(Clearly, the U.S. war planners as well as the Israelis know this -- they don't need Cole to tell them And since they know this, but are still waging war (sanctions) on Iran, clearly their purposes have nothing to do with Iranian nuclear intentions. The whole topic is irrelevant as a perspective on U.S. foreign policy except to reveal for the nth time the sharp split between real and announced aims of that policy.)
Excerpt from http://www.juancole.com/2010/08/8169.html :
Moreover, the [Bushehr] reactor is being actively inspected by the
International Atomic Energy Agency, which continues to certify that
no nuclear fuel is being diverted by Iran to weapons purposes.
And the Russians, who have been working on this reactor since the
mid-1990s, have put in safeguards to prevent it from being used to
produce a nuclear weapon. First, they have insisted on a light water
One of the ways to create a nuclear warhead is to take the spent
fuel from a nuclear reactor and reprocess it into plutonium of
weapons quality. But it is much harder to do this with light water
reactors than with heavy water ones, as Daniel Engber of Slate
Light-water reactors are designed for commercial use and can run
for years at a time on a single batch of fuel. ("Light water"
refers to ordinary H2O; "heavy water" has a higher percentage of
deuterium atoms, i.e. hydrogen atoms with an extra neutron.) That
long burn fills out the plutonium by-product with other isotopes
that make it less useful for nuclear weapons. If you shut down a
light-water reactor early--after a few months, for example--you'd
waste a huge amount of money. . . Furthermore, it would be very
easy to tell when the Iranians or North Koreans shut down their
light-water reactors. To extract the fuel rods, you have to lift
off a giant lid at the top of the reactor and take them out all
at once. Weapons inspectors love this feature because it requires
a large-scale operation that's almost impossible to conceal.
So the reactor is being regularly inspected by the UN, and is a
light water reactor which is very difficult if not impossible to use
for the production of weapons grade plutonium. But there is more.
Russia is providing the nuclear fuel for these reactors and then
taking back the spent fuel, so that Iran will not even have the
ruined light-water-reactor-produced plutonium, which even if they
did have it could not be used to make a bomb.
People going ballistic over the Bushehr reactor are perhaps
remembering the 1981 Israeli attack on the French-made OSIRAK
reactor in Baghdad. But that was a piece of counter-productive
theater anyway. The French had insisted on constructing a light
water reactor, and on putting in safeguards against its being used
for weapons construction. The Israeli attack therefore did not
forestall a weapons program; the reactor would have been almost
impossible to use for that purpose. After the Israeli attack,
though, Saddam Hussein launched a crash program to enrich uranium
through magnetatrons, an effort that appears to have failed or to
have been a very long-term proposition. It was the Israeli strike
that convinced the Baath regime to carry out a crash program of
nuclear weapons advances that only Baghdad's defeat in the Gulf War
revealed. The Israelis would have been better off leaving the
innocuous OSIRAK alone; as it was they provoked an Iraqi crash
nuclear weapons program that might have ultimately borne fruit had
it not been for Saddam's rash and brutal invasion of Kuwait.
So, there is no point in attacking Bushehr and the attack on OSIRAK
backfired big time. Bolton and others on the American Right are
playing on people's ignorance in this warmongering.
Could somebody please explain why America supports a racist, immoral, vile country like Israel that is populated with evil, conniving, crooked, lying, murdering weasels?