So, I’ve been thinking about a non-shrill way to discuss this, but … the world has gone insane. Batshit insane.
First of all, Bush is going to sign a deal with Vladimir Putin to establish broad cooperation between U.S. and Russian domestic nuclear industries. In practice, this means that Russia gets billions of dollars to store thousands of tons of our nuclear waste. Even Bush supporters seem a little mystified — the U.S. has balked at this kind of deal for about a decade. Why? Let us count the ways:
- Russia has long supported Iran’s nuclear program (not to mention North Korea’s); it has resisted, and continues to resist, U.S. pleas to support economic sanctions on Iran.
- Russia is notoriously lax about the nukes and spent nuclear fuel already littering the country. It’s one of the major security threats Bush has neglected while pursuing his dimwitted messianism in the Middle East.
- Putin is increasingly flagrant in his drive to reverse democratic reforms and reassert totalitarianism in Russia. Needless to say, there was no nationwide referendum on Russia becoming the world’s nuclear dumping ground.
So why this deal, and why now? I’ll give you one guess. No, I’ll tell you: Bush wants Putin’s support in our coming drive to war with Iran. He needs votes in the U.N. This is early maneuvering.
So, OK, that’s insane. But this is even insaner:
The G8 nations, meeting this weekend in St. Petersburg, will unveil a concerted plan to spread nuclear technology across the globe. On purpose!
An action plan for "global energy security" to be agreed in St Petersburg next weekend envisages a network of nuclear fuel plants in G8 countries combined with the widespread sale of reactors to developing countries — as long as they promise not to use them for making nuclear bombs.
Oh, they’ll promise? Well then!
The idea is to keep the more sensitive nuclear facilities that can be easily diverted for making bombs within the G8. Other countries would not be allowed to enrich uranium fuel, or to reprocess spent fuel to extract plutonium.
Let me ask you: If this regime went into effect, how long would it last? We’re talking about a reification of the developed/developing line, with a permanent set of first-class countries that hold the key to the energy security of second-class countries. That sound stable to you?
But it gets insaner:
At the same time, G8 leaders are proposing to bring back fast breeder reactors, which were scrapped in Germany, France and the UK in the 1990s because they were too expensive. They are designed to create and burn plutonium and are much less reliant on imports of uranium.
This is a dramatic change, since fast reactors have been off the political agenda in Western countries for at least a decade. And it will run into fierce opposition because of the risks it poses for international efforts to control the spread of nuclear weapons.
So the rich-kid G8 club will be selling hundreds of fast breeder reactors to the poor kids — the very kind of reactors that pose the greatest proliferation dangers. And the poor kids will remain dependent on the rich kids for fuel for those reactors, forever. And they’ll promise not to do anything naughty.
As dessert, here’s one final bit of insanity:
The drive for nuclear power is being led by Putin, who is keen to maximise Russia’s technology expertise. He has a plan for mass producing reactors, installing them on barges and selling them around the world as "floating nuclear power plants."
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