The connection between nuclear power and nuclear weapons

 

Two connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons

Dot Sulock, OPINION
8 hours ago

Nuclear fission can produce heat to boil water, produce steam, turn a turbine and make electricity. Nuclear fission occurs when a neutron splits an atom into smaller atoms, releasing extra neutrons. These extra neutrons, under the right circumstances, can split other nearby atoms, causing a chain reaction to occur. This process is controlled in a nuclear reactor and the heat released from fission boils the water instead of boiling the water by burning coal or natural gas. The fission process is better for the atmosphere than burning fossil fuels.

Using nuclear fission to produce electricity has a few problems that won’t be discussed today: Chance of catastrophic accident, risk of terrorist attack on a reactor, risk of attack on a reactor in war, heavy need for water for cooling, high costs, and waste disposal issues connected to the long-lived, lethally radioactive waste produced during the fission process.

Today I want to point out that exporting nuclear power to other parts of the world may make money for America’s nuclear corporations, but is a bad idea if we are seeking a sustainable world. The reason exporting nuclear power is a bad idea is that nuclear power is always connected to nuclear weapons in two ways.

First is the input connection. The isotopes that fission in ordinary reactors are U-235. U-235 has three less neutrons than U-238 and it fissions, whereas U-238 does not fission. Uranium in the ground is more than 99 percent U-238 and less than 1 percent U-235. But ordinary reactors need about 5 percent U-235 in their fuel to make the fission go.

Something called “enrichment” is done producing reactor fuel. Enrichment increases the 1 percent U-235 in mined uranium to 5 percent U-235 reactor fuel. So far so good.

But here’s the bad news. If a nation keeps enriching, it can increase the percentage of U-235 to 80 percent or so and now the material will fission so quickly that it is an atomic bomb. The atomic bomb that we exploded over Hiroshima, Japan, had highly enriched uranium as its explosive material. So a nation that can enrich to reactor fuel levels can enrich to weapons grade.

The second connection between nuclear power and nuclear weapons is the output connection. The other fissile material that can be used for atomic bombs is plutonium. Plutonium doesn’t exist naturally. Plutonium is produced in nuclear reactors. When the reactor fuel no longer fissions well after several years, the spent fuel is removed and fresh fuel is put into the reactor. Each commercial nuclear reactor producing electricity has produced enough plutonium for about 45 atomic bombs every year. This plutonium is in the spent fuel of the reactor and can be removed from it. Removing the plutonium from the spent fuel is called “reprocessing.” Reprocessing must be done by robots because the spent fuel is deadly radioactive for humans. The atomic bomb that we exploded over Nagasaki, Japan, had plutonium as its explosive material.

So nuclear power doesn’t make clean, green electricity. Nuclear power is dangerous, expensive, and always connected to nuclear weapons. Why, then, do so many nations seek nuclear power? Perhaps because of the nuclear power/nuclear weapons connections. Right now the Nonproliferation Treaty prohibits the nations that belong to it from developing nuclear weapons if they don’t already have them. But if this treaty falls apart some time in the future, nations with nuclear technology already in place will be able to develop nuclear weapons quickly. And the treaty permits nations to withdraw from it, as North Korea has already done. So if a nation decides to use its “peaceful” nuclear technologies to develop nuclear weapons, it can withdraw from the Nonproliferation treaty.

In parting I would like to point out that the mission of the International Atomic Energy Agency should be changed. The IAEA promotes nuclear power around the world, which ultimately endangers human civilization. The mission of the IAEA needs to be changed.

Dorothy Sulock lives in Asheville.

The Nuclear House of Saud (Dan 7:7)

  

Nuclear Saudi Arabia: Rising ambitions of the House of Saud

Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen.

Get short URL Published time: May 29, 2015 10:51

Saudi Arabia’s seemingly ever-expanding ambitions threaten now to draw the region and the world
closer to the edge of a dangerous precipice as it seeks to buy out Pakistan’s nuclear power.

