Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Nuclear: Iran

Some of our scientists after detonation of first nuclear bomb had suggested an international management agency to control mining and milling of uranium, enrichment process, fuel fabrication, and waste management of spent fuel. They suggested that the procedure for management and inspection must not be subject to veto power by any nation. An international management of fuel production, they indicated would stop future nuclear arm competition.

Presidents Truman and Eisenhower did not appreciate the concept of an international management for nuclear fuel cycle. Stalin shortly after the first nuclear bomb test in Alamogordo, New Mexico, started the Soviet Union nuclear bomb development. We and Soviet Russia both developed shortly after enhanced nuclear bombs (hydrogen bomb). Both nations recognized that a nuclear war would destroy both nations unlike all the other wars.

The United States feared Hitler may first develop nuclear bomb during the World War II; this fear lead to creation of Manhattan Project and development of nuclear bombs. The bombs and use on Japan changed the balance of power. The power, US did not want to share with anyone including her own allies.

Russia (US threat), China (Russia and US threat), India (Chinese threat) and Pakistan (Indian threat) developed their nuclear bomb to reduce the threat of nuclear bomb by their adversaries. Israel developed nuclear bomb to decrease threats from her Arabic neighbors.

To limit further spread of nuclear bombs, the United Nations non-proliferation treaty (NTP), July 1, 1968 was started; 189 nations are member of this treaty. NPT, the treaty is nevertheless sometimes interpreted as having three pillars: non-proliferation, disarmament, and the right to peacefully use nuclear technology.

The objective of non-proliferation act is to stop diversion of nuclear materials for making bomb. However, this rule does not apply to US, Russia, England, France, China, India, Israel, and Pakistan; the nations who already have nuclear bombs. These nations India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea, are not member of non-proliferation treaty, thus they are not subject to its requirements. The procedure for non-proliferation management was not intended to interfere with the rights of nations to develop fuel cycle for non-military purposes. IAEA has the authority to inspect fuel cycle activities of each nation to show compliance with the non-proliferation requirements.

Iran has been developing nuclear fuel cycle for electric power generation. Israel and the United States had indicated that the knowledge of the nuclear fuel cycle will allow Iran in the future to develop ability to produce nuclear bomb. They demand Iran must stop development of her fuel cycle activities. Iran has already acquired the knowledge.

Iran justifiably would not intend to abrogate her rights for development of nuclear fuel cycle. Iran had suggested an international joint operation of her nuclear fuel cycle to allay the fear of Israel and the United States. Iran is open to other nations joining her nuclear fuel cycle program. By participation of other nations and unannounced IAEA inspection, Iran would not be able to divert nuclear materials. It is imperative we accept the invitation; it is face saving for Iran and those who would demand a non-military application for her nuclear fuel program.

This joint multi-nations mode of nuclear fuel cycle production may be emulated by other aggregates of nations. It is a first step to a full international management of all fuel production, use, and waste management.

President Truman said: “Starting an atomic war is totally unthinkable for rational men.”

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Iran Counter-Proliferation Act

The US “Iran Counter-Proliferation Act” a pending legislation being rushed in the Senate by the Israeli Lobby and neoconservative supporters. This Act threatens a cultural embargo on all things Iranian and safety of international air trasportation. This act along with a proposed third round of U.N. sanctions are marshaled by our Administration against Iranian people.

It is irrelevant that IAEA and our own US intelligence agencies have stated that Iran is not developing nuclear bomb and had stopped the process since 2003. Our national experts know well that Iran is not capable to make nuclear bomb; Iran had not have enriched uranium (80% or higher U-235 to U-238 isotopes). IAEA had stated that Iran has enriched small quantities of natural uranium to less than 5%. This is the enrichment level required for a civilian nuclear power plant.

Then what is the objective of the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act?

The objective of this Act is to pressure Iranian people to stop nuclear fuel cycle activities. The function of nuclear fuel cycle is production of fuel for power plants producing electrical energy and radioactive isotopes for use in medicine, agriculture, and educational research. The present US administration asserts that once Iranian people have learned about use of the fuel production technique for fuel production, it would be a smaller step to enrich the fuel from less than 5% to more than 80% and make nuclear bomb. Thus, the title of the act “counter-proliferation” refers to stopping Iranian people to learn about nuclear physics, nuclear chemistry and engineering. But, Iranian scientists and engineers already know the nuclear science and engineering of uranium fuel cycle.

Our government rationale is comparable to arguing that teaching sciences in our high schools and colleges would give students the knowledge to make bomb. Thus, if we follow the purpose of the counter-proliferation logic, all teaching of sciences should be stopped!

Will the act stop Iranian people to advance in science and engineering of nuclear fuel cycle? No. The Act will only make life harder for some of the people in Iran. The Act will adversely affect any civilized political rapprochement between our government and Iranian people. Many experts in international politics suggest:
  1. Stop harassing Iranian people, threatening them, and making life harder for the ordinary people.
  2. Start talking unconditionally with Iranian government. Our actions only further embed Iranian government into Russian and Chinese spheres of influences.
  3. Instability in Iran will drag the entire Middle East into very unstable region. Israel and the United States would not benefit from this instability.
  4. Iranians are friendly to the people of the United States; escalation of hostility will change the friendly to very unfriendly people.
  5. Israel, backed by the United States, must stop threatening Iran. These threats will adversely affect Israel. Survival of Israel is dependent on stability of the Middle East.