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Negating Non-proliferation? The Potential Sino-South Challenge to Nuclear Market Regulation


Developing industrial-scale nuclear energy projects requires substantial technical expertise, access to complex fuel supply chains and long-term financial capital. For developing countries investing in civil nuclear energy programmes, securing external support is crucial. However, the nuclear technology trade market is heavily regulated and rather thin. Exporter states must balance commercial opportunity with security interests, given nuclear technology’s dual use. Because of this, incumbent exporters bear responsibility in crafting and enforcing market regulations. As highlighted by the budding Chinese-Argentinian relationship, newly capable market entrants, particularly the People’s Republic of China (PRC), have the potential to challenge international non-proliferation norms by fulfilling market demand where other, predominately Western, states have demurred. The strength of nuclear markets’ non-proliferation-oriented regulatory structures hinges on nascent relationships between entrepreneurial exporters and participating Global South states.
Keywords: nuclear markets; nuclear non-proliferation; China; Argentina; Global South