Monday, July 30, 2007

The Guardian: But where are the nuclear power plants? 

The Islamic Republic of Iran invited The Guardian, along with other presumably sympathetic media outlets, to look at its nuclear fuel facility. Even The Guardian came away persuaded:

With global tensions rising over Iran's nuclear intentions, the doors of the Isfahan plant were opened last week to a small group of journalists from Europe and America in a rare bid for transparency by the embattled but determined government in Tehran....

The very fact that the machinery is humming at Isfahan puts Iran in contravention of UN security council resolutions, calling for all work related to uranium enrichment to be suspended.

The tour given to foreign journalists was a show of openness which backfired when the government changed its mind at the last minute over what it was prepared to show. But the trip was also meant to send a clear message: that Iran has no intention of giving up any part of its nuclear endeavour, which it regards as entirely within its rights.

The Iranian government has dug in deep, convincing its population that mastery of uranium fuel production is synonymous with development and prosperity.

Before the Isfahan tour, a promotion film was screened showing the production of the first UF6 at the plant in 2004. The Iranian government also claims to have mastered the next step in the process, the engineering feat involved in spinning the UF6 in a high-speed centrifuge and separating out a variant, or isotope, of uranium, that is highly fissile - uranium-235. The work is being done at a centrifuge plant being built in Natanz, to the northeast of Isfahan.

Spinning the UF6 gas until it is up to 5% rich in U-235 produces nuclear fuel. Keep spinning until it is 90% enriched and you have the makings of a bomb.

That - combined with the fact that Iran omitted to tell the IAEA about Natanz until its existence was revealed by an opposition group in 2002 - lie at the roots of the global scepticism over Iran's programme.

But there is another huge question mark hanging over Isfahan and Natanz: why is the government in such a rush to enrich fuel, when it has no nuclear power plants in which to use it?

The Iranians still need to work on their flackery.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jul 30, 12:06:00 PM:

Even if the Russian plant now being built for the Iranians were operational, fueling it is another matter entirely.

You can have the "fuel" (isotopes of uranium or plutonium), as it were, but machining it and putting it in the correctly engineered fuel rods is another matter. It would be illuminating if the Iranians could show an agreement with the Russians, as to the Irnians supplying the processed uranium to Russia and the Russians making up the fuel rods.

**Speculation alert! That might also make the Russians complicit in breaking a non-proliferation agreement? Not sure about that.

The actual process of making up the fuel rods is pretty proprietary by the designer/builder, and not a trivial engineering exercise. The ratio of fuels (isotopes) and their geometry in the rods is dependent on exact knowledge of the fuel purity.
Don't worry, be happy.


By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Mon Jul 30, 12:57:00 PM:

Don't let a minor detail like lack of a plant interfere with the overall narrative.

We'll get Bill Clinton on it ASAP and we'll be giving the Iranians a couple of GE plants in a jiffy like he did with the Norks.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jul 30, 01:35:00 PM:

That's just it. Actually FUELING a reactor is a very technical and exacting enterprise. The Iranians MAY have a grasp of theory, but they lack the actual engineering expertise to do it.
As TH implies, they're LYING.

But don't let that spoil the narrative.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jul 30, 02:30:00 PM:

The Guardian is, of course, sympathetic to the Islamic Republic. Its Islamic values chime harmoniously with that paper's strict social conservatism.

Don't rely on their reporting AND chip in your snide two-penny's worth.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jul 30, 02:53:00 PM:

Wasn't it Jimmy Carter, Nobel winner, who negotiated to give the Norks their nukes?

Let's give credit where credit is due.  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Mon Jul 30, 08:16:00 PM:

Actually FUELING a reactor is a very technical and exacting enterprise.

Sure, but they're not starting at zero information either. There's all sorts of research and data publicly available on this.

IOW, I would not underestimate their engineers. The country may be run by loons, but many of their engineers go to the same schools ours do.

Commercial nuclear power has been operating for close to 50 years now. I'm sure the Iranians can research this 50 year history as well as anyone else. With the collapse of the old Soviet Union, there are plenty of highly skilled nuclear power mercenaries out there.  

By Blogger Papa Ray, at Wed Aug 01, 11:25:00 AM:

I'm in a hurry this morning, so I'll just say that Mad AJ is not worrying about fueling any reactors or unemployment, lack of gasoline, unrest or rebellion or even the number of whores on the streets.

Why..well, listen to him and his boss. That is all you need to do.

He is going to be the 12th Imam's deputy no matter what or what anyone else says. He is going to prepare for the return of the 12th. How, by building nukes, putting them on missiles, firing them at anybody and everybody he can.

Then the 12th Imam can come as predicted and promised in their looney, depraved cult of a religion.

Here are a couple of comments I made back in December 05, at Atlas Shrugs.



Papa Ray  

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