Posts tagged nuclear
The greatest threat to world peace
The Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, American’s scientific watchdog on world nuclear weapons production, estimates that by Dec. 2008, Iran had accumulated enough U-235 to fuel one nuclear bomb; by 2009, enough for a second, by August 2010 material for a third bomb and by April 2011, enough enriched uranium for a fourth bomb.
These estimates presuppose an Iranian decision to further process low-enriched material to weapons grade – a process taking no more than a couple of months. Iran, says the Wisconsin Project, is consolidating its status as a “virtual” nuclear weapon state – meaning it can set about building a bomb whenever its rulers so decide.
In its twice-annual report published Thursday, June 2, Wisconsin revealed three further developments in Iran’s nuclear drive:
1. Since November 2010, when Iran stopped enriching uranium in all cascades at the Natanz plant for about a week (the report does not give the reason for the stoppage – possibly a Stuxnet virus invasion of its computer control system), the enrichment rate has increased. The 5,000 centrifuges spinning in February 2011 increased to nearly 6,000 in May 2011.
debkafile’s Iranian sources add: Prof. Ferei-doon Abbasi Davani has taken over as director of the enrichment complex at Natanz. He was formerly in charge of combating the Stuxflex worm. Last November, Prof. Abbasi Dayani escaped with light injuries from an attack by a pair of motorcyclists who attached a sticky bomb to his car. It occurred near the Imam Hossein University in Tehran where most of Iran’s secret nuclear labs are located.
2. Wisconsin quotes the International Atomic Energy Agency’s May 2011 report that one of its seals was broken in the “feed and withdrawal area” of the Natanz enrichment plant.
This means that Iran took action to conceal the real amount of is enriched uranium stockpile from the nuclear watchdog and the fact, as Wisconsin reports, that it has accumulated enough material for building four nuclear bombs. Its steady progress will go undetected until the next IAEA inventory in October or November.
debkafile’s intelligence sources point out that Tehran has won a period of six to seven months for keeping its nuclear activities hidden from oversight with no one in the West or in Israel able to find out what is going on at the Natanz enrichment plant.
3. Wisconsin goes on to state: “Uncertainties about the number of centrifuges operated by Iran make it difficult to draw a conclusion about the performance of individual machines.” More machines may be switched on when IAEA inspectors are not present while less, more advanced centrifuges, may take over after the inspection is over.
Our sources stress that these revelations are highly pertinent to the controversy taking place in Israel over the surprising comments by ex-Mossad Director Meir Dagan.
Dubbed “Mister Stop the Bomb” for reputedly directing covert operations that held off Iran’s nuclear threat for five or six years – though this may an exaggeration – Dagan suddenly began speaking out strongly against any Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear program. Wednesday, June 1, he implicitly warned that such an attack would precipitate a regional war in which Israel would fare badly.
Israel’s political and defense establishments have always had their doves but Dagan is sounding one like for the first time. The controversy around his comments reflects a similar argument afoot in US political and defense circles over whether the time has come to smash Iran’s nuclear capability or stand by and let the Islamic Republic becomes a “virtual nuclear weapon state.”
In the last three years, the two schools of thought for and against military action against Iran have been joined by a third, which affirms that the US and Israel can live with an Iran armed with one or two nuclear bombs because this number would be dwarfed even by Israel’s reputed stock let alone the American arsenal. Therefore, until Iran stockpiles a serous arsenal of weapons, it does not constitute an existential threat to Israel.
The Wisconsin Project’s latest report explodes this argument because it exposes the steady accumulation of materials for four bombs in two-and-a-half years and Iran’s dogged advance toward a serious arsenal unless it is stopped. That is the reason why the military option is back on the table in Jerusalem. source – DEBKA
Buildup to war
New satellite images have shown the alarming speed at which Pakistan is constructing a weapons-grade nuclear reactor. The aerial images, taken on April 20, show the rapid building progress of the fourth reactor to produce plutonium in Pakistan’s Khushab facility.
The site was barren in 2009 and the facility ‘costing billions’ was undetectable by satellite just 17 months ago, but has since grown at an alarming rate. The facility in Khushab is the fastest growing nuclear program in the world, with the speed of the latest reactor’s construction prompting concern from U.S. officials.
Pakistan first revealed the Khushab site and its plutonium production facility in 1998 after the country’s first nuclear test. Although the U.S. has provided Pakistan with $20 billion in military and economic aid since September 11, 2001, it has been said that there is ‘no explanation’ as to how Pakistan are paying for the latest reactor.