Just as Iran and the P5+1 are set to finalize a tentative nuclear deal by June’s end, offering the world a much-needed respite from talks of war and aggravated political tensions, Saudi Arabia is stretching its nuclear ambitions.

The most violent, reactionary and arguably most oppressive regime, in not just the region but the world, is now has ambitions to rise to a nuclear power. It is actually much worse than that – the very state which interpretation of Islam, Wahhabism, has inspired an entire generation of radical wannabe jihadists is vying for access to nuclear weapons.

If Iran’s alleged nuclear race was mainly the expression of western political posturing – even Mossad agreed that both Washington’s and Tel Aviv’s concerns have been largely over-hyped and over-played – Riyadh’s ambition is no laughing matter, especially when the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) leadership boasted a similar desire.

Although the kingdom has yet to officially verbalize its nuclear intentions, enough breadcrumbs have been left in the media to spell the writing on the wall. In true PR fashion, Saudi Arabia has planted a sufficient amount of stories on its “covert” nuclear program and military aspirations in the press to prove how serious its officials are about conditioning public opinion and driving the narrative.

The main axis of Riyadh’s campaign has been and will be to justify going nuclear on the basis that Iran stands a regional threat – however unfounded and ludicrous this logic may be, wars have been fought over less sophisticated allegations. We’re still looking for those weapons of mass destruction.

Beyond this clever media stunt, one truth remains – unless stopped Saudi Arabia will become the next world nuclear power, joining Israel (believed to possess nukes) in this potentially-apocalyptic arm race.

Rumors of a forthcoming Saudi nuclear race first surfaced in November 2013 in a report by Mark Urban for the BBC. The article read, “Saudi Arabia has invested in Pakistani nuclear weapons projects, and believes it could obtain atomic bombs at will, a variety of sources have told BBC Newsnight.”

If developing a nuclear arsenal remains a complicated and time consuming endeavor, notwithstanding the technological prowess that entails, leeching on another power’s capability – Pakistan in this case – could prove as simple as wiring money to an offshore account. What Saudi Arabia lacks, it will buy. There is literally nothing Al-Saud’s petrodollars cannot acquire: from political support to moral blank checks, the kingdom moves immune to all criticism and legal hindrance, cloaked under America’s exceptionalism.

After Western powers took so much pain in demonizing Iran and its leadership, painting the Islamic Republic as a devilish warmonger, a destroyer of world which only seeks to indoctrinate the Middle East, how will Washington and Europe’s capitals react to a nuclear Riyadh? They simply won’t!

Unlike Iran, Saudi Arabia remains a useful and ever so rich western ally, and therefore it will be allowed the means of its ambitions. Whatever rumors and reports are circulating today have long been known to the intelligence community. The US actually anticipated Riyadh’s move long before Iran’s own program became such a contentious matter.

For almost a decade now, the Saudis have more and more openly staked their claim, pushing their pawns across the chess game without bothering to cover their tracks.

In 2007, the US mission in Riyadh noted they were being asked questions by Pakistani diplomats about US knowledge of “Saudi-Pakistani nuclear cooperation.”  By 2012, Saudi officials went to the Times warning, “it would be completely unacceptable to have Iran with a nuclear capability and not the kingdom.”

From that point on, Riyadh has worked toward that goal, using Iran as both an excuse and an alibi.

Reportedly, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi defense minister and deputy crown prince, is currently visiting Pakistan to iron out the details of this covert nuclear deal. In hindsight, Yemen’s war proves a perfect and all too suspiciously timely distraction.

And though a Saudi Defense Ministry official dismissed in comments to CNN on May 19 that the kingdom intends to purchase Pakistan A-bombs, experts like Stephen Lendman, a veteran political analyst and acclaimed author are not biting.

