Wednesday, February 27, 2013

New Evidence That Iran Is Also Trying To Produce Plutonium

Up until now, the concern (at least publicly) is Iran enriching uranium in order to build nuclear weapons. The Telegraph now reports that there is evidence that Iran is also working on producing plutonium which could be used to build a nuclear device. From the article:
The Telegraph can disclose details of activity at a heavily-guarded Iranian facility from which international inspectors have been barred for 18 months.
The images, taken earlier this month, show that Iran has activated the Arak heavy-water production plant.
Heavy water is needed to operate a nuclear reactor that can produce plutonium, which could then be used to make a bomb.
The images show signs of activity at the Arak plant, including a cloud of steam that indicates heavy-water production.
Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency have been unable to visit the facility since August 2011 and Iran has refused repeated requests for information about the site, which is 150 miles south-west of the capital, Tehran.
Western governments and the IAEA have held information about activity at Arak for some time.
But today’s exclusive images [procured by the Telegraph from commercial satellite images] are the first to put evidence of that activity into the public domain.
... The striking image of steam over the Arak heavy-water complex is a vivid demonstration that the regime has more than one pathway to a potential nuclear weapon.
... the new images of Arak highlight the progress Iran has made on facilities that could allow it to produce plutonium, potentially giving the country a second option in developing a nuclear weapon.
... Other images of the area around Arak show that numerous anti-aircraft missile and artillery sites protect the plant, more than are deployed around any other known nuclear site in the country.
The missile defences are most heavily concentrated to the west of the plant, which would be the most direct line of approach for any aircraft delivering a long-range strike from Israel.
The Arak complex has two parts: the heavy-water plant and a nuclear reactor.
Unlike the heavy-water plant, the reactor has been opened to examination by inspectors from the IAEA. During a visit earlier this month, the inspectors noted that cooling and “moderator circuit” pipes at the reactor were “almost complete”.
Iran has told the IAEA that it will begin operating the reactor at Arak in the first three months of 2014.
The country still lacks the technology to reprocess plutonium and use it for a weapon.
But North Korea has successfully developed that technology, and some analysts speculate that Iran could do the same.
Mark Fitzpatrick, a former US State Department official at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, suggested that Arak could be part of a process that might trigger Western strikes on Iran.

One option for the Iranian regime would be to acquire the necessary reprocessing technology from North Korea, he said.
“By then, the option of a military strike on an operating reactor would present enormous complications because of the radiation that would be spread,” he explained.
“Some think Israel’s red line for military action is before Arak comes online.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Docent's Memo (Jan. 19, 2022)

  VIDEO: " Primary Arms SLx 1X MicroPrism "--InRange TV (12 min.) Firearms/Self-Defense/Shooting : You can't stop the signal: ...