Paul Brannon, a nuclear analyst with the Institute for Science and International Security, said: ‘The buildup is remarkable.
‘You can see the square of the reactor building, you can see the inner square of the reactor hall where the actual reactor goes, and if you measure the dimensions of the building it matches up exactly to the second and the third reactors. ‘And that nobody in the U.S. or in the Pakistani government says anything about this — especially in this day and age—is perplexing.’ source – Daily Mail
The madness continues
Moscow, April 8 (IANS) Iran Friday began reloading nuclear fuel into the reactor of its Bushehr power plant, Xinhua reported. The refueling is being carried out after a series of checks completed on the plant, said Russian state-run contractor Atomstroyexport, which is carrying out the task.
‘On April 8, 2011, loading of fuel into the core began at Bushehr,’ the company said in a statement, adding all operations are being carried out as per schedule agreed with Iran. To ensure safety, it was necessary to remove the fuel from the reactor earlier, as experts had found small metal pieces in a cooling system, it said. It said the Bushehr plant has fully complied with the nuclear non-proliferation regime and international laws. It, however, didn’t say when the plant would be commissioned.
The construction of the plant started in 1975 by German companies. However, the work was halted after the US imposed an embargo on hi-tech machinery supplies to Iran after the 1979 revolution. In 1998, Russia had signed a contract with Iran to complete the construction. In February this year, upon Russia’s request, Iran temporarily removed the fuel from the reactor core in order to conduct a number of tests and carry out technical work. source- Yahoo News
Workers at the disaster-stricken Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan say they expect to die from radiation sickness as a result of their efforts to bring the reactors under control, the mother of one of the men tells Fox News.
The so-called Fukushima 50, the team of brave plant workers struggling to prevent a meltdown to four reactors critically damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, are being repeatedly exposed to dangerously high radioactive levels as they attempt to bring vital cooling systems back online.
Speaking tearfully through an interpreter by phone, the mother of a 32-year-old worker said: “My son and his colleagues have discussed it at length and they have committed themselves to die if necessary to save the nation.
“He told me they have accepted they will all probably die from radiation sickness in the short term or cancer in the long-term.”
The woman spoke to Fox News on the condition of anonymity because, she said, plant workers had been asked by management not to communicate with the media or share details with family members in order to minimize public panic.” source – Fox News
Out of control
TOKYO — Radioactivity in water at one earthquake-crippled Japanese nuclear reactor soared to 10 million times its usual level Sunday, prompting the plant operator to evacuate workers, local media reported. The report about Fukushima Dai-ichi reactor No. 2 came as Tokyo Electric Power Co. workers were grappling with how to remove and store highly radioactive water pooling there and in two other troubled units.
The nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan has been leaking radiation making its way into food and water. The discovery of puddles with radiation levels 10,000 times the norm sparked a temporary evacuation of the plant on Thursday. Two workers who stepped into the water were hospitalized with possible burns. The development set back feverish efforts to start up a crucial cooling system knocked out in a massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami, but has helped experts get closer to determining the source of the dangerous leak.” source – MSNBC
Only option left
(Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday the world must make clear that Iran would face “credible military action” if sanctions do not shut down Tehran’s disputed nuclear program.
Netanyahu, in an interview on CNN, said it was clear Iran was pursing its nuclear ambitions despite international sanctions and was getting a lot closer to obtaining nuclear arms.
“They have enriched enough material now almost for three nuclear bombs,” he said. “They still have to re-enrich it again but that is what they are doing.
“The only thing that will work is if Iran knew that if sanctions fail there will be a credible military option.”
Asked what would constitute a credible military action, Netanyahu said: “It means action that will knock out their nuclear facility.” source – Reuters
Is a total meltdown inevitable
The chief of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Wednesday that all the water is gone from one of the spent fuel pools at Japan’s most troubled nuclear plant, but Japanese officials denied it.
If NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko is correct, this would mean there’s nothing to stop the fuel rods from getting hotter and ultimately melting down. The outer shell of the rods could also ignite with enough force to propel the radioactive fuel inside over a wide area. Jaczko did not say Wednesday how the information was obtained, but the NRC and U.S. Department of Energy both have experts on site at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex of six reactors. He said the spent fuel pool of the complex’s Unit 4 reactor has lost water.
Jaczko said officials believe radiation levels are extremely high, and that could affect workers’ ability to stop temperatures from escalating.
Japan’s nuclear safety agency and Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the complex, deny water is gone from the pool. Utility spokesman Hajime Motojuku said the “condition is stable” at Unit 4.” source – NPR