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The link between “peaceful” nuclear power and nuclear weapons

peaceful-nukeWhat is the Relationship of Nuclear Energy Plants and Nuclear Weapons?  Finding the Missing Link January 28, 2017 Scott Jones, Ph.D.

Setting aside the classical tenderness of the phrase, they are Mother and Child. Within the science community and the business of commercial nuclear energy this reality is a given. However, the “Atoms for Peace” commercial slogan may have introduced some ambiguity about this reality. This is quickly cleared up for the lay person by a January 1983 article published in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

“An even more specific confirmation of the economic advantage 
of the commercial-power route to bombs is available in a most 
distressing form: the admission by the U.S. government, in late 1981,
 that it is considering turning to commercial-reactor fuel as the
 source of plutonium for a new round of nuclear warheads. Would 
the United States even consider paying the political costs of such a 
move unless the economic attractiveness were compelling?”

The family relationship is the basic and fundamental link between nuclear energy production and nuclear weapons. However, it leads to other important relationships.

Nuclear weapons are the result of willful national security political decisions. After the development and use of nuclear weapons by the Unites States, every country that followed in the club of nuclear weapon owners made that decision because of an assessment that it gave them security that they otherwise would not have. It was claimed to be a defensive move to deter all potential enemies from use of nuclear weapons against them……

What we can say with certainty is that a nuclear power plant nominates itself as a potential target. What cannot easily be predicted is who or what may be the aggressor. While progress is being made in predicting threats from nature, it will always remain to a significant degree a capricious force.

In the human realm, current and traditional enemies most certainly will be on target and threat lists. But the threat may be from a terrorist group that selects one of the world’s existing 450 operating nuclear power plants in 31 countries, or later, one the 60 new plants under construction in 16 countries. Which plant to attack may be decided because it is assessed to be the most vulnerable target for their capability to attack.

There is no shortage of targets now and the number is increasing. Success will not be measured by the amount of radiation released. That will almost be immaterial.

The global nuclear power plant network shares a nervous system that is highly tuned to every nuclear event. Deserved or not an accident or an attack will be perceived by much of the world through a memory lens of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Chernobyl, and Fukushima.

February 1, 2017 - Posted by | USA, weapons and war

1 Comment »

  1. […] via The link between “peaceful” nuclear power and nuclear weapons — nuclear-news […]

    Pingback by The link between “peaceful” nuclear power and nuclear weapons — nuclear-news | Matthews' Blog | February 1, 2017 | Reply

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