Looking at developments in the region, Saudi Arabia’s nuclear aspirations are not a figment of the imagination, but rather an affirmation of the kingdom’s new hawkish stance vis a vis foreign policy. Unlike his predecessor, King Abdullah ibn Saud, King Salman ibn Saud is no longer waiting for Washington to call the shots – it is drawing its ally in.

If the last ‘missed’ meeting at Camp David is anything to go by, it appears rather evident that Salman’s snub was more than just a political play; it could prelude deeper ideological divergences, especially where foreign policy is concerned. Syria remains a sour point the kingdom has yet to get over.

Where it could not intervene militarily as it wished against Syrian President Bashar Assad, Saudi Arabia might seek to compensate vis a vis Iran by acquiring the weapon of all weapons.

In any case and whatever rationale Riyadh is following, a nuclear arm race in the Middle East can only end in more bloodshed and violence, especially when the IS army is planning its second expansionist wave.

Suspicious minds would even argue that Saudi Arabia’s nuclear timing oddly overlaps with IS’ allegations that it’s now “infinitely” closer to buying a nuclear weapon. In an article titled ‘The Perfect Storm’, in the latest issue of ISIS’ monthly English propaganda magazine, Dabiq, the terror group presents the idea that IS could purchase nuclear weapons from corrupt Pakistani officials, by way of militants in Islamic State’s affiliated Pakistani militia group.

Another Bush Lie: The Surge (Rev 13:18)

  

Jihad, the Failed ‘Surge,’ and the Abandonment of Iraq’s Non-Muslim Minorities

Don’t just blame Obama’s Iraq withdrawal. Even post-“Surge,” support for the slaughter of “infidels” was as strong as ever.

by Andrew G. Bostom
May 29, 2015 – 8:18 am

General Daniel P. Bolger’s Why We Lost — A General’s Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars is a sobering read. Bolger went from a one- to a three-star general in Iraq and then Afghanistan, and once commanded 20,000 troops in Baghdad. He served eight years in these war zones, between 2005 to 2013. Bolger characterized (on p. 256) the much ballyhooed 2007 Iraq “surge,” at its tactical conclusion, thusly:

The casualty and hostile attack rates went down in the fall of 2007, never again to rise to their previous heights, at least during the remaining years of the American campaign. But the fighting never stopped either. It lingered, a third of the previous rate, but that was no comfort to those who fell, killed or wounded, or to their families. Al-Qaeda in Iraq, unrepentant Sunni rejectionists, surly Sadrists [Shiite followers of Muqtada al-Sadr], and Iranian handlers all kept their pieces on the board. As long as the occupiers remained, there would be attacks. As long as Iraq was Iraq, violence remained part of the picture.

Gen. Bolger elaborated on these sentiments in a November 2014 op-ed, while exploding the standard mythical trope about how the alleged “decisively victorious” troop surge — with irony, repeatedly dubbed “fragile and reversible” by its putative architect, General Petraeus — was “squandered” by the Obama administration’s policies:

Here’s a legend that’s going around these days. In 2003, the United States invaded Iraq and toppled a dictator. We botched the follow-through, and a vicious insurgency erupted. Four years later, we surged in fresh troops, adopted improved counterinsurgency tactics and won the war. And then dithering American politicians squandered the gains. It’s a compelling story. But it’s just that — a story.

The surge in Iraq did not “win” anything. It bought time. It allowed us to kill some more bad guys and feel better about ourselves. But in the end, shackled to a corrupt, sectarian government in Baghdad and hobbled by our fellow Americans’ unwillingness to commit to a fight lasting decades, the surge just forestalled today’s stalemate. Like a handful of aspirin gobbled by a fevered patient, the surge cooled the symptoms. But the underlying disease didn’t go away. The remnants of al-Qaida in Iraq and the Sunni insurgents we battled for more than eight years simply re-emerged this year as the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

With sad predictability, one never sees General Bolger on Fox News, nor is it likely he will be advising any of the burgeoning group of Republican contestants for the 2016 presidential nomination. But there are a litany of even more important topics for discussion regarding the ongoing sectarian Iraq morass that are never broached by either Fox News or the Republican presidential hopefuls.
When President George W. Bush announced the “surge” in 2007, he maintained the overall objectives for this great expenditure of precious U.S. blood and treasure were to establish a “unified, democratic federal Iraq that can govern itself, defend itself, and sustain itself, and is an ally in the War on Terror.”

