German nuclear trade contributed remarkably little to Germany's economy as a whole and has had devastating impact on worldwide safety.
"In the late 1970s and early 1980s West German nuclear exports made up less than one half percent of total West German exports (Atomwirtschaft, November 1981, 1984). In 1987 the West German government granted export licenses for nuclear goods valued at 2.7 billion DM (West Germany, Deutscher Bundestag, Drucksache 11/2120, p. 1). That year total West German exports came to 528.3 billion DM, which shows that relatively speaking nuclear exports have been insignificant for the western German economy as a whole." (C. Hofhansel, Commercial Competition and National Security: Comparing U.S. and German Export Control Policies, Praeger, 1996, p. 107 - in cache)
(In terms of explanation: Uranium based nuclear weapons need enriched uranium.)
Germany has chosen not to exert adequate retransfer controls in violation of the intentions of Article I of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It has thus assisted at least one non-nuclear-weapon state (Brazil) to manufacture nuclear weapons although it has been made aware of those problems by the Carter administration. (more violations)
The German government stated at the time that the "IAEA equivalent" inspections (as connected to the deal with Brazil) would suffice to preclude diversion of weapon grade material. It was known already then that in large-scale bulk handling plants even strict IAEA material accounting measures are insufficient to detect the diversion of "one significant quantity" (the amount necessary for a Hiroshima-size nuclear explosive): Measurement error exceeds one significant quantity by an order of magnitude, as has recently been experienced in the British reprocessing plant at Sellafield. Similar experience in the US weapons facilities was published in the early 1980s:
"It takes about 15 pounds of plutonium-239 or uranium-235 to fashion a crude nuclear device. The technology to enrich the isotopes is available for about one million dollars. It is clearly possible that terrorists could acquire both the isotopes and the technology needed to enrich them. This possibility has surfaced in the news since the breakup of the Soviet Union, and the subsequent revelation of a thriving "black market" in such materials.
In an inventory taken between October, 1980, and March, 1981, the U.S. government could not account for about 55 pounds of plutonium and 159 pounds of uranium from its weapons facilities. The explanation given for this Missing material was "accounting error" and that the materials were "stuck in the piping" (Critical Mass Energy Journal, July, 1982)."
Source: Nuclear Power and Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Energy Information Service, August 31, 2004 (in cache).
What the United States should do about reprocessing and plutonium use, both domestically and internationally, became an election year issue in 1976. President Gerald Ford issued a nuclear policy statement that plutonium was at the root of the security problem associated with nuclear energy. Once separated from the radioactive waste contained in spent fuel, the material could rapidly be put to military use. President Ford stated that reprocessing, that is chemical separation of plutonium, "should not proceed unless there is a sound reason to conclude that the world community can effectively overcome the associated risks of proliferation." In perhaps his boldest step, he announced that the United States would act domestically in a way that was consistent with what we asked of others. The United States would no longer in its energy planning assume future reliance on plutonium fuel. He said that he believed that we could make use of nuclear energy, and even increase reliance on it, with this security restriction. "We must be sure," he said, "that all nations recognize that the U.S. believes that nonproliferation objectives must take precedence over economic and energy benefits if a choice must be made." To this day, US policy on spent fuel assumes that it will be disposed in a repository on a "once through" basis, that is, without reprocessing, although the current reason for this probably has more to do with economics than with security. (Source: Victor Gilinsky, Marvin Miller, Harmon Hubbard, A Fresh Examination of the Proliferation Dangers of Light Water Reactors, final report of NPEC's project on Light Water Reactors. (in cache, May 26, 2006)
Transatlantic relationship is about concrete issues. Proliferation of dual-use technology is a major one of these. In his address "Weapons of Mass Destruction as Challenge for German-American Relations" (in cache) to the Annual Conference of the Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung, February 12, 2004, Karsten D. Voigt, Coordinator of German-American Cooperation at the Federal Foreign Office (Bundesaussenministerium) referred to "President [George W. Bush']s speech (in cache) yesterday as an offer to engage the world in general, and the European allies in particular, in a strategic dialogue on these important issues". He advocated transatlantic cooperation instead of conflicting disagreement. As of 2. June 2005 concrete action has not been specified on the Foreign Office website.
Are we about to leave a path that we chose in the 1970s and 1980s that disregarded the abyss our economically entirely unnecessary proliferation policy has opened up in the world?
"German authorities provide companies confidential "early warning"
letters that include lists of suspicious entities and strategies used by proliferant
states. Companies forward suspicious enquiries to authorities on a voluntary
basis. In the nuclear area, intelligence officials meet periodically with key
company officials to provide tips to watch for specific illicit procurement trading
companies, technical specifications, and end-users. In turn, they receive
important information from the companies. Upon receiving these tips, a company may
also review its recent enquiry data and report back to the authorities about any
contact with these entities."
This could be a concrete German contribution to more security: In a paper in the International Herald Tribune Mahdi Obeidi, former head of Saddam's military-industrial complex, points towards a problem area - the hundreds of jobless Iraqi scientists and technicians. Germany had closely cooperated with them, knows them - but it seems still unclear as to what extent Germany will absorb them ("Relations between Iraq and Germany", German Federal Foreign Office (Aussenministerium), January 2005, in cache).
The German effort could be similar to
the American Nunn-Lugar program (in cache) encompassing the "Cooperative Threat Reduction" (CTR) programs (in cache) that has engaged 58,000 Soviet-era weapons scientists and workers in peaceful work on the one hand and secured nuclear materials on the other ($10 billion spent by the US since 1992, in 2002 the G-8 nations and the US pledged $ 20 billion and 10 billion, respectively, in the "Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction"). See also
The "Agreement Between the United States of America and the Russian Federation Concerning the Safe and Secure Transportation, Storage, and Destruction of Weapons and the Prevention of Weapons Proliferation," signed June 17, 1992, established the legal framework for the Defense Department's Nunn-Lugar assistance to Russia, spelling out the rights and responsibilities of both countries. It had a duration of seven years; a protocol extending the agreement for another seven years was signed in June 1999. (more in Kenneth Luongo and William Hoehn, An ounce of prevention, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 61, no 5: 28-35, March/April 2005, in cache).
Established by the United States Department of Energy in accordance with the International Atomic Energy Agency and other partners, this initiative "aims to minimize as quickly as possible the amount of nuclear material available that could be used for nuclear weapons" and "will also seek to put into place mechanisms to ensure that nuclear and radiological materials and related equipment...are not used for malicious purposes."
I. The Role of the United States As Compared to That of Germany
after Lawrence Scheinman, "The IAEA and World Nuclear Order", Chapter 6, pp. 176-205, Resources for the Future, Washington, D.C., 1987
1. U.S. has Never Supplied Uranium Enrichment Technology
The United States has never supplied uranium enrichment technology, although it did propose sharing it with an appropriate multinational venture in the early 1970s when confronted with the reality that some of its European allies were planning to proceed with their own enrichment plans. (This aspect of the episode is very well analyzed and documented in Edward F. Wonder, "Nuclear Fuel and American Foreign Policy", An Atlantic Council Policy Study (Boulder, Colorado, Westview Press, 1977).) When the members of the URENCO gas centrifuge enrichment consortium (the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the Federal Republic of Germany) first began discussing a joint arrangement in the early 1960s, however, the United States had prevailed on them to place their activities under strict secrecy to avoid the risk of unnecessary dissemination of a technology bearing high risk for nuclear proliferation.
2. U.S. Policy on Reprocessing of Spent Fuel: Safeguards, Export Limitations and Withdrawal from Commercial Reprocessing
As for reprocessing and plutonium fabrication technology, U.S. bilateral agreements for cooperation had provisions contemplating eventual reprocessing under specific terms, conditions, and limitations.
It was France, not the United States, that first published basic technical information on reprocessing technology. U.S. information sharing was in a real sense provoked by the French initiative at the 1955 Geneva Conference on Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, after which the United States began to publish technical reprocessing information. It did not, however, share industrial know-how or transfer hardware or facilities. The only instance of actual sharing related to the joint EUROCHEMIC venture (a creation of the European Nuclear Energy Agency, the nuclear arm of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development), which was modestly assisted in the hope that any commercial reprocessing activity that might develop on the European continent would be multi-nationalized and thereby avoid wide dispersion of nationally owned and controlled facilities.
In 1972, after the NPT had come into force, but prior to the Indian test and the revelation of France's contracts with South Korea and Pakistan, The Unites States revised its internal rules to tighten the conditions under which any private U.S. individual or concern could assist in the development of reprocessing capabilities abroad. Any such assistance was made contingent on explicit authorization by the executive branch (first the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, later the administrator of the Energy Research and Development Administration, and now the secretary of energy), and criteria for evaluating whether to grant such approval were established, namely the NPT status of the potential recipient and whether the facility would be under multinational auspices. (Code of Federal Regulations Part 810 (Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office)) The intent was to hold out the possibility for U.S. cooperation in reprocessing as leverage to encourage countries to join the NPT, and to encourage others to seriously consider joint ventures in reprocessing in lieu of establishing independent facilities, Thus, serious and substantial efforts to control the risk of proliferation while advancing the cause of peaceful atomic energy lay in the background of the unsettling events of 1974 and 1975 (the United States' restrictive managing of enrichment services to other countries).
... The Bonn government emphasized its understanding that beyond preventing acquisition of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, in no case would the provisions of the treaty "lead to restricting the use of nuclear energy for other purposes by non nuclear weapon states." In particular it
... no nuclear activities in the fields of research, development, manufacture or use for peaceful purposes are prohibited nor can the transfer of information, materials and equipment be denied to non nuclear weapon states merely on the basis of allegations that such activities or transfers could be used for the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. (20).
... The United States favored a requirement that recipient countries accept full scope safeguards as a condition for any nuclear export. Although backed on this by a number of suppliers (and the condition accepted by all NPT non nuclear weapon state parties on their own activities), this failed to win French and German support (very largely because of anticipated sales to Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa). So the guidelines provide only that any export of items on an agreed "trigger list" drawn up and occasionally supplemented by the suppliers would have to be placed under IAEA safeguards (38).
The emphasis of this crucial group of exporting states on international safeguards confirmed that safeguards remained the core of the nonproliferation regime and the sine qua non for international civil nuclear cooperation.
Nonetheless, the United States also sought to reduce the pressure on safeguards by pressing for additional technological barriers; this would be accomplished by a mandatory agreement by suppliers that they would not make further transfers of reprocessing or enrichment technology or facilities. This reflected a diminished confidence that safeguards and pledges alone could sustain nonproliferation.
But the U.S. drive for mandatory prohibition on sensitive transfers was rejected by several members of the group as being too sweeping and likely to cause some countries to seek nuclear independence, thereby further diluting any influence suppliers might exercise over national nuclear development. However, the suppliers did agree to exercise restraint in the transfer of sensitive facilities, technology, and weapons usable materials and to encourage recipients to accept supplier involvement or other appropriate multinational arrangements as an alternative to national facilities (39). Significantly, the two members of the group least disposed to mandatory restraints on sensitive technology transfers, France and the Federal Republic of Germany subsequently independently. announced their intention not to authorize "until further notice" the export of reprocessing facilities (40).
... The second element of post 1974 U.S. nonproliferation policy had a rather different twist, and particularly after 1977 became a source of considerable controversy between the United States and its industrial nuclear partners. Unlike
the first element, which emphasized voluntary export conditions and limits to transfers of sensitive nuclear technologies,
this involved reassessment of a fundamental presumption of civil nuclear power [the desirability of reprocessing spent fuel] for that had guided civil nuclear development from the inception of Atoms for Peace.
The decision to take this step came in 1976 when nonproliferation policy and the adequacy of the existing safeguards based regime became an issue in the presidential campaign.
Impelled by existing congressional pressures and by candidate Carter's emphasis on the proliferation risks associated with anticipated widespread commercialization of plutonium and reprocessing, President Ford, in the waning days of his administration, announced a new nonproliferation policy:
henceforth, the United States would not regard reprocessing and plutonium recycling as necessary and inevitable steps in the nuclear fuel cycle and would defer such activities until there was good reason to conclude that the world could effectively overcome any proliferation risks associated with such activities.
President Ford declared a moratorium on exports of sensitive technologies and facilities for a minimum of three years, and called upon other suppliers to join the United States in this effort. Plutonium reprocessing issues, including safeguards effectiveness, were to be considered in the framework of a reprocessing evaluation program. Unfortunately, its precise character never was fully worked out before President Ford's term expired, but it emerged in somewhat altered form in the Carter administration in the form of an international nuclear fuel cycle evaluation (46).
Remarks at the United Nations Foundation, June 9, 2006
(in chache) Andrew K. Semmel, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Nuclear Nonproliferation Policy and Negotiations
"The non-proliferation precedents we set in the coming decade are likely to determine whether the world lives in anxious uncertainty from crisis to crisis or whether we are able to construct a global coalition dedicated to preventing catastrophes and to giving people the confidence and security to pursue fulfilling lives" (Richard G. Lugar).
It is the desire of the United States to work with its partners to construct a global coalition dedicated to preventing catastrophes from WMD proliferation. If the international community fails to counter the threat of WMD proliferation, the impact on future generations will be devastating, and be felt, not just here, but in every country of the world."
the proposal for a United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) to criminalize WMD proliferation,
efforts to strengthen the IAEA safeguards system through the creation of an IAEA Committee on Safeguards and Verification,
a proposal to universalize the tougher Additional Protocol to augment existing NPT safeguards agreements, and
to make implementation of the Protocol a condition that countries must meet to be eligible to receive nuclear supplies.
President Bush also proposed a complete ban on the export of sensitive uranium enrichment and reprocessing technology to all countries not now having such full-scale facilities, while ensuring that those countries that forego these fuel cycle programs would have access to reliable nuclear fuel at prevailing market prices.
In April 2004, the UN Security Council adopted UNSCR 1540, establishing for the first time binding Chapter VII obligations on all UN member states to develop and enforce legal and national regulatory measures against the proliferation of WMD. If implemented successfully, each state's actions will significantly strengthen international standards related to the export of sensitive items, and limit access to sensitive technologies.
Yet, a clear gap persists between the global consensus about the threat of WMD proliferation and concrete action on the ground. Full implementation of UNSCR 1540 will help close this gap. We are pleased that the UNSC adopted in late April UNSCR 1673 which extends the 1540 mandate for two more years. We'll continue to work aggressively through the 1540 Committee and its panel of experts to achieve the nonproliferation objectives articulated in resolution 1540.
The United States is working on its own plan to provide assistance to other states to promote full implementation of UNSCR 1540. We are encouraging other governments in position to do so to offer assistance to countries not yet meeting the requirements of this resolution. We also encourage outreach to those governments that have not yet submitted reports to the UNSCR 1540 Committee to complete this important work. The regional seminars planned for later this year should be helpful in shaping next steps in implementation of the Resolution. Working together, we can ensure that all states fully implement this resolution and meet its aims to prevent VIN/ED proliferation.
As proposed by President Bush, the IAEA Board of Governors established a new committee last June to strengthen further the international safeguards system of the IAEA. This committee is charged with examining ways to strengthen the Agency's ability to ensure that nations comply with their international treaty obligations. The Committee has met three times since last November, and has begun to outline ways to strengthen the safeguards system.
We also have seen an increase in the number of NPT Parties with Additional Protocols. To date 107 NPT parties have signed Additional Protocols, and 75 are now in force. When in force, the AP permits the IAEA to inspect more facilities on shorter notice, and to seek more information about civil nuclear programs.
We are working within the G-8 and the NSG to establish effective controls on enrichment and reprocessing technology to inhibit states from pursuing nuclear weapons in the guise of peaceful nuclear energy.
Complementing these efforts was U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Bodman's announcement of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP). GNEP is a comprehensive strategy designed to promote the expansion of emissions-free nuclear energy worldwide by demonstrating and deploying new technologies to recycle nuclear fuel, minimize waste, and prevent the spread of nuclear technologies and materials....
Under the Moscow Treaty, we have agreed to reduce our operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads to between 1,700 to 2,200, about a third of their 2002 levels, and less than a quarter of the level at the end of the Cold War.
When this Treaty is fully implemented by 2012, the United States will have reduced the number of strategic nuclear warheads it had deployed in 1990 by about 80%.
We also have reduced our non-strategic nuclear weapons by 90% since the end of the Cold War, dismantling over 3000 such weapons pursuant to the Presidential Nuclear Initiatives of 1991 and 1992.
Moreover, the United States introduced a new text for a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty on May 18, 2006. ...."
II. Germany's Proliferation into Iraq
Presently, during Iraq's reconstruction period under UN, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development and World Bank surveillance (UNSCR 1483), the picture is the reverse of what it was before the first Gulf war: German contributions ($200 million as compared to $20 billion from the US) are among the nations' smallest. As of June 2005 Germany has waived repayment of 80 % of the Iraqi debt of $5.5 billion, part of which must have gone into Saddam's military-industrial complex.
Saddam has always been trying to acquire nuclear, chemical and biological weapons technology, according to his own statements and testimony by former high-ranking Iraqi officials (final report of the US weapons inspectors, Oct. 6, 2004, source: Siegfried Buschschlüter, foreign correspondent, Deutschandfunk, Oct. 7, 2004, US-Waffensuche im Iraq, local cache, see also U.S. Report Finds No WMD in Iraq, Associated Press, Sept. 18, 2004). After the end of UN sanctions against Iraq, Saddam would have resumed the nuclear program, according to Mahdi Obeidi. His paper (excerpt) is an account of the build-up in Iraq that mainly Germany had contributed to.
Before the first Gulf war Germany exported more into Iraq than the rest of the world taken together. Between the two Gulf wars Germany was still Iraq's major trading partner, and many of the goods were dual-use items. Some detail in chronological order:
Until 1992 Germany's manufacturers did not fully comply with UN Iraq embargo and German export laws (for details see pages 13 and 14 of Bill
of Indictment by the district court in Augsburg, Germany.)
"Largely as a result of these recent scandals [about the involvement of German companies in supplying Iraq and Libya with chemical weapons], German export control policy has been in a state of flux for the past two years. ....
From December 1987 until February 1991 the foreign trade decree (Aussenwirtschaftsverordnung) was amended 14 times.
Since 1989 the German Bundestag has passed 2 major revisions of the foreign trade act (Aussenwirtschaftsgesetz) and related legislation although both legislative packages encountered opposition in the second chamber, the Bundesrat.
In February 1994 the federal government introduced yet another bill to amend the foreign trade act (Germany, Deutscher Bundestag, Drucksache 12/6911).
Beyond that, the German government decided first to reorganize the export licensing agency, the Bundesamt für Wirtschaft, and to more than triple the personnel level of its export control division.
In a second step, the government created a new agency, the Bundesausfuhramt, with exclusive responsibility for export licensing."
(Claus Hofhansel, Commercial Competition and National Security: Comparing U.S. and German Export Control Policies, Praeger, 1996, p. 12 - in cache).
In 1992 German authorities have begun investigating possible violations of export control laws by several German firms. In April 1992, 27 supplier countries agreed to strengthen the rules for transfer of sophisticated dual-item technology (Michael
Wise, The Washington Post, 5/19/92, P. A15).
Foreign individuals driven by a profit motive provided key know-how to Iraq. To limit such participation in the future, the FRG in 1992 approved "citizens participation" laws that make it illegal for German citizens to take part in potential proliferation countries' nuclear weapons program (David Albright, Mark Hibbs, Arms Control Today, 7-8/92, PP. 3-11).
An analysis presented here gives background material related to the dangers connected with proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or of the corresponding technology, part of which is a compilation of German illegal activities
"[Year] 2001 - Attempts to acquire biotechnology and
biological weapons-related technology and expertise
The Amman, Jordan office of the Iraqi front company Winter International forwarded offers for dual-use laboratory equipment from a German firm to the Winter International office in Baghdad, in March 2001. The end-user of this equipment was purported to be the Iraqi MoI [Ministry of Industry]. The equipment offered included:
A refrigerated ultracentrifuge, a microcentrifuge, a low temperature freezer (between -30 and -80 degrees Celsius), and an automatic DNA-analysis system with mono-laser. This equipment is on the UN dual-use monitoring lists and would have required verification.
III. Germany's Proliferation of Nuclear Technology to Brazil and Argentina
This compilation is a follow-up of
an activity in 1976 against the German-Brazil nuclear deal backed by financial support provided by the German government (which knew it would thus break the Nonproliferation Treaty, NPT).
"Bonn has assumed the entire financial risk for the deal through a consortium of five big banks lending $1 billion for KWU's first two Brazilian power plants at concessionary interest rates. Half the debt will be financed at 7.25 percent by the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (Reconstruction Credit Institute), a development bank formed to distribute Marshall Plan aid." (Source: Norman Gall, "Atoms for Brazil, Dangers for All", Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, June 1976 (in cache))
The financial ("Hermes") securities were granted amongst others to Interatom, a subsidiary of the Siemens AG, to enable the sale of the complete nuclear fuel cycle (i.e. including enrichment and reprocessing technology) to Brazil when Brazil, a non-NPT state, was pursuing the path to nuclear explosives. At the same time Germany also sold nuclear equipment to Argentina, Brazil's rival. The South American continent was then -and fortunately still is today- nuclear weapons free.
A New York Times editorial entitled "Nuclear Madness" denounced the deal as a
"reckless move that could set off a nuclear arms race in Latin America, trigger the nuclear arming of a half-dozen nations elsewhere and endanger the security of the United States and the world as a whole"
p. 9 of Claus Hofhansel, Commercial Competition and National Security: Comparing U.S. and German Export Control Policies, Praeger, 1996, in cache).
In the 1970s we (physicists and chemists) were affiliated with the Hahn-Meitner-Institute in Berlin, Germany (then called HMI for Nuclear Research]. We were concerned about nuclear proliferation originating from German industry and financially backed by the German Federal Government. We sent an open letter to our foreign minister, H.-D. Genscher, asking him not to undercut the non-proliferation efforts of the US president, Jimmy Carter. About half the employees of the HMI had signed the letter (Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik 22, "Dokumente zum Zeitgeschehen", Seiten 1156-1157, 1977).
At that time the Brazilian military government publicly admitted aiming at producing nuclear explosives, but declared them as peaceful. Inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency were not allowed, as Brazil was not a member of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).
September 1990 Brazil's newly elected president Fernando Collor de Mello closed the nuclear test site and admitted in a speech to the UN General Assembly Brazil's secrete 15 year old nuclear bomb program (Federation of American Scientists' Nuclear Weapons Programs: Brazil, Public Interest Report (PIR), 1990;5 - in cache)
Disregarding the danger of heating up a nuclear arms race between Brazil and Argentina on the thus far nuclear weapons free Latin American continent, the social democratic German government under Helmut Schmidt provided German nuclear suppliers with the necessary financial security backing the sale of an entire nuclear fuel cycle to Brazil.
