IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BOMB: Why civilian nuclear power is merely a cover for producing more nuclear weapons.

AuthorMeyer, Alfred

The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in southeastern Ukraine, Europe's largest nuclear power plant, has the worlds attention right now, and rightly so. For the first time in history, six nuclear reactors and thirty-seven years' worth of high-level nuclear waste are in the middle of a battlefield in an active war zone--one artillery shell, on site or off, could interrupt the control and cooling of the operational reactor, or the cooling of the waste in storage, leading to a catastrophic release of radiation that could spread throughout the Northern Hemisphere. How in the world can nuclear power reactors be considered clean and safe sources of electricity?

Russia, a nuclear-armed nation that invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, has said that it would use nuclear weapons if needed. And strong allies of Ukraine -- the United States, the United Kingdom, and France, all NATO members--are also armed with nuclear weapons.

You likely are aware of what has happened in the weeks since this magazine went to press, and whether or not the world is in the midst of another major radioactive disaster, as happened at Fukushima in Japan in 2011, Chernobyl in northern Ukraine in 1986, and Three Mile Island in the United States in 1979. I assume that if you are reading this, nuclear weapons have not been used in the war in Ukraine. So how has the world ended up in such an existentially threatening situation? Why does the nuclear enterprise have the world's future so tightly in its grip?

The short answer: nuclear weapons. It is all about the bomb.

In 1939, Albert Einstein wrote to President Franklin D. Roosevelt urging him to pursue nuclear research in the United States. It was crucial, Einstein wrote, to counter Germany's efforts to harness the magic of radioactivity and develop a super weapon. A few years later, the Manhattan Project was born in secrecy in 1942. A sprawling and tightly controlled academic, military, industrial, and governmental infrastructure was built to accommodate an entirely new industry equal in size to the American automobile industry at the time. Secrecy was so thorough that when Vice President Harry Truman ascended to the presidency on April 12, 1945, upon Roosevelt's sudden death, he was unaware that the atomic bomb program even existed, much less that it was on the verge of testing a plutonium weapon in July.

During World War II, the United States succeeded in developing atomic weapons, while Germany was defeated before it could do so. Even though Japan was essentially defeated by then, Truman, some...

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