Any rational post-mortem indicates none of those goals were achieved, from either an Iraqi or U.S. perspective, even in the near term, let alone chronically. Before the surge wound down in June 2008 — but at the height of its alleged “success” — a March 2008 poll from Iraq found that 42% of Iraqis labeled attacks on U.S. forces acceptable, and only 4% believed that U.S. forces were responsible for the transient decline in violence.

The poll also indicated that 63% (total) maintained that the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq was actually worsening (26%), or had not improved (37%) the security situation.

In July 2008, both Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki and Iraqi National Security Advisor Muwaffaq Al-Rubaie sought a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops. As Gen. Bolger’s lucid account reminds us, the November 17, 2008 Bush administration “Agreement Between the United States and the Republic of Iraq on the Withdrawal of U.S. Forces from Iraq and the Organization of Their Activities During Their Temporary Presence in Iraq” made requisite the full U.S. withdrawal by December 31, 2011, and an interim removal of American units from city and village localities by June 20, 2009.

Furthermore, this same Bush administration-negotiated SOFA (status of forces agreement) with our “Iraqi allies,” per Article 27, paragraph 4 (“Iraqi land, sea and air shall not be used as a launching or transit point for attacks against other countries.”) prohibited the U.S. from attacking, for example, Iranian nuclear production facilities or improvised explosive device factories from Iraqi bases and airspace.

A cursory, incomplete tally of murderous sectarian Sunni-Shiite car bombings in Iraq for the four years after the surge — June 2008 through June 2012 – reveals at least 65 attacks leaving 2000 dead and two- to threefold that number injured, many seriously. More importantly, then Iraqi President Talabani attended an Orwellian counter-terrorism conference in Tehran (June 25–26, 2011), just six months before the withdrawal of U.S. forces.

Our Iraqi “ally” failed to object to the conference agitprop of their Iranian hosts “defining” the United States and Israel as the primary sources of global terrorism. Further:

In his meeting with Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, [Iran’s Supreme Theocrat Leader] Khamenei said that U.S. power in the Middle East had declined, and that this fact should be taken advantage of against the U.S. Talabani replied that the Iraqis were united in their opposition to the ongoing U.S. pres­ence in their country, and likewise asked for Iranian assistance.

On August 14, 2007, when the surging U.S. had 166,000 troops on the ground in Iraq — not the mere one-fifth (or one-tenth) residual numbers pined for by those who insist the failure to secure a 2011 status of forces agreement with the al-Maliki regime sealed the undoing of Iraq’s “stability” — 796 Yazidis were slaughtered and another 1562 wounded in one day during four gruesomely synchronized jihadist bombings. (See here and here, and here for U.S. Army confirmation of the death toll.) Veteran Middle East journalist Tom Gross provided this characterization of the events:

[T]wo tons of explosives detonated in four coordinated explosions in the northern Iraqi villages of Qahtaniya and Jazeera on August 14, 2007, the target was Iraq’s Yazidi ethnic and religious minority. 796 people died and over 1,500 were wounded as a fireball led to the collapse of mud and stone buildings on families trapped inside; many were then burned alive.

The endless critiques of Obama administration policy failures in Iraq last summer (see Krauthammer on Fox News; Hegseth in National Review Online) revealed a glaring lacuna in honest, self-critical discourse by omitting all discussion of the “mid-surge” Yazidi catastrophe. Such warped analyses were pathognomonic of a broader, much more disturbing ethical and intellectual travesty: ongoing attempts by mainstream conservatives to rationalize their uninformed, witless adherence to the utopian “(Bernard) Lewis doctrine”-inspired “Islamic democracy” fiasco in Iraq.

