As a physics undergrad I’ve heard a lot about nuclear processes and nuclear fuels. A few years back I was barraged with propaganda from BNFL (British Nuclear Fuels Ltd.) about how they had the solution to the world’s fossil fuel crisis. I remain unconvinced.
But having read a lot of that propaganda, and understanding that the arguments for nuclear power are strong ones, I’m somewhat bewildered as to why the term ‘crisis’ is being used in connection with North Korea. In 1994 North Korea’s government signed an agreement sponsored by the USA, Japan and South Korea, to halt its “graphite technology nuclear program” in return for two “light-water nuclear reactors” (information from this site). It has recently disclosed that it has terminated that agreement. And that has apparently precipitated a ‘crisis’.
Certainly there are reasons why we wouldn’t want North Korea to posess nuclear weapons, but it is entirely conceivable that the North Koreans need to increase their electricity production capacity (that same US government website speaks of rolling blackouts due to energy shortages) and have realised that in the current climate there is no way that the terms of that eight year old agreement would be reconsidered. It appears our media (and our governments?) cannot distinguish between nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. Let’s hope George Bush never gets invited to the opening of a new power plant (or even a lecture in a physics department).
Until Bush labelled them a member of the “axis of evil”, North Korea seemed to be making great strides towards greater involvement with the “international community”. Their relationship with their southern neighbour was the best it had been in their existence and even the US administration was being positive.
So I’m at a loss to understand what happened or why the current situation is considered a crisis. The UN is using such language, which once would have helped me understand but now counts for very little when it has become just another poodle in George Bush’s kennels. It would appear that the word ‘crisis’ is heading for the same level of co-option which now holds ‘terrorism’ captive in the hands of Washington. Forget the debt crisis, the global AIDS crisis or the famine in Sub-Saharan Africa, this new linguistics has no place for them.