In case you missed it, the U.S. is in the process of making more Plutonium-238. The U.S. has not produced this isotope of plutonium since the 1980s and the end of the Cold War. While it is not to my knowledge used in nuclear weapons (that would be Plutonium-239), it is one of the more deadly materials known to man if ingested. Plutonium-238 is used for nuclear powered batteries/power cells. According to the New York Times, the Department of Energy is making several hundred pounds over a several decade period for “secret purposes,” and that it is necessary for “national security reasons.” My guess is it will be used to power drones used for intelligence gathering, and so on.
I cannot help but wonder if this and other nuclear activities the U.S. has tried to undertake has played a role in, say, the recent election of a hard-line, ultraconservative to be the next Iranian president, who almost immediately said in victory speeches Iran has no intentions of getting rid of its nuclear program. The same can be said for North Korea’s defiance in negotiations to stop its nuclear programs. Putting oneself in their shoes, if the U.S. and other nations (especially Israel) can have nuclear weapons and programs meant for “national security” why can’t Iran or North Korea (who have been singled out by the U.S.) have nuclear programs at least for commercial use, if not for their national security? How and why would you, as an Iranian or North Korean leader, have any faith in the negotiating position of the U.S. when it is so hypocritical? As a superpower we may just be able to ultimately get our way on both fronts, but our actions do seem to be counterproductive and only encourage other nations to take hard-line positions in negotiations.