Energy Alternatives for All

Jan 162006
Authors: Ben Bleckley

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad is certainly not the most diplomatic world leader. Late last year, he called for Israel to be wiped off of the map. This year, his government will host a "scientific" conference examining the possibility that the Nazi Holocaust was fabricated to give the west cause to establish Israel after World War II.

Now, after talks over nuclear testing between Iran and the European Union have disintegrated, Ahmadi-Nejad threatens to withhold oil exports if the United Nations levies economic sanctions against his country.

Iran claims they will use nuclear technology for energy only, though many fear Iran could develop nuclear weapons in as little as three years.

And who can blame them?

Currently, 31 states in the U.S. have nuclear power plants. As the United States continues to develop their nuclear "Bunker Buster" missile, spending millions that could keep 30,000 African children from dying daily due to poverty, we are Iran's toughest critics.

Yet east of Iran is India and Pakistan, both nuclear powers, and Afghanistan, currently with 20,000 United States troops. To the west is Iraq, occupied by the U.S., and further west Israel, which the international community suspects to have nuclear weapons.

Even if Iran is planning to produce and test a nuclear weapon, which they deny, any country surrounded on all sides by nuclear powers might be a little uneasy.

And it is highly unlikely that Israel would allow Iran to produce such weapons.

On June 7, 1981, Israeli F-15s and F-16s (which, incidentally, they bought from the United States) destroyed a French made nuclear reactor in Baghdad, claiming it could produce weapons grade uranium or plutonium.

The international community should either have no concern whatsoever since Israel could easily destroy Iranian nuclear facilities, or the community should be extremely concerned that Israel may disregard Iran's sovereignty through a preemptive strike.

The United States needs to lighten up. As developing countries begin their own industrialization, energy demands are going to increase globally. Unless we are able to develop a cheap alternative to coal burning power plants and nuclear reactors, many more nations will attempt to enrich uranium to keep up with rising demand.

Perhaps the United States could solve an energy crisis of its own. We continue to burn coal, produce nuclear waste, and deplete the supply of natural gas while simultaneously polluting the atmosphere. Since developing countries will need fossil fuels to industrialize and achieve economic viability, perhaps we should attempt to come up with less hazardous and wasteful energy alternatives such as hybrid vehicles, wind power, and solar energy for ourselves and for the international community.

Ben Bleckley is a senior majoring in English. His column runs Mondays in the Collegian.

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