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Monday, 25 November 2013

Iran, Fukushima and Haiyan: The before, during and after of catastrophe

It is very rare that we get the opportunity to analyse three events that each appear completely independent and yet share similarities that allow us further insight than we would otherwise be able to obtain.

As you will be aware, a recent agreement has been reached between The UN and the Iranian government allowing the Iranian Government to continue to enrich uranium up to 5% (as well as sell more oil) and in return they have made a number of concessions supposedly aimed at indicating that their desire for uranium is solely for the generation of electrical power and not for the development of weaponry. The agreement itself is yet to be published however two documents have been, one by the UN (The P5+1 Almaty 2013 Confidence Building Proposal) and one by the White House (First Step Understandings Regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Nuclear Program).
Let us all be very clear that Iran does not need or desire Nuclear Power for electricity, it is already considered an energy superpower having the the worlds largest reserves of Natural Gas and the 4th largest of Oil. Do not be under any illusions that Iran is after Nuclear materials for any reason other than to develop a bomb. They have used lots of clever ploys but I can assure you that no-one in the international community is being fooled. Let us also remember that this is the same Iran that executed a 13 year old for "Sodomy" and to this day being Gay in Iran is punishable by one year imprisonment and 99 lashes at a minimum, at a maximum the punishment is death by Hanging. This is a theocracy, religiously opposed to the existence of one specific nation, they believe that it is their divine duty to "drive Israel into the sea"! In all likelihood, if they did ever obtain nuclear capability they would first use it against Israel, I repeat that this is a theocratic state who's rulers are devout in their belief that every one of their actions is sanctioned by God and that God wants them to blow up Israel.
This is the "before" or "preventable" catastrophe. If we, instead of lifting sanctions, continued to increase them cumulatively each time Iran tried to progress its Nuclear dream, the international community would be in a far stronger position both politically within the middle east (no-one wants a nuclear Iran) and with regards to the people of Iran (people do not like to suffer for their politicians dreams, which is exactly what is happening in Iran). We would also be in a clearer political position with regards to destroying Iranian uranium enrichment facilities, which is probably the only time when bombing is both most practical and most moral. As for the workers within these facilities, I have no problem with the blowing up of people who are trying to build, for use against others, atomic weapons.

Now we move on to Fukushima, seemingly a catastrophe that is over... right?... oh how wrong we would be in believing such.
On the 11th of March 2011 The Tohoku earthquake struck off the east coast of Japan causing a massive Tsunami that led to devastation across the region. It was this Tsunami that flooded the Daiichi Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant leading to cooling failure and subsequently the meltdown of nuclear reactors 1,2 and 3. What you may not be aware of is that reactor 4, which is structurally unstable due to these events, still houses 1,500 Fuel assemblies that each contain 50-70 spent fuel rods. These are highly dangerous, highly explosive radioactive rods all in close proximity.
The reason that this is important is that today, on the 26th of November 2013, Tepco (the so called managers of the Plant) are to attempt to remove the second of these 1,500 assemblies. This needs to be done manually as the structural damage has compromised the original mechanical system. This is, without doubt, the most dangerous operation ever attempted in Nuclear history and it needs to be repeated (if successful) 1,498 more times.
Other ongoing issues at the plant include radiation leaks, leaks of contaminated coolant water into the pacific (estimated at about 300 tonnes of water having leaked into the sea, radioactive materials from the plant have been recorded as far away as British Columbia) and radio active debris in the sea.
To compound this further still, there has been a near complete media blackout regarding the ongoing issues at the plant with very few outlets continuing to report on the plant and none in depth.
Fukushima is most certainly firmly within the "during" phase of catastrophe, with continued leaking, faults and so much that could still go so very very wrong.

When comparing Iran and Fukushima we need to consider that they are both nuclear situations. The issues regarding both stem from responsibility. We do not trust Iran with Nuclear capabilities because we believe Iran wants to build a weapon. Iran wants us to believe that they only want Nuclear materials for a Nuclear power station. The question is can we trust Iran to run a nuclear power station better than the Japanese even without consideration of possible ulterior motives. Iran seems to be under the belief that Nuclear Power Plants bring fourth a more peaceful trusting image than talk of Nuclear Weapons. I am not sure if this is so and I am certain that it is not with regards to companies such as Tepco, which has falsified documents and admitted to lying to the Japanese government with regards to safety at the plant.

The final piece of this puzzle is Haiyan. The Mother of all storms. Deemed the most powerful storm to ever breach land, on the 3rd of November 2013 it formed and by the time it dissipated on the 11th, more than 5,200 people have had their lives taken by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines alone. Reports are still coming in regarding communities that have received no aid to date despite a massive international response, providing supplies, food and temporary shelter, as well as providing and paying for the skilled workers required to rebuild. Bearing in mind that New Orleans is yet to be completely rebuilt and they were hit in 8 years ago, I do not expect the Philippines recovery to be swift.

Why is Haiyan relevant to this debate? I shall remind you that it is written in Iranian statute that they endeavour to "Drive Israel into the sea". This is exactly what Typhoon Haiyan did to many families, villages and communities. It drove them, their homes, their only means of transport and many of their loved ones into the ocean. This devastation, without cause, Iran wish's too cause. This is not a moral aim of a sane nation. Rouhani may appear on the surface to be an integral world leader but his end desire is to inflict upon every citizen of Israel the same suffering as is being experienced now in the Philippines.

In other words we can see the worst case scenario of a Nuclear Iran through these current tragic events and it paints a pretty bleak and dire picture. I sincerely hope that the agreement signed has not hasted this.

Trust is earned, and Iran has a lot of earning to do.

Mr Magic