Nuclear Security

Recent analyses of the nuclear standoff with Iran illustrate why nuclear powers are so desperate to prevent other states from gaining nuclear weapons, and why some countries are so desperate to develop a nuclear weapons program. Once the facilities are operational, they are the best deterrent from attack. Nuclear capability deters not only by the threat of retaliation, but perhaps more effectively by the threat of a radiological catastrophe that would cause attackers to be accused of humanitarian and environmental crimes. The same reasoning applies to spent fuel storage at the “peaceful” nuclear sites called power plants, but for some reason this risk produces no scaremongering headlines. As tensions between China and Japan heat up, these would-be aggressors need to step back and remember that a future war would be of a very different nature than the last one.
In the case of Iran, even if a nuclear capability could be removed by brief aerial bombardment (as if such pre-emption could be rationalized by existing nuclear states), as some in Israel like to believe, no nation should want to be responsible for the radiological calamity it would unleash. This may be the reason that there has not been and, hopefully, will not be an attack on Iran.
Khosrow B. Semnani, a physicist, industrialist and philanthropist based in the US, and no apologist for the regime in Iran, writes at Nucleargamble.org:

·      A military attack against nuclear facilities of any state necessarily poses grave radiological risks to tens of thousands of innocent civilians and soldiers, especially citizens who lack the necessary preparation or information to protect themselves.
·      In evaluating the consequences of military strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities it is worth remembering the results of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that lead to the evacuation of 100,000 people, and loss of 10,000 square kilometers (3,861 square miles) of agricultural land.
·      Our assessment of the Iranian situation takes into account the poor record of Iranian government in cases of emergencies and natural disasters. Lack of planning, preparation, prevention and intervention due to significant underfunding can mean that the death toll from a strike against an Iranian nuclear site might be 100 to 1,000 times greater than necessary
·      The study examined the Gilan accident and the inability of the Iranian regime to cope with radiation-related sickness. The government was not able to treat its scientists and workers in timely fashion, and was forced to send many of them abroad for medical treatment.

Some of the commentary around this issue has gone on to say that Iran has cynically placed nuclear labs and factories close to cities as a way of taking its own citizens hostage. This is an interesting assertion that would amuse the residents of Denver, and of other such cities within the big five nuclear powers, who lived for decades in proximity to nuclear weapons facilities.
This would be a good time sit back and to listen to Randy Newman singing his Cold War satire Political Science. Let’s hope that certain actors on the scene today don’t give into a infantile, paranoid and fatalistic attitude of “they-all-hate-us-anyhow.”

by Randy Newman
album: Sail Away, 1972

No one likes us-I don't know why
We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try
But all around, even our old friends put us down
Let's drop the big one and see what happens

We give them money-but are they grateful?
No, they're spiteful and they're hateful
They don't respect us-so let's surprise them
We'll drop the big one and pulverize them

Asia's crowded and Europe's too old
Africa is far too hot
And Canada's too cold
And South America stole our name
Let's drop the big one
There'll be no one left to blame us

We'll save Australia
Don't wanna hurt no kangaroo
We'll build an All American amusement park there
They got surfin', too

Boom goes London and boom Paree
More room for you and more room for me
And every city the whole world round
Will just be another American town
Oh, how peaceful it will be
We'll set everybody free
You'll wear a Japanese kimono
And there'll be Italian shoes for me

They all hate us anyhow
So let's drop the big one now
Let's drop the big one now

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