Thursday, April 15, 2010

How to re(a)d the news - 2

Y’know, the ignorance of some passes all understanding. In fact, I am reaching the point where I am doubting “ignorance” as an excuse and substituting something like “intentional stupidity” in its place.

Now, I know that my knowledge of science is little more than average – emphasis on the “little”. I am told, from reading just a little wider than the daily press, that about 25kg of WGU (weapons grade uranium) and the right technology can be converted into an effective fission bomb. Given the same quantity of HEU (highly enriched uranium) you can build a bomb that might explode, but which is likely to be more effective as a local radioactive contaminant.

So, when Russia sells a nuclear reactor and powerstation to Venezuela the news becomes “Russia sells nuclear weapons to Chavez”.

In the background to all of this is the Obama summit, completed this morning NZ time, the purpose of which was to gain universal agreement to better and more effective controls on HEU and WGU to prevent terrorists getting their hands on the potential for nuclear weaponry. For some, any foothold that allows them to cling to the cliff-face idea of “Obama is a communist” is well worth the promotion, irrespective if its accuracy or inaccuracy.

That makes the Russian sale of a nuclear powerstation to Venezuela immense news. “Oh waly waly!!” news. It is easy to turn an intentionally very blind eye to the fact that a power reactor does nothing more than convert a small quantity of quite impure uranium to unusable isotopes of other elements. In order to create U235 and Po you require a totally different kind of beast; the difference between the two is like comparing a milking goat with an enraged male elephant on heat.

The solution?

Just let Chavez know that any attempt to establish a breeder reactor, enrichment and weapons processes “will be certainly unsuccessful”. After the news and agreements of the past three days not even the liars in the Kremlin (who IMO are no different to those who inhabited the White House four years ago) would stand against the message; most particularly if the idea to supply Chechnya or Kyrgystan with a nuclear powerstation were made public.

Personally, I think that all of this is in vain. Pandora’s box is open as TF points out. There is no closing it. The biggest threat of all does not come from a container on a ship in the Hudson River; nor from a suitcase left in a hotel room in San Diego; nor the model aircraft flying over the reservoir supplying San Francisco its water…

The greatest threat is long term; competition for resources; competition for food supplies; competition for potable water…

No comments: