Debategraph: Nuclear politics - where next?

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The Independent Online

Humanity’s existential struggle to contain the threat of nuclear weapons and to exploit nuclear energy safely is approaching a defining moment.

Demand for civil nuclear power has intensified in response to climate change concerns and promising new civil nuclear technologies are starting to emerge. But substantive progress on nuclear disarmament has stalled since the end of the Cold War, the risk of nuclear terrorism is increasing, and the international stand-off with Iran threatens to undermine the nuclear non-proliferation framework.

The next two months are likely to shape international nuclear policy for the next decade, with: the U.S. and Russian negotiation teams edging towards a follow-on agreement to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty; 44 heads of state due to gather at President Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in April to develop a plan to secure loose nuclear materials, stop smuggling and forestall nuclear terrorism; and the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons—which opens in May at the UN General Assembly Hall in New York—aiming to revivify the nuclear non-proliferation framework.

The policy challenges involved are complex and daunting: and during this period we will be using Debategraph to follow and draw out the nuances of the international debate, in an interactive, visual form to which all are welcome to contribute.

As before, the structure of the interactive map above is like a wiki – every aspect is provisional, and open to further iterative improvement – and everyone one can add new points to the map.

The aim across the next couple of months will be to articulate all of the salient issues, positions and arguments in a single, coherent and transparent structure – in which each idea and argument is expressed just once – so that anyone can explore the subject quickly and gauge the relative strength of the different arguments and policy options.

You can move around the map by clicking on the spheres: clicking on the smaller spheres takes you deeper into an argument, clicking on the largest sphere takes you back up.

To contribute to the map (and to view the underlying details for each point) click here or on the “+ button” below the map.

To rate the different ideas, click on the arrows that connect the spheres – you will be asked to log in first time (to stop people voting for the same idea multiple times). The thickness of the arrows changes to signal which ideas are perceived to be stronger (thicker) and weaker (thinner); with the map becoming a visual, multi-dimensional poll of the community’s perception of the issues.

As with the other maps in the series you can you can keep up to date with developments on this map via the Independent Minds blog and @TheIndyDebate on Twitter. And you are welcome to embed the map on your own website or blog (like a Google map) using the code shown below:

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