The successful post-World War II paradigm of neutralizing Japan’s bellicose, religio-political creed of Shintoism has been turned on its head with regard to Islam and the theocratic Islamic legal code Sharia, which is imbued with jihad and completely antithetical to modern human rights constructs.

Despite the proven, concrete success of the post-World War II reforms in Japan, past intellectual honesty on Shinto was replaced by craven, politically correct ignorance on Islam in Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead, as championed by a callow American pseudo-scholastic apologist for Islam’s Sharia, who evangelized for “Islamic Democracy,” Sharia-compliant Iraqi and Afghan constitutions were crafted (and of course extolled by this same “scholar,” here and here).

Born of willful ignorance about living Islamic doctrine and history, this deficient mindset begot a corollary dangerous absurdity: embrace of the Petraeus “COIN” theory, a see-no-jihad, see-no-Islam military strategy designed, perversely, to somehow “defeat” the ancient-cum-modern forces of global Islamic jihadism.

Antichrist’s Men Advance On Ramadi (Rev 13:18)

   
Shiite Fighters Advance on ISIS Millitants in Ramadi, Iraq

May 24, 2015 11:12 AM
Reuters

Shi’ite Muslim militiamen and Iraqi army forces launched a counter-offensive against the so-called Islamic State insurgents near Ramadi on Saturday, a militia spokesman said, aiming to reverse potentially devastating gains by the fake jihadi militants.

The fall of Ramadi, the Anbar provincial capital, to the so-called Islamic State on May 17 could be a shattering blow to Baghdad’s weak central government. The fake jihadis now control most of Anbar and could threaten the western approaches to Baghdad, or even surge south into Iraq’s Shi’ite heartland.

Anbar provincial council member Azzal Obaid said hundreds of Shi’ite fighters, who had assembled last week at the Habbaniya air base, moved into Khalidiya on Saturday and were nearing Siddiqiya and Madiq, towns in contested territory near Ramadi.

Two police officers later said that the pro-government forces, which they said included locally allied Sunni tribesmen, had advanced past those towns to within one kilometer of Husaiba al-Sharqiya, an ISIS-run town 7 kilometers (4 miles) east of the Ramadi city limits.

One officer said the Shi’ite-led forces exchanged fire with ISIS but there was no immediate word on casualties.

Jaffar Husseini, spokesman for Shi’ite paramilitary group Kataib Hezbollah, said more than 2,000 reinforcements had joined the pro-government advance and they had managed to secure Khalidiya and the road linking it to Habbaniya.

“Today will witness the launch of some tactical operations that pave the way to the eventual liberation of Ramadi,” he told Reuters by telephone.

At the same time, ISIS units have been pushing toward Fallujah to try to absorb more territory between it and Ramadi that would bring them closer to Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, around 80 km (50 miles) to the east.

ISIS has controlled Fallujah for more than a year.

Ramadi’s loss is the most serious setback for Iraqi forces in almost a year and has cast doubt on the effectiveness of the U.S. strategy of air strikes to help Baghdad roll back ISIS, which now holds a third each of Iraq and adjacent Syria.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, a Shi’ite, sent Shi’ite paramilitary groups out to Anbar to try to retake Ramadi despite the risk of inflaming tensions with the province’s aggrieved, predominantly Sunni population.

But he had little choice given the poor morale and cohesion within government security forces.

A U.N. spokesman said on Friday that some 55,000 people have fled Ramadi since it was stormed by ISIS earlier this month, with most taking refuge in other parts of Anbar, a vast desert province that borders on Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

In Syria, ISIS fighters raised their flag over an ancient citadel in the historic city of Palmyra, pictures posted online overnight by the group’s supporters showed.

The militants seized Palmyra, known as Tadmur in Arabic and strategically significant with nearby natural gas fields and roads leading southwest to Damascus, on Wednesday after days of heavy fighting with the Syrian army.

