Tuesday, December 18, 2007

More Peaceful Nuclear Work By Iran

Iran received the first fuel shipment from Russia for its light water nuclear power plant at Bushehr. Simultaneously, Iran announced that it will build another nuclear power plant, "360-megawatt indigenous power plant in Darkhovein." Iran is using this claim to justify their continued enrichment of nuclear fuel at Natanz.

No word yet if they have broken ground on such a plant, which would be years in contruction, and whether it would be a heavy water reactor. That would add a bare patina of justification for Iran’s operational heavy water plant. Nor is there any word as to why they need to be continuing to enrich fuel now when the earliest need to fuel at Darkhovein will be many years in the future. Fuel enriched to about 5% HEU for use in a power plant only has a three to four year life when it comes through the enrichment process. The same enrichment process for fuel rods can be continued, however, and used to enrich uranium to weapons grade 85% or greater HEU.

No matter. We have been assured by our intelligence community that this is legitimate civilian work and that there is no need for any force, Iran's theocracy being rational. Let us hope they are right, because there is nothing we can do now that will stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. And because of that, we will be unable to stop nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. God help us.

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