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Sunday, 29 November, 2020

The Nuclear Power Feud

Date: 15 September, 2006

By: Chief

Image recent headline story in the paper read:

"A plant designed to make fuel for commercial nuclear power plants moved a step closer to construction Tuesday morning.

[ ... ]

"Officials have said the plant in Lea County could be ready to sell enriched uranium in 2009" (quoting from KOB-TV on line edition).

Whoa. Hold on a quick minute. Let me run you over with the last paragraph of that story one more time:

"Officials have said the plant in Lea County could be ready to sell enriched uranium in 2009" (quoting from KOB-TV on line edition).

Okay, the owner of the southeast New Mexico nuclear plant intends to get on line as soon as possible and then start selling enriched uranium sometime in the year 2009. Yay.

By the way, the owner of this plant being built is Louisiana Energy Services. The parent company is the Urenco Group which operates nuclear enrichment plants in Germany, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Urenco is a foreign owned company headquartered in the U.K.

Indeed, quoting from Urenco website:

"Company structure

"Urenco is an independent, global energy and technology group with production from plants in Germany, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom. These plants use Urenco's own centrifuge technology.

"Urenco's focus is on providing safe, cost effective and reliable uranium enrichment services for civil power generation within a framework of high environmental, social and corporate responsibility standards. Our goal is to further increase our worldwide market share while maintaining high profitability. We aim to become the leading supplier in the extended global enrichment market."

At least you know where the company stands, I'll grant you that.

But wait, aren't we, as in the U.S. federal government, the U.N. and some European countries complaining, moaning and threatening another country for building a nuclear plant that could produce enriched uranium just like the owner of the Lea County, New Mexico plant intends to do? Why yes, yes indeed they are.

What is fascinating is the mere fact that it is the U.S., the U.K., and Germany that are doing the majority of caterwauling over Iran's plan to produce enriched uranium. I have not read anything about The Netherlands throwing a fit about Iran's plan so if The Netherlands' government is complaining, they are doing so very discretely. But hey, three out of four ain't bad.

So there is at least a financial reason for attempting to thwart or punish Iran for its bold move to produce enriched uranium. Whether that is the reason for this current brouha is a matter of pure speculation. It is simply that I see several coincidences cropping up and I, for one, do not like a single instance of coincidence, let alone several.

The federales, King George the Bush in particular (along with his court), make the claim that Iran is a rogue nation and if the Iranian government wants the ability to produce enriched uranium the only possible use for such material would be to build a nuclear weapon. Umm, what about Germany? What about the U.K.? What about The Netherlands? Those countries are producing and selling enriched uranium and have been for quite sometime. Why hasn't our government filed a massive complaint with the U.N. Security Council about Britain, Germany and The Netherlands nuclear enrichment programs?

Because those countries are our friends, you dolt. That is why. Those countries we don't like our government tends to use bullying tactics, sanctions or a military force to punish or subjugate to our will. And we haven't liked Iran since the government of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi was overthrown in 1979.

Can Iran produce enriched uranium? Probably, they are not stupid. Could they build a nuclear weapon? Probably, again they are not stupid. Does our government have actual cold hard knowledge or direct irrefutable evidence that the government of Iran is going to build nuclear weapons? Not on your life. Would the Iranian government use a nuclear weapon against an enemy? I don't know — and neither do you.

Iran is a signatory on the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. So are quite a few other countries as well. Contained in the treaty are a couple of tidbits such as Article III, Section 3 of the Treaty:

"The safeguards required by this article shall be implemented in a manner designed to comply with article IV of this Treaty, and to avoid hampering the economic or technological development of the Parties or international cooperation in the field of peaceful nuclear activities, including the international exchange of nuclear material and equipment for the processing, use or production of nuclear material for peaceful purposes in accordance with the provisions of this article and the principle of safeguarding set forth in the Preamble of the Treaty."

Here is Article IV of the treaty:

"Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with articles I and II of this Treaty.

"All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do so shall also cooperate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world."

Therefore Iran has the "inalienable right — without discrimination" to produce enriched uranium for peaceful purposes.

As a signatory to the treaty Iran does have an obligation via another agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA, to allow for inspection of its nuclear facilities in order to ensure the peaceful use of nuclear power, material and technology under the treaty. That appears to be the stumbling block.

The Western world does not want Iran to produce enriched uranium. Period. Yet the treaty allows for enriched uranium — for peaceful purposes. One must understand however, that there is a huge difference between enriched uranium for reactors (0.7 - 20 percent) and highly enriched uranium (85 percent or more) to make a decent nuclear ka-boom.

Our very own ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton remarked:

"The report, short and to the point, concludes that after all these years of trying, the IAEA is still unable to confirm the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program" (quote from CNN).

The most important point here is the "unable to confirm the peaceful nature" point. In other words the IAEA simply does not know if Iran's nuclear program is peaceful or not. The cold hard fact of the matter is nobody knows with the exception of the Iranian government.

So because the Western world does not know and, as it appears to be the case, has a financial incentive not to lose their monopoly on the enriched uranium market ("[o]ur goal is to further increase our worldwide market share while maintaining high profitability" (Urenco)) the Western world un-ably led by King George the Bush and cronies intend to stop the sovereign nation of Iran from producing enriched uranium by gump or crook. If so, this could get real ugly folks.

King George the Bush has even claimed:

"The world now faces a grave threat from the radical regime in Iran.

"We must not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon" (quotes from CNN).

Uh, George, show me the direct, irrefutable evidence that Iran is producing highly enriched uranium for the purpose of creating nuclear weapons. Hmmm, the silence is deafening.

