
- The Honorable Chuck Hagel, Former Secretary of Defense
- The Honorable John Hamre, former Deputy Secretary of Defense
- The Honorable Shirley Jackson, former Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
- Dr. Marcus King, Professor at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service*
- Representative Elaine Luria, former U.S. representative from Virginia’s 2nd congressional district
- Mr. Sean McGarvey, President of North America’s Building Trades Unions
- The Honorable Bob Perciasepe, former Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- The Honorable Dan Poneman, Co-chair, former Deputy Secretary of Energy*
- Admiral John Richardson, USN (Ret.), 31st Chief of Naval Operations
*Also serve as CSR board members.
CSR Background Materials, 2017–2023
Briefer No. 12, “Connecting Nuclear and Climate Policy in the Biden Administration,” November 2020
Briefer No. 11, “Brazil: A Climate, Nuclear and Security Hotspot,” October 2020
Briefer No. 9, “Converging Risks in South Asia: Is a Disruptive Transition on the Horizon?,” July 2020
Briefer No. 8, “Climate and Nuclear Security in the South China Sea: The Cases of Indonesia and the Philippines,” June 2020
Briefer No. 7, “Nuclear Energy Developments, Climate Change and Security in Turkey,” April 2020
Briefer No. 6, “Climate Risks to India’s Nuclear Program,” March 2020
Briefer No. 5, “Climate Risks to India’s Internal Security,” March 2020
Briefer No. 4, “Climate Change and the India-Pakistan Rivalry,” January 2020
Briefer No. 3, “Converging Risks in Nigeria: Nuclear Energy Plans, Climate Fragility, and Security Trends,” August 2019
Report, Working Group on Climate, Nuclear, and Security Affairs – “Nuclear Energy Developments, Climate Change, and Security in Egypt,” May 2019
Briefer No. 2, Working Group on Climate, Nuclear and Security Affairs – “Increasing Concern over Climate and Security Trends in Nuclear Weapon Capable States,” March 2019
Working Group on Climate, Nuclear and Security Affairs – “Report Two: A Clear Path for Complex Threats,” May 2018
Working Group on Climate, Nuclear and Security Affairs – “Breakout Briefer: Stability At Stake: Addressing Critical Regions Facing Complex Climate, Security, And Nuclear Risks,” May 2018
Working Group on Climate, Nuclear and Security Affairs – “Breakout Briefer: Expanding The Climate-Nuclear-Security Toolkit,” May 2018
Working Group on Climate, Nuclear, and Security Affairs – “Report One: A Framework for Understanding and Managing the Intersection of Climate Change, Security and Nuclear Affairs,” November 2017
Working Group on Climate, Nuclear and Security Affairs – “A Note on Climate, Nuclear, and Security Affairs,” May 2017
Center for Climate and Security Briefer No 29: “The Climate-Nuclear-Security-Nexus: A Collision Course or a Road to New Opportunities?,” May 2017
CSR posed questions about Russia’s climate, nuclear, and security intersections to four experts with different perspectives. Their responses highlight the range of analysis regarding Russia’s growing influence amidst a changing global order.
CSR posed a series of questions about the Arctic region to four leading national security experts with different perspectives in a recent video interview below. Together, their diverse answers may help us to better understand the complex linkages across climate change, Arctic sea melt and new sea routes, prospects for conflict, competition, and cooperation within the global order, and new risks associated with nuclear weapons.
CSR posed questions about the impact of climate change on conflict and nuclear proliferation to five leading national security experts with different perspectives. Together, their diverse answers may help us to better understand the complex linkages across climate change, domestic, regional, and global conflict, the effect of nuclear energy on carbon emissions, future trends in nuclear proliferation, prospects for cooperation within the global nuclear order, and the potential for conflict escalation and nuclear war.
On The Verge Podcast
Dr. Sweta Chakraborty speaks with South Asia experts (and participants in CSR’s Working Group on Climate, Nuclear, and Security Affairs) Elizabeth Threlkeld of the Stimson Center and Neil Bhatiya of the Center for a New American Security. They discuss nuclear weapons, climate security issues, the effects of natural disasters on the Pakistani population and government, and much more.
Episode 2: China with Rear Admiral Leendert “Len” Hering Sr., USN (Ret) and Christine Parthemore (September 10, 2019)
In this episode, host Dr. Sweta Chakraborty speaks with national security experts (and members of CSR’s Working Group on Climate, Nuclear, and Security Affairs) Rear Admiral Len Hering Sr., USN (Ret), a member of the Center for Climate and Security’s Advisory Board, and Christine Parthemore, director of CSR’s Center on Strategic Weapons.
Many consider the United Arab Emirates a nascent nuclear energy success story in a largely oil dependent and politically strained Middle East. In this episode, host Dr. Sweta Chakraborty speaks to nuclear experts Joyce Connery, a Board Member and former Chairman of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (joining the podcast in her personal capacity), and Seth Grae, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Lightbridge. Connery and Grae (both members of CSR’s Working Group on Climate, Nuclear, and Security Affairs) delve into the UAE’s nuclear energy progression, global governance mechanisms, and the U.S. role in the shifting international nuclear power market.
This episode focuses on effectively communicating climate and nuclear issues. It can be difficult to effectively translate complex risks like climate and nuclear security issues to the global community. In this episode, host Dr. Sweta Chakraborty speaks to Dr. Benjamin Santer, an atmospheric scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Matt Korda, a Research Associate for the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists. Santer and Korda, members of CSR’s Working Group on Climate, Nuclear, and Security Affairs, discuss the challenges they face in their respective fields and how communications could be improved.
This episode focuses on climate, nuclear, and security dynamics in Iran and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia and Iran are geopolitical rivals that have been at the forefront of global security discourse for the last several years. In this episode, host Dr. Sweta Chakraborty speaks to David Michel, a Senior Research Fellow with the Center for Climate and Security and a Research Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, and Christine Parthemore, CEO of the Council on Strategic Risks.