Saturday, April 21, 2007

Radioactive Man

Hearken back to the good old days of the Manhattan Project, when a whole host of scientists involved in building the first atomic bombs turned out to be passing on the plans to the Soviets.

Sure, they might have been a little bit too fashionably leftish in their political views, but Stalin was an ally at the time, and all hands were needed to beat the Germans to the bomb.

What possible mitigating reasons could exist now, however, for hiring Iranian nationals at nuclear plants when Iran has been telling everyone it will build nukes and drop them on Israel and the West at the first opportunity?

A former engineer at the nation's largest nuclear power plant has been charged with taking computer access codes and software to Iran and using it to download details of plant control rooms and reactors, authorities said.
The FBI said there's no indication the plant employee training software had any terrorist connections.

Mohammad Alavi, who worked at the triple-reactor Palo Verde power plant west of Phoenix, was arrested April 9 at Los Angeles International Airport when he arrived on a flight from Iran, authorities said.

Alavi, 49, is a U.S. citizen and denies any wrongdoing, said his attorney, Milagros Cisneros of the Federal Defender's Office in Phoenix.

He is charged with a single count of violating a trade embargo that prohibits Americans from exporting goods and services to Iran. If convicted, he would face up to 21 months in prison.

According to court records, the software is used only for training plant employees, but allowed users access to details on the Palo Verde control rooms and the plant layout.

Not bomb making plans, to be sure, but something potentially no worse: how to start a nuclear power plant meltdown.

We didn't hire enemy nationals of doubtful loyalty for such sensitive positions during World War II--at least, not knowingly. There are surely enough people in the West who can work in nuclear plants without having to hire Iranians.

Not now, not as this point in history.


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