Some have been watching the Bushehr light-water reactor very intently. The is a reactor in Iran that is currently off-line but which Russia has said it will be delivering uranium fuel rods to by tomorrow August 21st, 2010 and activating the reactor. While light-water reactors are not used for making weapons-grade plutonium, many believe that Israel's best chance to stall Iran's nuclear weapon's program is to bomb the Bushehr and other nuclear facilities before nuclear fuel is placed in the reactor. Once Russia loads the reactor, bombing it would create a radiological catastrophe. Iran has many public and top secret nuclear facilities such as a heavy water production facility and test reactor in Arak, and the Uranium separation facility in Natanz.
However, on August 17, 2010 there was a very odd assult on the Bushuhr reactor. News sources reported that up to as many as 3 UAV's (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) slammed into the reactor dome of the Bushehr facility killing 5 workers . Then it was reported that the Iranian UAV chief Reza Baruni was killed after several bombs destroyed his home with him in it. In spite of Baruni's mysterious death, Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi reported the testing of several new Iranian missile systems, stealth submarines, and the unveiling of a new "long range UAV called Karrar".
The questions about these details in my mind are: 1. Was Baruni responsible for flying the 3 UAV's into the reactor? 2. Did the radio controls for the UAV's get taken over by US/Israeli forces and get flown into the reactor? 3. Did US/Israeli black ops assassinate Baruni or did Iran kill Baruni because of the UAV mistake or because they thought he was a US/Israeli operative? 4. Did the UAV drones damage the reactor delaying its activation on Aug 21, 2010?
If I had to guess, the UAV's were purchased from Turkey which means the US has the ability to hack into their computer and radio controls and take complete control over them and could have steered them into reactor remotely. Too, bad the US couldn't have taken over the Turkish UAV's that Syria is using to bomb the Kurds. And, If I had to guess, US/Israeli black ops bombed and killed Reza Baruni. If Baruni had been responsible I can't imagine he'd have stuck around in Iran after what happened.
Some people question why the light-water reactor in Bushehr, Iran is getting so much attention since it cannot be used to create weapons-grade plutonium. While this is true, plutonium 239 is not the only problematic thing that a reactor can be used for such as Cobalt 60. While most radioactive isotopes are longer-lived then cobalt-60, alpha and beta emitters are not as toxic to the environment as a pure gamma emitter. Cobalt-60 on the other hand, is a very powerful gamma ray producer which would cause wide-spread desolation for years.
And then there is the concern over Red Mercury. There are rumors that simple yet devastating nuclear devices can be constructed with the use of irradiated Mercury-Antimony-Oxide. Working as a ballotectnic, the Hg2Sb2O7 provides the pressure and temperatures needed to trigger fussion of Lithium6 Deuteride without the need for the fission primary. While Red Mercury is considered a "conspiracy theory" the reason I tend to believe it is because 1. Samuel Cohen the inventor of the neutron bomb believes 2. New Scientist tried to debunk it 3. The movie "Red Mercury" was suppressed 4. "Red Matter" used as a plot element in Star Trek. 5. 12 Oct 2002 Bali Bombing could have been a Red Mercury fusion device although wiki says it was some mix of TNT, aluminum, potassium chlorate, and sulfur.
It is likely that the US has freely entered into nuclear non-proliferation treaties because our nuclear bomb technology is several steps beyond the traditional Tellar-Ulam/ Fission-Fusion-Fission design. Another bomb technology mentioned by Samuel Cohen in addition to his Neutron Bomb is something based on nuclear isometric transitions using metastable atomic nuclei such as Tc-99, Co-58, Hf-177, Ta-180. and Hf-178. These metastable nuclei are stimulated to release energy by hitting them with x-rays.
The neutron bomb is based on the fission-fusion principle except that instead of containing the neutrons produced by the Lithium-Deuteride secondary device, a neutron bomb allows the neutrons to escape. Consequently, the thermal effects of the bomb itself are limited, but the effects of neutron flux expose a large area to lethal levels of radiation. A neutron bomb wil cause other substances to be radioactive. And this secondary radioactivity would expose humans to additional lethal radiation for at least 48 hrs. However, many exposed to moderate dose of neutrons, after a brief period of nausea, may not die for another 2-3 weeks. This latent phase has been called the "walking ghost phase" and may be the inspiration for the many "zombie" movies out there.