Monday, August 27, 2007

Nuclear Power for the Gulf States

Nuclear armed Louisiana? Non mon cher, the Persian Gulf.

...During the 102nd session of the ministerial council held in Riyadh in early March 2007, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary General Abdul-Rahman al-Attiya briefed GCC foreign ministers on his talks with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohammed el-Baradei. The brief proposed to implement a December 2006 GCC Supreme Council resolution for a joint Arab nuclear program to be implemented by the six member states.

The ministerial Council discussion, on the heels of declarations of intent last year by Morocco, Algeria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, focused on developing a joint GCC nuclear technology program for peaceful applications conforming to international regulations. The ministers concluded with a unified emphasis on the right of any country to possess nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. With combined foreign cash reserves larger than all of Asia and estimated at $3 trillion, GCC countries are investing in critical assets. Unlike the oil booms of the 1970s and 80s, the current boom marks a radical social, economic and physical infrastructure transformation providing a social safety net for a rapidly growing population....
From the Center for Advanced Defense Studies

From gulfnews, June 6:

US backing GCC nuclear plans - diplomat

Doha: The United States is supporting GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) plans to acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and is ready to cooperate directly with countries in the region, a top US diplomat said here yesterday.

Gregory Schulte, US Permanent Representative to the UN Office in Vienna and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the US has no objections to the GCC plans and is ready to extend support directly and through the IAEA.

"The GCC has decided to pursue nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and we are very supportive of their initiative. There have been discussions between the GCC and Mohammad Al Baradei [director-general of IAEA]," he said here.

Well so much for this from Dec. '05:
GCC Calls for Nuclear-Free Middle East

I haven't heard anything more on this story:

Iran: Tehran Says It Is Working On Advanced Nuclear Fusion

...Why Fusion, Why Now?

"It is part of an effort both to demonstrate for domestic consumption their technological prowess and to build an image of a country that is far along in nuclear technology, so as to persuade the rest of the world that they cannot be rolled back to zero in terms of stopping their [uranium] enrichment program," Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick says there is no technical link between fusion and uranium enrichment, adding that the link is political in that Iran is saying "look how far along we are."

So what about the military possibilities of fusion technology: is Iran perhaps seeking to bypass the enrichment row and instead take a fusion bomb route?

Fitzpatrick says that technologically it "just doesn't make sense."

"In theory it does, but [a fusion bomb] is so far advanced from a rudimentary initial bomb that I presume Iran intends as its first stage, that a fusion bomb is just not in the picture," he added.

The experts from within the nuclear milieu likewise say that making a hydrogen bomb would be five giant steps technically beyond making a fission bomb, and is therefore not presently an issue, insofar as Iran is estimated to be some years away from being capable of producing a fission atomic bomb.