Essay: Iran's Nuclear Program

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Iran and Nuclear Power

The understanding and use of nuclear power, of course, goes back to August, 1945, when the United States dropped weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. For a few years, the only member of the nuclear club was the United States; but soon through espionage and the capture of numerous German scientists, the Soviets had their version, and the domino effect occurred. The Cold War is generally termed the period of tension between the U.S.S.R. And its allies (the Warsaw Pact) and the United States and Allies (NATO) after World War II. Tensions heightened after the surrender of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy when Josef Stalin of the U.S.S.R. occupied Eastern Europe and created, as Winston Churchill called it, "An Iron Curtain." The Cold War was also a war of fear -- fear of use of nuclear weapons, culminating, many say, in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1961(Gordin, 2010; Franklin, 2001; Churchill, 2010). However, congruent with the continual development of nuclear weapons, the atom was harnessed as a means of inexpensive and relatively clean (when proper precautions are taken) energy. Naval vessels have been using nuclear power for decades, and by 2009, almost 15% of the world's electricity came from controlled (e.g. non-explosive) nuclear reactions ("Another Drop," 2010).

Despite incidents like Chernobyl, where in 1986 a Soviet nuclear power plant reactor ruptured, nuclear power has proven to be an extremely safe, pollution free, and efficient form of energy generation. There is a large investment required to open a plant, typically $6-10 billion, but in deregulated markets, nuclear power is becoming even more cost competitive with coal and natural gas, especially in countries that are under pressure to globalize and yet keep pollution levels down (MIT, 2003). The EU and Japan have successful working nuclear programs, and many countries are active in developing nuclear power; China, India, Pakistan, and South Africa. Because fossil fuels are becoming more expensive to extract, and quite dirty to use, more and more countries see the benefits to invest in long-term nuclear energy ("Plans for New Reactors," 2010).

A more recent controversy focuses on whether Iran should be allowed to have nuclear power. The United States and many of its allies believe that Iran is a rogue state and would likely not confine its use of nuclear reactors to power, but continue to develop fissionable, weapons-grade, materials. Despite the fact that Iran is surrounded by countries with both nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants (China, India, Israel, Pakistan, and Russia), U.S. foreign policy dictates that if Iran were to join the nuclear club, there would be less American leverage in the Middle East.

For its part, Iran states publically that nuclear weapons violate Islamic law, and that it only wants to develop nuclear capability to produce electricity because it… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Essay:

APA Format

Iran's Nuclear Program.  (2010, July 2).  Retrieved July 19, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Iran's Nuclear Program."  2 July 2010.  Web.  19 July 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Iran's Nuclear Program."  July 2, 2010.  Accessed July 19, 2019.