September 28, 1995
By Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D.
If you think the closest the United States ever came to nuclear
disaster was at Three Mile Island, you probably aren't aware of
communist dictator Fidel Castro's latest little construction
Just 250 miles from Miami, the United States is facing what
could be its greatest nuclear threat, in the form of a couple of
Russian-designed nuclear reactors under construction in Juragua,
near Cienfuegos. The Cubans are building not one, but two, nuclear
accidents waiting to happen.
What is so dangerous about these reactors? Here are just a few
-- by no means all -- of the problems:
So the tale of two Chernobyls continues.
With the completion of Castro's nuclear reactors, Cuba will gain
a "menacing and even devastating new policy lever" in its relations
with the United States, according to Robinson. He says a Cuban
nuclear accident would have a similar effect as "the detonation of
a nuclear weapon near the United States." Depending on the winds
and other weather conditions, nuclear fallout could spread west as
far as Texas and race up the eastern seaboard to Washington, D.C.,
within possibly four days.
Oddly, the environmental community, usually foaming at the mouth
over this type of scenario, is silent. Apparently, if the nuclear
violator is one of their political heroes, Greenpeace, Worldwatch
and other like-minded organizations are not nearly as anxious to
chain themselves to construction equipment and halt progress on a
So what can be done?
The fact is that short of a military strike -- which no one is
seriously contemplating -- there's not much America can do. The
Cienfuegos reactor project is just one more reminder of how vital
it is that the United States do everything in its power --
continuing the economic embargo, intensifying it by bringing in
other nations, keeping funding for Radio and TV Marti -- to oust
Castro and his cronies from power in Cuba once and for all.
In the meantime, Congress also should call on Russian President
Boris Yeltsin to remove all technical and financial assistance from
the project. If Russia refuses, it should face a cutoff of U.S.
Of course, whether the Clinton administration is willing to take
these steps depends on how worried it is. I think we should be more
than a little concerned about two Chernobyl-style reactors being
built -- not all the way across the Pacific Ocean like the North
Korean reactors -- but only 250 miles from U.S. shores.
But that's just my opinion.
Return to The Heritage Foundation's Commentarysection.
J. Feulner, Ph.D. is president of The Heritage
Foundation, a Washington-based public policy research
ED092895a: Chernobyl Times Two
Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D.
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