The U.N. security council in its resolution (number 1696) points out that the IAEA simply does not know if Iran's penchant for enriched uranium is strictly for peaceful purposes or for bomb making or both. Quoting from the resolution:

"Noting with serious concern that the IAEA Director General's report of 27 February 2006 (GOV/2006/15) lists a number of outstanding issues and concerns on Iran's nuclear programme, including topics which could have a military nuclear dimension, and that the IAEA is unable to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran,

"Noting with serious concern the IAEA Director General's report of 28 April 2006 (GOV/2006/27) and its findings, including that, after more than three years of Agency efforts to seek clarity about all aspects of Iran's nuclear programme, the existing gaps in knowledge continue to be a matter of concern, and that the IAEA is unable to make progress in its efforts to provide assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran[.]"

Therefore the crux of the whole enchilada is the U.N. may, not necessarily will, but may impose sanctions on Iran all because the IAEA cannot categorically state that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful. Kind of guilty until proven innocent.

The IAEA have "concerns." No evidence. No proof. Just "concerns." It kind of reminds me of the old expression, 'when in danger or in doubt, yell and scream and dash about'. Which just happens to be exactly what the Western world, this time ably lead by King George the Bush, is doing.

This is no way to conduct business or any sort at anytime. It is flat out wrong.

If a treaty is to be respected by all signatories then, to me anyway, all parties to the treaty must be treated equally. Which also means treating each other as equals. This includes Iran, the U.S. and our NATO allies. If Iran is in violation then something must be done — diplomatically. The same holds true with the nuclear weapons sharing concept between the U.S. and NATO. The U.S. like Russia, China, Britain and France are all nuclear weapon states as defined in the treaty. As such, the nuclear weapon states agree under Article I not to:

"[T]ransfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices."

Additionally, non-nuclear weapon states agree under Article II of the treaty not to:

"[R]eceive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices; and not to seek or receive any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices."

As of around 2005, it is estimated the U.S. still provides between 180 and 480 tactical nuclear weapons for use by Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey under various NATO agreements.

I could be mistaken but that certainly seems like a violation of the treaty to me. The U.S. is violating Article I and Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey are violating Article II. I just wonder why none of this has made it to the U.N. Security Council for a resolution? Sounds rather like a double standard to me. And ain't nothing ever going to be done about it. Remember that the U.S., like all permanent members of the security council have veto power. All it takes is one veto vote to kill off anything the security council would like to do.

As Iran is within the boundaries of the Middle East I think it is time to discuss that area a little bit more.

The question becomes who or what country in the Middle East probably has nuclear weapons? Well if you guessed Israel you guessed right.

The Negev Nuclear Research Center is an Israeli nuclear installation located in the Negev desert, around five miles from the town of Dimona. It was built with the help of the French and possibly the British. Both the French and Israeli governments claimed the plant would be used to power a desalinization plant in order to "green the Negev." Well, I hate to bring this to the forefront but any image I've ever seen of the area shows the Negev desert is well — still a desert The plant went on-line about 1964 and yes, it is an oldie to be sure.

Nobody other than a few members of the Israeli government, and they ain't talking, factually knows if Israel has nuclear weapons and methods of delivery. It is supposed that they do and that we have known about it since late 1969. Though in 1986 a former employee at the Dimona facility while in Britain provided The Times newspaper with some details as to the Israeli nuclear weapons. The guy was subsequently kidnapped by Israeli agents, taken to Israel, tried in secret and sentenced to 18 years in prison. The dude was released in 2004. However the important point is that Israel, at the time, allegedly had material for approximately 20 hydrogen weapons and 200 fission weapons.

Supposedly during a private meeting between President Nixon and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, of which no record was kept, Nixon and Meir allegedly agreed on a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy pertaining Israel's purported nuclear weapon capability. This policy, if true, is still in full force and effect. Furthermore, if true this policy needs to be changed and quickly. Israel and our own federal government need to come completely clean. Publicly.

One interesting point which has been raised about Israel's purported nuclear weapons is nuclear blackmail perpetrated upon the United States. Quoting Lt. Colonel Warner D. Farr:

"One other purpose of Israeli nuclear weapons, not often stated, but obvious, is their 'use' on the United States. America does not want Israel's nuclear profile raised. They have been used in the past to ensure America does not desert Israel under increased Arab, or oil embargo, pressure and have forced the United States to support Israeli diplomatically against the Soviet Union. Israel used their existence to guarantee a continuing supply of American conventional weapons, a policy likely to continue."

Israel, if true, has about as much need for all those weapons as the dog on the moon. Is Israel a signatory on the non-proliferation treaty? No. As such they are exempt from any and all provisions of the treaty and inspections. And I hate blackmail.

This all equates to nothing but potential horrific trouble on a world wide scale.

The way the federales are going about this 'Iran may be trying to build nuclear weapons' smells similar to the run up of our invasion of Iraq. Bush despises Ahmadinejad of Iran. Bush further despises the idea that Iran is an Islamic republic. King George earlier this year said we would use "our might" to defend Israel. Diplomacy takes time and our leadership is not willing to give diplomacy the time needed to work. Additionally, our government fully distrusts and has no use for the IAEA. Lastly Bush has convinced himself that Iran is going to produce nuclear weapons. All of this is bad news for the world.

The smart thing for our government to do is:

People say talk is cheap. Yeah, well compared to bombs and fallout and the carnage caused by them they are absolutely correct.

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