Skip to comments.Iran puts nuclear plant into operation
Posted on 08/26/2006 3:04:56 AM PDT by maquiladora
Iran has announced that a heavy water reactor plant south-west of Tehran has been put into operation.
The plutonium by-product of the plant could be used to make atomic war-heads but Iran insists it only intends to build nuclear power plants.
The move comes days before a UN deadline for Iran to halt uranium enrichment, the part of Tehran's atomic programme that most worries the West.
A Reuters witness said on Saturday the president inaugurated the project and toured the site at Khondab, which is near Arak, 190 kilometers (120 miles) southwest of the capital Tehran. The plant's plutonium by-product could be used to make atomic warheads.
A small group of correspondents from foreign news organizations were taken with Iranian journalists to Khondab, the site near Arak where the heavy-water project is being built, to attend the presidential speech.
The complex was protected by dozens of anti-aircraft guns and surrounded by a four-meter high barbed wire fence. Photographers and TV journalists were asked not to take any images except in areas where they were specifically permitted.
(Excerpt) Read more at rte.ie ...
Why do some countries still use heavy water reactors when there are light water ones? Are heavy ones the only ones which produce nuclear weapon material? If so, isn't this a hint to those people who believe that Iran is peaceful?
Why do some countries still use heavy water reactors when there are light water ones? Are heavy one the only ones which produce nuclear weapon material? If so, isn't this a hint to those people who believe that Iran is peaceful?
Hey at least they're willing to begin "serious negotiations". /s
LOL. Then why did he say Israel should be removed from the map? Sounds like a threat to me.
yeah, since the whole country is shakier than an ayatollah with dt's.
It's their Oblivion...
Here's hoping for another annoucement by the US and Isreal that the plant is now out of operation. Permanently.
The US should begin discussions on arming the Chetchnians (Russia's mortal enemy) and South Korea and Japan (China's mortal enemy) with nuclear technology.
See how Russia and China like the idea of having THEIR enemies armed with nukes.
Heavy-water reactors can run with unenriched uranium (which Iran has in spades). Light-water reactors require moderately-enriched uranium (of course, it's not all that hard to go from moderately-enriched to highly-enriched when the IAEA wants you to have nukes under the table).
Are heavy ones the only ones which produce nuclear weapon material?
No, but because there is more U-238 in unenriched uranium, heavy-water reactors produce more plutonium (specifically Pu-239, the bomb-making isotope) than light-water reactors.
For the information about nuclear reactors, much appreciated.
Three possible reasons:
1) A heavy water reactor running on U-235 can "go critical" with natural (aka "un-enriched" uranium), and produce power and plutonium.
2) A heavy water reactor fueled with a mix of enriched U-235 and thorium will "breed" U-233 from the thorium (the U-233 is also fissionable, and can then be used to fuel for "burner" reactors). This technology is being developed by India.
3) A heavy water reactor fueled with enriched U-235 plus U-238 will breed plutonium in larger amounts.
All three have peaceful uses---but #3 points HEAVILY to the production of plutonium for use in fission explosives.
Excellent point. While we are at it let's give our allies nukes. I'm sure countries like Poland, Thailand and Australia could use a few. Somehow I don't think China will try to invade Thailand if they had the bomb and the means to launch them. And Rusiia will not sleep too soundly if Poland had them, even if they are not enemies.
LOL. And Iran should make sure the signs for the plant are written in English so our leftie MSM will photograph it to prove their peaceful aims.
No, heavy water reactors allow the use of unenriched uranium in the fuel cycle, and easy recycling of reprocessed spent fuel. Do a web search for the 'CANDU' reactor design.
Oh, THAT'll work.
All of this is a surprise to who? Check the date on the link.
As others have said, heavy water reactors, such as those at the Savannah River Site, (www.srs.gov) run on non-enriched uranium, and they do produce plutonium. The good news, however, is that it takes an enormous facility to separate the plutonium from the other highly radioactive by-products, and such a facility would be difficult to hide.
Hey UN .. I think you got your answer now
The Alliance of Life vs. The Axis of Death
How mankinds latest challenge is going to turn out we don't know yet, that it is going to be a long war is already clear. It reminds me of the Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times". Which of us thought it would be us living those interesting times. It was only recently that some bozo was declaring the end of history, yea right! And lets get rid of the patent office as well.
What follows is an idea that I have been posting everywhere. I believe this is the campaign the Allies of Life should chose to fight next, in what many are now calling World War IV.
It is said that Captains should study Tactics, and Generals should study Logistics.
Most of the Terrorists are being paid to fight, if this pay, training, and supply was interdicted, many Terrorists would have to go find work. At the present time, Iran is the largest funding source in the world for Terrorists, contributing as much as $1 billion in money, arms, and training every year.
I believe the following would significantly improve our strategic position in the War on Terror.
We should destroy the Iranian oil industry. By Bombing all oil transportation facilities, pipelines, storage tanks, tanker trucks, rolling stock, refinerys etc we can cripple the funding of numerous terrorist organizations, Hezbollah, Hamas, Sadrs militia, Syria, as well as make it more difficult for Iran to buy missiles and such from North Korea, China, and Russia.
It would remove Irans threat that if we attack they will shut off the oil. Making the threat ridiculous and demonstrating that they are a single product state and without oil, and no other product that the world wants, they are nothing. Additionally, by declaring that we will destroy any reconstituting oil industry as long as the Mullacracy remains in charge, we can focus the Iranians blame for the situation, on the Theocracy and their support of Terrorism.
This will also bring home to all the other oil producing countries like Venezuela, Libya, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, etc that they are very vulnerable to the same tactic, and they better start to cooperate, or else.
In addition, this will gain us time for the Iraqis to stand on their own, and free up troops we would need if we have to go into Iran, North Korea or somewhere else. (At the moment I don't think we could, or should put boots on the ground in Iran)
Sure the price of gas will rise, but this will also demonstrate to the world that the USA is not in Iraq for the Oil, and the onus can be shifted on to the Democrats for not allowing more domestic production.
Its not the control of the spice but the power to destroy the spice that is the real power. [From Dune]
It has recently been said that the nuclear production facilities in Iran are so deep underground that we cant reach them with conventional weapons. Perhaps so, but maybe we can starve those facilities of funds. Nuclear weapons are terribly expensive to build, and if Iran now needs all its money to repair vital life supporting infrastructure, it may have to slow or stop its attempt to build an atomic bomb.
Finally, Iran is a state sponsor of Terrorists, it must be punished, and it must be seen to be punished. Irans continued sponsorship of terror is a slap in Americas and President Bushs face, and it must be answered.
The following was written in response to an objection I received about having to pay more for fuel if this strategy was followed.
I think you are overly concerned about the economic considerations, and not concerned enough about the need to prosecute the War on Terror to the utmost.
1. The US has a full Strategic Petroleum Reserve of 700 million Barrels, and we aren't the only nation with an SPR. What good is it if you never use it? The average price paid on that 700 million barrels was $27, so the nation would actually make a profit selling it now.
2. The only reason the US isn't energy independent now is because of political factors. We have 2 Trillion Barrels of oil trapped in oil shale (see www.oiltechinc.com). A technique now exists to turn any organic matter into fuel (see www.powerenergy.com). The US would and should be using much more nuclear power, (if it wasn't for the Ecofreaks we would be now). There are also many areas in the US that are now off limits to drilling. All it takes is the political will to develop all of these. Higher fuel prices will provide that political pressure.
3. Iran is using diplomatic processes, just like the Nazi's before them. So talking to them is a waste of our time, and just gives them time to develop nukes.
4. Iran subsidizes gas at $.10 a gallon, so by destroying the Iranian oil industry not only do we instantly remove 20% of their GDP. We put them all on foot, and in the dark.
