Cuba and Nuclear-Weapons Proliferation

In the opinion-page article "Cuba Goes Nuclear," June 3, the authors unjustifiably conclude that Cuba "is in the process of becoming a renegade nuclear nation."I have the drawings of the two VVER-400 reactors being built at Juragua. They are of the latest type, with the best safety improvements. In addition, unlike the VVER-400 reactors in the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries, they are being built with containment vessels satisfying Western standards. If properly constructed and operated, these reactors should be as safe as those in the Western countries. As for nuclear-weapons proliferation, these reactors are not suited for making fuel for nuclear weapons. However, Cuba has accepted international safeguards agreements on the operation and the fuel ensuring that crude bombs will not be fabricated. Cuba's agreements for cooperation with other third-world countries must be examined carefully. The authors state, without presenting any evidence, that Iran and North Korea are developing nuclear weapons. I believe that is untrue, although their leaders may want to possess them. The situation with Argentina and Brazil is more complex. Both have had nuclear-weapons programs in the past, but these progressed very slowly and essentially went nowhere during their 30 years of existence; thus each country recently canceled them. Also, neither country will sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty because it is discriminatory. (It gives special status to the US, the USSR, and Great Britain). However they are in the process of negotiating full-scope safeguards agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Richard Wilson, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University

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