Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

The hypocrisy of Ben Heard on nuclear weapons proliferation

Jim Green shared a link. Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South , 4 Feb 18 Australia   Ben Heard – the paid nuclear lobbyist whose so-called environment group ‘Bright New World’ accepts secret corporate donations – claims that “Peace is furthered when a nation embraces nuclear power, because it makes that nation empirically less likely to embark on a nuclear weapons program. That is the finding of a 2017 study published in the peer-reviewed journal International Security.”

That’s false twice over. Firstly, it isn’t true. Secondly, Heard’s assertion isn’t supported by the International Security journal article, written by Nicholas Miller from Dartmouth College.

Miller’s article downplays the power/weapons connections but much of the information in his article undermines his own argument. In Miller’s own words, “more countries pursued nuclear weapons in the presence of a nuclear energy program than without one”, “the annual probability of starting a weapons program is more than twice as high in countries with nuclear energy programs, if one defines an energy program as having an operating power reactor or one under construction”, and countries that pursued nuclear weapons while they had a nuclear energy program were “marginally more likely” to acquire nuclear weapons (almost twice as likely if North Korea is considered to have had a nuclear energy program while it pursued weapons).

Nuclear power/weapons connections are multifaceted, repeatedly demonstrated, disturbing and dangerous:

• Nuclear power programs were involved in the successful pursuit of weapons in four countries (France, India, Pakistan, South Africa) according to Miller (and India and North Korea could be added to that list) and have provided many other countries with a latent weapons capability.

• Power programs have provided ongoing support for weapons programs to a greater or lesser degree in seven of the nine current weapons states (the exceptions being Israel and North Korea).
• The direct use of power reactors to produce plutonium for weapons in all or all-but-one of the declared weapons states (and possibly other countries, e.g. India and Pakistan).
• The use of power reactors to produce tritium for weapons in the US (and possibly other countries, e.g. India).
• Power programs (or real or feigned interest in nuclear power) legitimising enrichment and reprocessing programs that have fed proliferation.
• Power programs (or real or feigned interest in nuclear power) legitimising research (reactor) programs which can lead (and have led) to weapons proliferation.
• And last but not least, the training of experts for nuclear power programs whose expertise can be (and has been) used in weapons programs.

 So why does Heard claim that “when a nation embraces nuclear power, because it makes that nation empirically less likely to embark on a nuclear weapons program”? He ignores most of Miller’s article (and Miller himself ignores much that is known about power/weapons connections) and focuses on these findings:


1. The annual probability of starting a weapons program is more than twice as high in countries with an operating power reactor or one under construction (a statistically-significant finding).
2. The annual probability of starting a weapons program is somewhat lower in countries with operating power reactors compared to countries without them (a statistically non-significant finding).

So why does Heard privilege the second of those findings when only the first is statistically significant? Why does Heard privilege the finding that excludes countries with power reactors under construction (but not in operation) when the inclusion of such countries provides a fuller, more accurate assessment of the power/weapons connections? Perhaps Heard’s selectivity is connected to his work as a paid nuclear lobbyist whose so-called environment group accepts secret corporate donations. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/

Connections between civil and military nuclear programs Detailed 2015 paper: The myth of the peaceful atom – debunking the misinformation peddled by the nuclear industry and its supporters Nuclear power and weapons – explaining the connections 2017 – nuclear industry body and lobbyists acknowl…
Advertisements

March 5, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster, weapons and war

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: