"Nightmare Scenario: Iran at Point of Going Nuclear

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By WILLIAM MAYER

May 30, 2012 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - preceding text goes here.

Chris this is the short synopsis

Uranium is mined and then sent to the first processing plant where it's ground up and purified to remove as many substance as possible other than uranium . It is then called yellowcake.

The yellowcake is sent to another processing plant where it is further treated by adding hydrofluoric acid. This cycle produces uranium hexafluoride - UF6 - which is a solid at room temperature.

The UF6 is then sent to the centrifuge array. The product is placed in a depressurized chamber and heated. The UF6 sublimates into a gas.

The UF6 gas is then fed into the centrifuge array where it is spun at very rate of speed, over 100,000 rpm. This separates the gas, removing the impurities. What remains is uranium 235 - U235 - during this processing U238 is separated out because it is not fissionable.. U235 is the material required to make a nuclear bomb based upon nuclear fission [a hydrogen bomb requires a nuclear fusion reaction. Fusion is the process that sustains our sun.

Caveat: In order to make a weapon you need to be able to start and maintain a chain reaction within the U235. This requires a minimum amount, called the critical mass.

The first nuclear weapon ever used in warfare was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, the last year of World War II. The bomb was code named Little Boy and weighed nearly 10,000 lbs. It's destructive power was the roughly the equivalent 15 killotons of the conventional explosive TNT - about 33,000 tons.

The bomb was a crude device as judged by modern standards, because it was very inefficient, converting only small percentage of the critical mass into energy. Pointing to its crudity, the mechanism employed within the weapon consisted of two masses of U235, neither of which was critical though one was larger than the other. The smaller mass was fashioned as an artillery projectile and fired into the bigger mass through an artillery cannon barrel. The two combined to become sufficient in mass to sustain the transfer of matter into energy, the fission chain reaction.

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Code following and sub for above:

Uranium is mined and sent to the first processing plant where it's ground up and purified to remove as many substances as possible other than uranium. This product is known as yellowcake. The yellowcake is sent to another processing plant where it is further treated by combining with hydrofluoric acid. This cycle produces Uranium Hexafluoride - UF6 - which is a solid at room temperature. The UF6 is then sent to the centrifuge array. The product is heated and the UF6 sublimates into gas.

The UF6 gas is fed into centrifuges where it is spun at speeds approaching 100,000 rpm. This results in the heavier Uranium 238 atoms collecting on the outside of the centrifuge wall while the lighter Uranium 235 atoms remain near the inside of the centrifuge where they are collected at a higher concentration. After processing through thousands of centrifuges both in series and parallel, what remains is a product with a much higher percentage of Uranium 235. To place this in perspective; commercial nuclear plants generally use an enrichment of U235 no greater than 5% while nuclear bombs are generally 90% or greater.

Caveat: In order to make a weapon you need to be able to start and maintain a chain reaction within the U235. This requires a minimum amount, called the critical mass.

The first nuclear weapon ever used in warfare was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, the last year of World War II. The bomb was code named Little Boy and weighed nearly 10,000 lbs. Its destructive power was roughly 15 killotons, equivalent to 15 thousand tons [33,000?] of the conventional explosive TNT.

The bomb was a crude device as judged by modern standards because it was very inefficient, converting only a small percentage of the critical mass into energy. Pointing to its crudity, the mechanism employed within the weapon consisted of two masses of enriched Uranium, neither of which was critical though one was larger than the other. The smaller mass was fashioned as a projectile and fired into the bigger mass through an artillery cannon barrel. The two combined to create an uncontrolled fission chain reaction.






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Initial rough conclusion:

...At the most basic level, once Iran has such a weapon, regardless of its crudity or size [even a big cumbersome one like Little Boy, built with a 60+ year old level of technology, which could simply become the world's most deadly IED] the current international balance of power will forever be changed to the detriment of all nations not in league with Iran's Mullocracy and its allies. Such a drastic change will quickly destabilize the Middle East which is already a tinderbox soaked in napalm. Technologically dvanced ME nations will be forced to engage in an arms race that will dwarf that which preceded the last two global wars. That destabilization will undoubtedly quickly result in a worst scenario crisis - it will set a consortium of bad actors, Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran [possibly also N. Korea] against the United States, Western Europe and Israel.

The diplomatic skills to have even an iffy chance of negotiating around the resultant very real possibility of an international nuclear exchange are entirely absent from this administration. After three and a half years of observing the conduct of the United States' foreign policy, only a fool would believe that President Obama, his incompetent national security team including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, would have what it takes to head off such an unprecedented crisis. This isn't something President Obama can "slow jam."

If Mr. Obama is sent packing as a result of the 2012 elections, the incoming team will face a unbelievably daunting task - even assuming that the new CIC can almost instantly assemble a team with the necessary skills and fortitude...

Reasearch

Urenco corporate publications

http://www.urenco.com/content/69/publications.aspx

Bing image, Uranium Fluoride 8 centrifuge array showing parallel and seriial arrangements. image in folder Iran_Nuclear

Urenco complex, showing approx footprint that a modern uranium processing operation would require .pdf pg 21

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cent room

http://www.peakoil.org.au/news/nuclear/centrifuge.jpg

fuel cycle

http://www.fas.org/programs/ssp/nukes/fuelcycle/centrifuges/_images/cascade_square.jpg 21

2012 PipeLineNews.org LLC, William Mayer. All rights reserved.