Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pervez Hoodbhoy’s bombshell explodes in book form

Pakistan News & Features Services

“Should a bomb fall now, the destructive effects would be much greater than Hiroshima, because cities are densely packed, have much more flammable material and fires can spread without control,” Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, a renowned physicist, observed during the launch of his explosive title ‘Confronting the Bomb: Pakistani and Indian Scientists Speak Out’ at Kuch Khaas in Islamabad on November 13. 

“Nuclear weapons pose an existential threat to Pakistan and India and there are no plans to deal with this catastrophe. If a nuclear bomb falls on one of our cities, it could result in 500,000 casualties. That is five times the number of deaths caused in Hiroshima in 1945 by a nuclear bomb which released energy equivalent to 15 kilotons of TNT,” he warned. 

“If Pakistan and India use all their nukes against each other, it could lead to a global catastrophe,” he added said, citing scientific calculations after taking Pakistan’s and India’s nuclear power in to account. 

Talking of using nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy reckoned that nuclear electricity was not a viable option for either India or Pakistan. 

“Nuclear power plants are much more expensive than other sources of energy. Even in the US, nuclear electricity is more expensive than power generated through other sources. Nuclear electricity would cost us even more as we import both our reactors and fuel to run them,” he reasoned.

Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy has edited the book ‘Confronting the Bomb: Pakistani and Indian Scientists Speak Out’ which is a compilation of articles written by Pakistani and Indian scientists on the subject. 

It has been published by the Oxford University Press and sponsored by the Heinrich Boll Foundation.

The book discusses both the political aspects of the two countries’ nuclear programmes and technicalities such as early warning, problems related to fissile material and the effects of a nuclear exchange. 

Heinrich Boll Stiftung’s Country Director in Pakistan, Britta Peterson, talked of how the idea of the book was born one chilly morning in 2010 in Islamabad, when she consulted him for a translation of a few essays on nuclear issue into Urdu. 

The subject of book should attract many readers besides those who are the followers of the nuclear technology. 

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