“Tadmur citadel under the control of the caliphate,” read a caption on one picture posted on social media sites. In another, a smiling fighter is shown carrying the group’s black flag and standing on one of the citadel’s walls.

It was not possible to verify the images’ authenticity.

U.S.-led coalition forces have conducted a further 22 air strikes on ISIS positions in Iraq and Syria since Friday, including near Ramadi and Palmyra, the U.S. military said.

Palmyra is home to a UNESCO World Heritage site, and Syria’s antiquities chief has said the insurgents would destroy its 2,000-year-old ruins, including well-preserved Roman temples, colonnades and a theater, if they took control of them. While hundreds of statues have been taken to safe locations, there are fears for larger monuments that cannot be moved.

The so-called Islamic State destroyed ancient monuments and antiquities they see as idolatrous in areas of Iraq they captured last year.

Supporters have also posted videos they say show the group’s fighters going room to room in government buildings in Palmyra searching for government troops and pulling down pictures of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his father.

Some activists have said more than 200 Syrian soldiers died in the battle for the city in the center of Syria.

Axis Of Evil? (Dan 8)

  

A dissident group says Iran and North Korea are forging nuclear ties

Reuters

JOHN IRISH, REUTERS
MAY 28, 2015, 3:29 AM 494 1

PARIS (Reuters) – An exiled Iranian opposition group said on Thursday a delegation of North Korean experts in nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles visited a military site near Tehran in April amid talks between world powers and Iran over its nuclear program.

The dissident National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) exposed Iran’s uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy water facility at Arak in 2002. But analysts say it has a mixed track record and a clear political agenda. Iran says allegations of nuclear bomb research are baseless and forged by its enemies.

Iran and six world powers are trying to meet a self-imposed June 30 deadline to reach a comprehensive deal, but issues remain including the monitoring and verification measures to ensure Iran could not pursue a clandestine nuclear weapons program.

Citing information from sources inside Iran, including within Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, the Paris-based NCRI said the seven person North Korean Defence Ministry team were in Iran for the last week of April. It was the third time in 2015 that North Koreans had been to Iran and a nine person delegation was due to return in June, it said.

“The delegates included nuclear experts, nuclear warhead experts and experts in various elements of ballistic missiles including guidance systems,” NCRI said.

There have previously been unconfirmed reports of ties between the two countries on ballistic missile cooperation, although nothing specific in the nuclear field.

The U.N. Panel of Experts that monitors compliance with sanctions on North Korea has reported in the past that Pyongyang and Tehran were regularly exchanging ballistic missile technology in violation of U.N. sanctions.

The NCRI said the North Korean delegation was taken secretly to the Imam Khomenei complex, a site controlled by the Defence Ministry, east of Tehran. It gave detailed accounts of locations and who the officials met.

It said the delegation dealt with the Centre for Research and Design of New Aerospace Technology, a unit of nuclear weaponization research and planning center called the Organisation of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND), which is under United States sanctions. NCRI said the unit researches and manufactures interior parts of nuclear warheads.

Reuters could not independently verify the allegations.

Tehran has shown no interest in giving up its drive to nuclear weapons. The weaponization program is continuing and they have not slowed down the process,” NCRI spokesman Shahin Gobadi said.

U.N. watchdog the IAEA, which for years has been investigating alleged nuclear arms research by Tehran, declined to comment. Iranian officials declined to comment. North Korean officials were not available for comment.

Several Western officials said they were not aware of a North Korean delegation traveling to Iran recently.

North Korean and Iranian officials meet regularly in general diplomatic activity, although on April 23, Kim Yong Nam, North Korea’s ceremonial head of state and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani held a rare meeting on the sidelines of the Asian-African summit in Jakarta.

(Additional reporting by Louis Charbonneau at the United Nations, Parisa Hafezi in Ankara and James Pearson in Seoul; Editing by Janet Lawrence)