5. The mullahs want to take their world back to the 7th century, we should assist them. By going medieval on Iran, we would serve notice on every Authoritarian regime whose only support is oil, that their days are numbered.
6. My recommended solution for American energy independence: a combination of tax breaks, loan guarantees (all energy development is capital intensive), and the government purchase of the patents held by Oil-Tech, and Power Energy, and making them open source.
The following further expands on the idea.
Iran exports 2.5 million barrels of oil a day, Iranian as well as the rest of the Persian Gulf oil producers, produce what is called heavy sour crude which typically sells for ~20% less than the benchmark sweet light crude quoted on the spot markets. So, with that understanding we can roughly calculate the gross income Irans economy generates from oil exports. At a price of $75 Barrel Iran will get 80% of that price for its low grade crude, or $60. $60 x $2.5 million barrels x 365 days = $54.75 billion. Now from the CIA world fact book we can see that Iran has a GNP of $564 billion. So by destroying Irans oil industry their GDP is cut by 10% just from the lost exports. But, the damage is much deeper than that, Iran subsidizes gasoline at $.10 a gallon and Iran consumes 1.425 million barrels of oil a day. With the oil industry destroyed the cars, trucks, trains, and power plants no longer run. That means no machinery, no electricity, and no modern economy. I cant estimate what Irans GDP would decline to, but even the poorest nation on earth still has running cars and electricity. I think much of the population would either revolt or start walking for the boarders. They couldnt import oil because we would destroy tankers, pipelines, and rolling stock. They couldnt attack us in Iraq either, because with out gas they cant logistically supply an attacking army. We on the other hand could perform a ground attack anywhere and they would be incapable of maneuvering in response. Not that I think we should do a ground attack, I dont, but we would be well positioned if we needed to (airborne assaults on nuclear facilities).
"Will the U.S. be willing to take unilateral action of this magnitude? At this stage, I dont believe that the EU will be supporting it. Nor will China or Russia."
You are right of course; the US will have to do this alone. We are the only ones with the Air Forces necessary to accomplish it. All it will take is the President ordering it done, the bombing will take less than 30 days and cost far less than the $50 billion it is going to cost the Iranians in direct loss of export dollars.
"The U.S. would need to ensure that there are contingency plans, prior to any action, in terms of the impact that such action would have on the price of oil and public opinion in the U.S., etc. Also, how long would it take to devise and implement such contingency plans?"
The US has a strategic petroleum reserve that is full (700 million barrels) and while we are using that we can do a crash program of developing oil shale, alcohol, and domestic drilling off shore and in Alaska where politics has prevented development before. As far as public opinion goes, much of Bush's loss of political support is due to his failure to prosecute the War on Terror to the utmost. Americans believe that if you have to go to war you must fight with everything you've got and get it over as soon as possible. Bush has not been doing this, he knows Iran, and Syria are both supporting terrorists and has done nothing. So if Bush just went to war with Iran and Syria his support will most likely rebound back up above 50%.
"I think the U.S. is and will be very capable of destroying major oil fields, pipelines, tankers, etc. as required. But I also think the U.S. will need to have a next step(s) after air strikes. These next steps include, for example, ensuring damage control within Iran, law and order issues within Iran, minimizing potential terrorist attacks that these air strikes will potentially lead to, and ensuring that there will be an interim government to take over from the mullahs immediately after they are toppled and so on IMO, these must be planned out in detail before any military action. Bearing in mind that what happens in Iran will most definitely have a significant impact on the region and the world."
I believe that the mullacracy will take awhile to collapse. So at the same time America starts the war it announces that a New Iranian Army will be trained, Paid, and equipped in Iraq to take over Iran as soon as it is ready and Iranians are encouraged to apply. If we did this US Army forces may never be needed in Iran, or if they are just for a few Thunder Runs to topple the Mullahs, with the New Iranian Army mopping up and taking over. Done this way we could write the Iranian constitution and have the new army swear to it before they are allowed to join, this would make starting a new government much quicker.
