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Vocabulary

To correspond with the article "More Pre-emptive Strikes?" in the World Press Review Iraq Anthology 1981-2003.

All definitions are from Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition, except where noted.


A-bomb: atomic bomb: an extremely destructive type of bomb, the power of which results from the immense quantity of energy suddenly released when a very rapid chain reaction of nuclear fission is set off by neutron bombardment in the atoms of a charge of plutonium (primarily Pu-239) or uranium (U-235): first used in warfare (1945) by the United States against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
“The first person to suggest such a pre-emptive disarming strike was Bertrand Russell, the late British pacifist and philosopher, who proposed in the 1940s that the Soviet installations should be destroyed before they developed the A-bomb.”

adversary: a person who opposes or fights against another; opponent; enemy.
“Though the idea of striking pre-emptively to eliminate a developing nuclear weapon capability of a potential adversary has been discussed often, this is the first time it has been implemented.”

installation: any military post, camp, base, etc.
“According to some American researchers, the Pakistanis were able to cite the fact their installation was far from the reach of Israel as the reason for other Islamic countries to support their nuclear weapons program, on the assumption that the Israelis were likely to destroy any other effort within their reach.”

leak: a disclosure of secret or confidential information; specifically, an ostensibly accidental disclosure by a government official to the news media, actually intended to produce an effect: in full news leak.
“The Americans leaked stories to the effect that during 1968 there were suggestions from the Soviet Union that either there should be a joint attack on the Chinese facilities, or that the U.S. should look away and allow the Soviets to destroy Chinese nuclear facilities.”

gendarme: a police officer, especially a French police officer
“Is this the beginning of a process of legitimization of ‘assertive disarmament’ by some nuclear weapons powers that have appointed themselves international gendarmes?”

nuclear reactor: a device for initiating and maintaining a controlled nuclear chain reaction in a fissile fuel for the production of energy or additional fissile material
“The Israeli attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor was the first attempt at what some Americans have euphemistically called ‘assertive disarmament.’”

pacifist: person who opposes the use of force under any circumstances; specifically, refusal for reasons of conscience to participate in war or any military action.
“The first person to suggest such a pre-emptive disarming strike was Bertrand Russell, the late British pacifist and philosopher, who proposed in the 1940s that the Soviet installations should be destroyed before they developed the A-bomb.”

Politburo: the executive committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and of certain other nations
“The Soviet Politburo considered this one of Nikita Khrushchev's eccentric schemes, for which he was divested of his office.”

pre-emptive: describing an action taken to check another action beforehand
“The first person to suggest such a pre-emptive disarming strike was Bertrand Russell, the late British pacifist and philosopher, who proposed in the 1940s that the Soviet installations should be destroyed before they developed the A-bomb.”

reactor core: The center of a nuclear reactor, it contains the fuel which runs the reactor and the control elements.
“The Israelis destroyed the reactor cores which were about to be shipped from the French port of Toulon to Iraq in 1978.”
Source: University of Wisconsin Nuclear Reactor Tour

signatory: any of the persons, states, etc. that have signed a document
“Iraq is a signatory to the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and its reactors were under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.”

U-2 photographs: photographs taken from U-2 aircraft: single-seat, American high-altitude jet reconnaissance and research aircraft. A prototype flew in 1955. On May 1, 1960, a U-2 was shot down over the Soviet Union, and in 1962 a U-2 took photographs that confirmed the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba. The U-2 had a top speed of 494 miles (795 km) per hour and a service ceiling of approximately 70,000 feet (21,000 m).
“When the Chinese set up their test facilities in Lopnor in 1964 the Americans—alerted by U-2 photographs—announced to the world that the Chinese test was only days away.”
Source: Encyclopædia Britannica

uranium enrichment facility: Uranium found in nature consists largely of two isotopes, U-235 and U-238. The production of energy in nuclear reactors is from the ‘fission’ or splitting of the U-235 atoms, a process which releases energy in the form of heat. U-235 is the main fissile isotope of uranium. Natural uranium contains 0.7% of the U-235 isotope. The remaining 99.3% is mostly the U-238 isotope which does not contribute directly to the fission process (though it does so indirectly by the formation of fissile isotopes of plutonium). Uranium-235 and U-238 are chemically identical, but differ in their physical properties, particularly their mass....The difference in mass between U-235 and U-238 allows the isotopes to be separated and makes it possible to increase or "enrich" the percentage of U-235. All enrichment processes, directly or indirectly, make use of this small mass difference....Most present day reactors...use enriched uranium where the proportion of the U-235 isotope has been increased from 0.7% to about 3 or up to 4%. (For comparison, uranium used for nuclear weapons would have to be enriched in plants specially designed to produce at least 90% U-235.)
“Even after the test there were suggestions in the U.S. that the Chinese uranium enrichment facility at Lanchow should be bombed.”
Source: Uranium Information Center, Melbourne, Australia



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