Sunday, August 18, 2013

So much for a nuke-free Middle East

U.S. helping longtime ally develop power plants, 1 step from weapons

french_nuke_testF. Michael Maloof / WND

WASHINGTON – The United States is helping Saudi Arabia develop nuclear energy, which would put the Islamic kingdom only a step away from the capability of making nuclear weapons, according to report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

While the transaction may be a bonanza for the U.S. nuclear industry, there are concerns in Congress and elsewhere over the prospect of giving the Saudis nuclear know-how.

For economic reasons, the Saudis are looking to nuclear energy as an alternative to reliance on oil for domestic consumption, due to increasing demand.

Instead, they want to use the oil to acquire hard currency while they can, especially in view of the cutback in oil purchases which prominent Saudis have warned about as they argue for developing alternative industries.

At the same time, the Saudis see Iran working on its own nuclear development program, which the U.S. and other Western countries believe is a cover for developing nuclear weapons.

The Saudis have threatened to develop their own nuclear weapons if it turns out that Iran is heading in that direction.

As WND reported, the Saudis helped finance Pakistan’s nuclear weapons development program and could have Islamabad send a number of weapons for storage in the Saudi kingdom. There have been unconfirmed reports that the Pakistanis have done just that to guard against the prospect that Islamist militants could get their hands on nuclear devices.

For their part, the Iranians have denied that they are working on developing nuclear weapons and point to the fact that they are a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which allows for nuclear enrichment.

The Israelis, however, believe this enrichment effort is toward developing fuel for nuclear weapons.

As a result, Israel has threatened to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Right now, the Iranians are assessed to be able to enrich uranium up to 20 percent, which is suitable for nuclear medicine. Far less enrichment – some 5 percent – would be useful for refueling nuclear reactors, which Iran plans to expand with Russian help in the coming years.

Unlike Iran, however, the Israelis are not a signatory to the NPT, and they are not a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

To make nuclear weapons, uranium needs to be enriched to purity levels of 90 percent or more, a level which Israel believes Iran is approaching.

No comments:

Post a Comment