Many Types of Isotopes
by Gordon Prather
neo-crazies in and out of government lied to you last
year about Iraq's "nuclear programs," and this year they're
lying to you about Iran's.
constitutes lying? Well, either making an untrue statement with
intent to deceive or deliberately creating a false impression.
neo-crazies told you right up till the eve of President Bush's "pre-emptive
strike" that Iraq had reconstituted deep underground
and widely dispersed the uranium-enrichment facilities totally
destroyed back in 1991. That was an untrue statement, made with
intent to deceive you.
also told you that a uranium-enrichment capability was a necessary
and sufficient condition for Iraq to have nukes within a year or
two. That was an untrue statement, made to create a false impression.
see, if you want to make a gun-type nuke, a uranium-enrichment capability
is certainly necessary. And, if you have two 60-pound sub-critical
pieces of weapons-grade enriched-uranium, all you have to do to
make a gun-type nuke is bang them together.
if you want to make an enriched-uranium implosion-type nuke
which is what Saddam was attempting to make a uranium-enrichment
capability is by no means "sufficient."
Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei had reported to the
U.N. Security Council that, as of March 2003, there had been no
attempt whatsoever to reconstitute Iraq's uranium-enrichment capability.
Furthermore, the CIA's Iraq Survey Group spent a billion dollars
in the year following the invasion, searching everywhere and interviewing
all the "usual suspects."
Not only was ElBaradei right about there being no reconstituted
uranium-enrichment capability, but there had also been no attempt
since 1991 to design or test the high-explosive system absolutely
required for an implosion-type nuke.
now the neo-crazies would have you believe that Iran has an underground,
widely dispersed uranium-enrichment capability. And that uranium-enrichment
capability is a sufficient condition for Iran to have nukes in a
year or two.
while the neo-crazies have been making that claim, Iran has been
allowing ElBaradei to conduct in Iran the same sort of go-anywhere
see-anything inspection he conducted in Iraq.
ElBaradei has concluded that all "nuclear material" in
Iran has been accounted for and has not been diverted to activities
prohibited by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
there is no Non-Proliferation Treaty issue for the IAEA Board to
refer to the U.N. Security Council.
ElBaradei has found no evidence that Iran has yet introduced "nuclear
material" into the uranium-enrichment facilities under construction.
important, because until "nuclear material" was actually
introduced, Iran was under no obligation to report to the IAEA the
construction of the gas centrifuge plants at Natanz.
or not, Iran has placed "all essential components of centrifuges
as defined by the Agency" under IAEA seals, except for 20 sets
of centrifuge components to be used "for R&D purposes."
Even then, Iran also offered to provide the IAEA with access to
that R&D program "if requested."
the neo-crazies promptly went bonkers. They charged this R&D
"exception" proved the Iranians had no intention of abiding
by the agreement they made with Germany, France and Great Britain
to "suspend" all uranium-enrichment related activities
and that this latest Iranian perfidy had to immediately be brought
before the U.N. Security Council for action.
don't let those neo-crazy charges create a false impression.
see, Iran also stated that "AEOI (the Atomic Energy Organization
of Iran) is not intending to use nuclear materials in any of the
tests associated with the said R&D."
centrifuges are not used exclusively for uranium isotope separation.
Cascades of gas centrifuges are used to separate in kilogram
quantities for commercial sale the isotopes of zinc, tungsten,
molybdenum, krypton, xenon, germanium, iron, sulfur, oxygen and
example, large quantities of zinc-acetate-dihydrate are used as
an additive in water-cooled water-moderated nuclear power plants
particularly those burning plutonium-uranium mixed-oxide
[MOX] fuels to reduce corrosion and cracking of key components.
However, the use of naturally occurring zinc would result in increased
radiation exposure to plant workers, because Zn-64 constituting
48 percent by isotopic concentration in naturally occurring zinc
is transformed into radioactive Zn-65 in the reactor environment.
Hence, the lucrative market for large quantities of "depleted"
zinc-acetate-dihydrate wherein the Zn-64 isotopic concentration
is reduced to less than 1 percent.
until IAEA-safeguarded "nuclear materials" are actually
introduced into them, the origin of the centrifuges, the construction
of cascades and the operation thereof is none of the IAEA's beeswax.
And who knows? Maybe the Iranian's secret plan all along has been
to take over the "depleted zinc" market.
James Gordon Prather [send
him mail] has served as a policy-implementing official for national
security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency,
the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department
of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department
of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for
national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla.
ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the
Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather
had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory
in New Mexico.
© 2004 Gordon Prather