Consider the Consequences of Bombing Iran’s Nuclear Power Plants, and Pray
by Floyd Rudmin
Global Research, April 29, 2008
The US government has recently increased the belligerence of its tone towards Iran.
A string of reports in a variety of newspapers suggest war is on the way: the Mail & Guardian April 1, the Rutland Herald April 4, the Telegraph April 7, the International Herald Tribune April 11, the Washington Post April 12, the Washington Times April 16, the Progressive April 24, the Santa Monica Mirror April 24, Asia Times April 25, the International Herald Tribune April 25, the Toronto Star April 25, the Christian Science Monitor April 25, the Washington Post April 26, the Washington Times April 26, First Post April 26, Los Angeles Times April 26, the Washington Times April 26, and the Telegraph April 26.
Two offensive aircraft carriers fleets are now on station near Iran and another is reportedly en route. In late March, Saudi Arabia practiced how it will cope with nuclear fallout following a US attack on Iran. In early April, Israel practiced how it will cope with retaliatory missiles following a US attack on Iran. Everyone in the region is getting ready for the bombing of Iran’s nuclear power plant and enrichment facilities. Iran, too, is ready for war.
The US is said to have 10,000 targets in Iran. Primary among these are all nuclear facilities, including the nuclear power plant at Bushehr on the Persian Gulf coast near Kuwait, and the nuclear enrichment facilities in Natanz near Esfahan. Bushehr is an industrial city, with nearly 1 million residents. As many as 70,000 foreign engineers work in the region, which includes a large gas field. Natanz is Iran’s primary enrichment site, north of Esfahan, which also has nuclear research facilities. Esfahan is a world heritage city with a population of 2 million.
Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor has 82 tons of enriched uranium (U235) now loaded into it, according to Israeli and Chinese news reports. The plant is scheduled to become operational this summer, producing electricity. The Natanz enrichment facility is operating a full capacity, enriching uranium for use in reactors according to IAEA reports.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the uranium 235 used in nuclear reactors has a half life of 700 million years. As nuclear reactor fuel is used, it turns into uranium 238, which has a half life of 4.5 billion years. These radioactive isotopes are dangerous to health because they emit alpha particles and because they are chemically toxic. When inhaled, they damage lung tissue. When ingested, they damage kidneys and cause cancer in bones and in liver tissues. According to a recent review of medical research, uranium exposure causes babies to be deformed or born dead.
Never in history has it happened that nuclear power plants and nuclear enrichment facilities have been deliberately bombed. Such facilities, everywhere in the world, operate under severe safety conditions because the release of radioactive materials is deadly, immediately and also long after exposure. If the USA or Israel deliberately bomb a fully fueled nuclear power plant or nuclear fuel enrichment facilities, containment will be breached; radioactive elements will be released into the environment. There will be horrific deaths for families in the surrounding vicinity. The Union of Concerned Scientists has estimated 3 million deaths would result in 3 weeks from bombing the nuclear enrichment facilities near Esfahan, and the contamination would cover Afghanistan, Pakistan, all the way to India.
Reactors and enrichment facilities are built of extra strong concrete, often with multiple layers of containment domes, often built underground. Bombing such facilities will require powerful explosives, earth penetrator war heads, maybe nuclear warheads. The explosions will blow the contamination high into the atmosphere. Where will it go is a question that is difficult to predict.
During the January 1991 Gulf War, many oil wells in Kuwait were set afire. According to the US State Department, “black rains were reported in Turkey, and black snow fell in the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains”. The radioactive plumes from bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities would reach the same destinations, in the same weather conditions. But the radioactive plume might go north, into Europe. During the March 2003 invasion of Iraq by the USA, UK, Australia, and others, armour piercing shells and bombs tipped with depleted uranium (U238) were used. It took 9 days for uranium particles from these weapons in Iraq to reach England, where air sample filters showed a 300% increase in uranium particles attributable to the war. The weather patterns at the time that carried the particles to England passed over central Turkey, the Ukraine, Austria, Poland, Germany, Sweden, and Denmark, to England, then over Norway and Finland to the Arctic. This was reported by The Times, summarizing a study in European Biology and Bioelectromagnetics.
The nuclear fallout from bombing Iran will have a half life of 700 million years. That is a duration difficult to comprehend. Jesus Christ was preaching a mere 2 thousand years ago. In the evolution of humans, our earliest ape-like ancestors were walking upright a mere 5 million years ago. The Bush administration and its Israeli advisors are now planning to contaminate the planet for 700 million years. From the rhetoric of Presidential candidates John McCain and Hillary Clinton, they, too, think that is a good idea. The US media seem to applaud.
Either Americans do not understand what it is they are preparing to do, or they think themselves immune to the consequences. The planet is not large. What goes around, comes around. Smoke from the Gulf War oil fires went around the world and was detected in South America. Radioactive fallout from bombing a nuclear reactor will also go far, especially considering that it has millions of years to make the trip.
The Persian Gulf nations of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and Iran have more than half the world’s known oil reserves. The 1981 study by Fetter and Tsipis in Scientific American on “Catastrophic Releases of Radioactivity” estimated that bombing a nuclear reactor would cause 8600 square miles around the reactor to be uninhabitable, depending on which way the wind blows. Bombing the Bushehr reactor will mean half of the world’s oil is instantly inaccessible. Bombing Iran means that Americans will not be driving cars any where, any more, for a long, long time. The American Way of Life will be finished. An economic collapse unimagined by Americans will follow. Mechanized farming and food transport will be finished. Famine is a possibility. Food riots are a certainty, in the land of plenty, with the fuel gauge on empty.
The nations of the world cannot rely on the USA and its Israeli advisors to be rational about bombing reactors. It is insane to say, “All options are on the table”, and it is a crime against humanity. The USA and Israel are preparing the public to accept such insanity by announcing that they successfully bombed a Syrian nuclear reactor, with no ill effects. Israel has also recently released video of its 1981 bombing of the Osiraq nuclear reactor in Iraq. See, it’s easy. Nothing bad happens. But those were both construction sites, not loaded reactors full of tons of enriched uranium.
Peoples and governments in the Persian Gulf, in the Middle East, in Europe, and down wind in India and China need to take effective actions now to stop this insanity. Once radiation is released, UN resolutions cannot put it back in containment.
Americans with family and friends serving in the military forces in the Persian Gulf, in Iraq, and in Afghanistan need to wonder how expendable the Bush administration considers them to be.
The planet pleads, “Do not bomb nuclear reactors”.
Global Research Articles by Floyd Rudmin