"Lastly, will the current U.S. Administration be willing to embark on such major initiative as per your proposal before November or even whilst the current administration is in office?"
This I don't know, but I think it is at least possible. Bush has stepped so far away from the Bush Doctrine, by that I mean he still talks the talk, but no longer walks the walk. Some have said that he is just giving the EU and Iran enough rope to hang themselves, if so Iran's announcement that economic incentives wouldn't stop them from enriching Uranium may have been the sound of the trap door dropping. We will see in the days ahead.
The production of Plutonium by "breeding" is more a function of neutron flux, and not amount of U238 present in the core. So a properly designed reactor using enriched uranium as fuel can create as much (or more) Plutonium than a natural uranium/heavy water reactor. Since a typical fission releases 2 to 3 neutrons (2.43 is average), and when at power, only 1 of the 2.43 neutrons is needed to sustain the power at the same level, the other 1.43 neutrons must no create fissions - but should, optimally, be captured by fertile material. A heavy water reactor is much larger, so less leakage ... but a "seed and blanket" design reactor has the smaller core surrounded by fertile material to capture the neutrons.
Iran is following 2 paths, much like the U.S. in the Manhatten Project. Uranium bombs are supposedly easier to build, but require high enrichment, which is very difficult to do. Plutonium bombs are more complex, but chemical separation of Plutonium from the reactor fuel is much easier than isotopic separation of U235 from U238. The U.S. had gaseous diffusion plants in Tennessee to enrich Uranium ... while they had power reactors and Plutonium extraction process plants in Hanford, WA for the Plutonium side of the effort. Both efforts came to fruition about the same time. The first test bomb (the Trinity test in New Mexico) was a Plutonium bomb/ Hiroshima was a Uranium bomb ... and Nagasaki was the second Plutonium bomb.
Thank you for the information. It was quite helpful
The PRC has been distrustful of Japan since the end of World War II, although relations have improved since then. I'm slightly confused with your wording. Do you think China considers South Korea to be a mortal enemy or just Japan?
Nuclear plants can be prone to disatrous meltdowns. It is very likely that Iran could suffer one of these meltdowns. Of course, it would be entirely accidental and in no way encouraged by any outside force.
All nuclear reactors produce plutonium, light water or heavy water. A significant percentage of the heat from a light water reactor comes from plutonium fission, in fact. The Canadian CANDU heavy water design, however, allows fuel to by cycled through the reactor without shutting it down, so you can pull out the hot fuel before the plutonium is burned up - the Indian nuclear bomb came from a Canadian-supplied reactor as I recall.
I said it tongue in cheek (and notice I said "begin discussing") and in a spitefully sarcastic mannor.
But I stand by my point that we should stop playing footsie with the Russians and Chinese over their willingness to allow Iran to go nuclear.
Certainly the US should not give unnecessary nuclear technology to anyone - period, but by discussing the Chetchnia factor, we would be pointing out the huge hypocritical hole the Russians have dug them selves diplomatically in their willingness to stand by and do nothing while crazies in Iran seek to threaten the world with nuclear bombs.
If Russia were to consider that Chetchnia might end up with that lethal nuclear technology, it might change it's mind with regards to Iran.
we should have dropped an ICBM on this plant while old Achmed
If they go to nuclear power for electrical generation I say, "Bravo!," and wish we'd have the guts to build new plants ourselves.
If everything south of Turkey, north of Egypt and west of Nepal fell into a hole tomorrow, the world could be a lot quieter.
Hvy water reactors use plain unenriched unranium, making energy production simple then the spent fuel rods contain plutonium to make plutonium bombs with (nagasaki)
What are we waiting for?
How long does a heavy water plant have to run before it produces enough Plutonium to make a bomb? Because if the announcment is that the plant came on line today, I have a bad feeling that it actually came on line some time ago and these freaks already have several.
Its not operational yet...
"Iran has been building the heavy-water reactor for two years, and it is not scheduled for completion until 2009."
Good post. Are there still many breeder reactors in the world?