Nuclear renaissance is a term coined to describe the introduction of nuclear power programmes in countries, mostly developing and emerging nations, that have not utilised nuclear power for energy generation up to now. In this study a framework for assessing the capabilities of these countries to introduce and sustain nuclear programmes has been developed: the Critical Powers Index. It consists of three separate indices of which the first one, the Preparedness Index, has been adapted from the International Atomic Energy Agency-s Milestone Approach, which deals with legislative and regulatory issues. The other two indices, the Sustainability Index and the Emergency Preparedness Index, take into account factors pertaining to infrastructural and economic development as well as disasters preparedness and stability to allow a holistic analysis of a country-s capabilities. Representative for developed countries that already utilise nuclear power for energy generation, Japan has been chosen for evaluation. Sudan-s analysis has been conducted as a proxy for all developing and emerging countries that are part of the global nuclear renaissance. Results show that less developed countries will be faced with considerable problems pertaining to their general development and are thus recommended to postpone the introduction of a nuclear power programme until these issues have been addressed. Furthermore, it has also become evident that sufficient emergency preparedness is a challenge even for affluent and developed countries like Japan. The Critical Powers Index shows that the introduction of a nuclear power programme needs a holistic approach that not only takes issues directly related to the programme into consideration but also the general level of the country-s development. It is thus recommended that the introductory period of 15 years is extended and the IAEA Milestone Approach reviewed and amended.