Nuclear Capabilities in Southeast Asia

Michael S. Malley, Tanya Ogilvie-White

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam recently announced that they are launching nuclear energy programs, and Malaysia and the Philippines soon may follow suit. As a result, by 2020, at least three states in Southeast Asia could possess latent nuclear capabilities—the option to pursue military applications of dual-use nuclear technology. Analysis of the nuclear programs, domestic proliferation pressures, and the external threat environment in Southeast Asia leads the authors to conclude that the nuclear intentions of states in that region are entirely peaceful and the probability of future nuclear breakout there is low. However, this finding does not justify complacency. In the long term, the benign outlook for regional security may change, and in the near term weak regulatory regimes present serious challenges to nuclear safety and create opportunities that non-state actors may exploit. To minimize these risks, the authors recommend creating a "proliferation firewall" around the region, which would combine strong global support for Southeast Asian nuclear energy programs with innovative regional multilateral nuclear arrangements.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)25-45
    JournalNonproliferation Review
    Volume16
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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