Weapons, oil prices driving worldwide atom ambitions
Join the Nuclear Club, get a nuclear club
A crush of developing nations trying to gatecrash the nuclear power club has prompted fears of a subsequent race to develop nuclear weapons.
The UN nuke regulator, the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA), says that it has recently been approached by 40 countries, all expressing an interest in nuclear power. According to an article in today's Washington Post, at least six of these confirmed specifically that they would commence enrichment or reprocessing of nuclear fuel, causing raised eyebrows at the IAEA's Vienna headquarters.
Nuclear power programmes involving enrichment or reprocessing have the potential to be weapons efforts, as well as producing fuel for electricity generation. A country is much less likely to be suspected of immediate aspirations toward nuclear armament if it is willing to import manufactured fuel elements from overseas. The ability to enrich or reprocess, by contrast, offers the potential to produce weapons-grade material.
"We are concerned that some countries are moving down the nuclear [weapons] path in reaction to the Iranians," an unnamed US official told the Post.
It appears that oil and gas-rich Arab states in the Gulf region view the current, active Iranian enrichment programme with concern. The mostly Sunni Arab governments don't want to see their Persian Shi'ite rivals emerge as the sole nuclear power in the Gulf.
US intelligence recently assessed that the Iranian weapons programme - whose existence had always been denied - was shut down five years ago, but enrichment activities continue in the underground bunker complex at Natanz. It's also been suggested by the US and Israel that Iran's ally Syria was engaged on a secret weapons programme at its Al Kibar plant, lately destroyed in a mysterious Israeli bombing raid.
The Post reports that Kuwait, Bahrain and the UAE are all moving forward with nuclear programmes, despite substantial reserves of fossil fuel. Bahrain and the UAE have said that they don't want enrichment or reprocessing facilities, but anti-nuclear campaigners are sceptical, noting that these could be added later.
Mohammed ElBaradei, head of the IAEA, sees the current fad for reactors as a sort of preliminary arms race in advance of any arms, with Gulf nations taking up a position where they could move towards nuclear weapons if required without a decades-long runup.
"You don't really even need to have a nuclear weapon," he said at a recent conference. "It's enough to buy yourself an insurance policy by developing the capability."
Other nations, more widely scattered, may well be applying for IAEA assistance due to the present sky-high prices of fossil fuels. Under international treaty, a country willing to foreswear weapons development is entitled to technical help in starting a power programme. This can include enrichment activities, though in fact there is usually serious reluctance by many established nuclear states to help on this front.
It's even thought that oil countries might see nuclear electricity as a paying proposition, as oil burned to make electricity at home doesn't make them as much money as it would if sold at high prices to Western customers.
"Why would these Gulf states want to go nuclear? Because they know their oil will only become more valuable as global demand increases," said the IAEA's Alan McDonald.
"It may be more cost-effective to sell oil to Americans driving SUVs than to burn it domestically." ®
things from oil
Whilst the "plastic for your Coke bottle" is indeed a valid product derived from oil, let us not forget more significant products that cannot be made in any way other than by using fractions of naturally occuring hydrocarbon deposits:
Almost all pharmaceuticals (check the ingredients), many popular pain killers, road surfaces and synthetic rubber, water resistant wallpaper, lightweight enclosures (for white goods, computers, etc etc), fertilizer, pesticides, fuels (obviously) and candles, nylon .... No amount of uNclear power will ever provide those materials, except possibly on a temporary basis as matter realigns itself within the infernos of all out global uNclear war.
In schools for decades, chemistry has been split into two main topics, organic (that which has carbon in it) and inorganic (the other half).
Welkome to the 250,000 year or 8,350 generation resultant pollution problem that has yet to be resolved successfully or to put in another way some 568 square miles of closed and uninhabitable state land with the same time frame in a place called Hanford , Washington State , in the land of the paranoid and very insecure wangs armed with 5,000 "Oppenheimer's Toys"
Sting summed it up neatly in his song "The Russians" thus :
How can I save my little boy from Oppenheimer's deadly toy
There is no monopoly in common sense
On either side of the political fence
We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
Believe me when I say to you
There is no historical precedent
To put the words in the mouth of the President
There's no such thing as a winnable war
It's a lie that we don't believe anymore
Oh well it's time to go back to dodging those pesky cars and bikes whilst crossing the road on a pedestrian crossing with a green walk sign !
Although I believe the law of averages estimates to the ripe old age of 79.2 years old , I have one chance in seven of dying from any type of cancer and a one chance in eighty of being killed by a car (1.2 million killed annually with 20 million injured at least and we take this deadly weapon for granted but quantified by "Smeed's Law").
Some things can be more fatal then being afraid of that which is totally hypothetical claptrap as expressed daily for self interest reasons only when you look behind the tissue thin surface veneer by our mostly drunk on the job politicians with their heads stuffed in the pig feeding trough with greedy sticky hands held for more then they are legally entitled too and is not self evident in real life in a real world , numbers are such nice play toys are they not ?
Every one plays the numbers game !
almost forgot about this