Feeds

Iran 'eight years' from operational nuke

President's uranium enrichment claims 'misleading'

Application security programs and practises

Experts have calculated that "severe technical difficulties" in Iran's nuclear programme mean it's eight years away from an operational nuclear weapon, the Telegraph reports.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared on 9 April that the country had commenced enrichment of uranium on an "industrial scale", but scientists call this "misleading" and estimate it could take Iran four years just to produce enough weapons-grade product for a single nuke.

Norman Dombey, emeritus professor of theoretical physics at Sussex University, explained: "It's very difficult to enrich uranium. It calls for several different scientific and engineering disciplines. Iran hasn't yet shown that it has mastered the problem."

Specifically, Dombey says it could take the Islamic Republic two years to "master the process" of running the gas centrifuges required for uranium enrichment. After that, a further two years would be required to knock up enough to make a bomb. Thereafter, it would have to build a warhead suitable for delivery via missile, giving a total of eight years, according to Mohammed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Authority.

The current state of play is this: Iran has told the International Atomic Energy Agency that it has installed 1,312 centrifuges at its Natanz facility, which has capacity for 3,000. As and when it has the full complement, they must be "fitted together to form 18 cascades", after which operatives can introduce gaseous uranium into the centrifuges.

The centrifuges spin at high speed to separate the fissile uranium-235, which must ultimately be enriched to 90 per cent purity if it's to later go bang*.

However, Iran will have to "spin all the centrifuges inside a vacuum without any interruption for a period of about one year", during which time the smallest speck of dust in the works can ruin the whole process, requiring a complete restart. Likewise, mechanical or power failure can send months of work down the pan.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Next page: Bootnote

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.