6 - 8 reactors,
a reprocessing plant to separate plutonium from used reactor fuel and
in opposition to the above described nonproliferation policy of the government of the USA (see 1, 2).
German and Brazil government officials subsequently signed the sale's agreement. At the same time, Germany was also a major supplier of nuclear technology to Argentina, which had resolved to stay roughly in step with Brazil and by 1974 had acquired heavy water reactors - the type that India had used to produce its plutonium.
"[The newly elected president of the US, Jimmy] Carter had pledged himself to heading off the German deal with Brazil. And two days after his inauguration, he dispatched Vice President Walter Mondale to Europe with the new administration's message about nuclear proliferation. In Brussels, only four days later, Mondale said that one of the "central themes" would be "stopping the sales of reprocessing plants as those to Brazil an Pakistan" (W.H. Courtney, "Brazil and Argentina: Strategies for American Diplomacy", in Nonproliferation and U.S. Foreign Policy, ed. J.A. Yager (Washington, D.C., Brookings Institution, 1980), p. 380, citing Bernard Weinraub, New York Times, January 25, 1977). In Bonn, he is said to have told Schmidt that Carter "was unalterably opposed to the transfer of the sensitive technologies to Brazil" (ibidem, p. 381). Schmidt stonily replied by noting his commitment to the Non Proliferation Treaty and the suppliers' guidelines [drawn up at a series of secret meetings of the nuclear suppliers' club in London 1974], but he also restated his commitment to the agreement with Brazil. Carter's high-visibility, high-level initiative had the predictable effect of souring the atmosphere and further complicating intractable problems. Two weeks later, Warren Christopher, Deputy Secretary of State designate, was in Bonn, trying to persuade Schmidt to defer transferring the enrichment and reprocessing materials to Brazil until its reactors had been "safeguarded"
[... safeguarded by the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA. IAEA safeguards include inspections, inventories, and regular audits of sensitive materials to ensure that nuclear technology is used for peaceful purposes only. Years later, the case of Iraq has shown that IAEA does not achieve this goal (D. Kay, Iraqi Inspections: Lessons Learned. D. Kay was the team leader for three IAEA inspections in Iraq)].
Schmidt again said no. A U.S. mission to Brazil drew a cold, uncompromising reception; the Brazilians made their feelings clear by canceling a military cooperation agreement.
.... He [Carter] planned to cut off American aid to any country that detonated a "peaceful nuclear explosion". He wanted a voice in decisions involving an American client-country's other nuclear exchanges. And he wanted to be able to rule on whether a client-country could develop its own plutonium separation capability (M. Nacht, "Controlling Nuclear Proliferation", in The Eagle Entangled: U.S. Foreign Policy in a Complex World (New York: Longman, 1970), ed. K. Oye, D. Rothchild, and R. Lizber, p. 157)."
- cited from
"War and Peace in the Nuclear Age",
A.A. Knopf, New York, 1989, p. 274 - 275.
Small print in [ ] added by J. Gruber.
"The Federal Republic of Germany-Brazil agreement prompted a strong reaction from the United States that resulted in considerable tension between the US and both of the other countries. For an in-depth review of that situation:
"At the "Secret Seven" meetings in London of supplier nations, the United States sought agreement on prohibition of the export of reprocessing plants, except under rigidly prescribed conditions.
However, U.S. sources later said that France and West Germany would agree only to consultations and safeguards inspection agreements before exporting sensitive equipment and materials. This would have the effect of fabricating a paper umbrella of unenforceable guarantees as a license to create a series of dangerous de facto situations throughout the world."
William Lowerance, "Nuclear Futures for Sale: To Brazil from West-Germany", International Security, Fall 1976, pp 147-166.
--from: Lawrence Scheinman,
"The IAEA and World Nuclear Order", Chapter 6, p. 200.
Resources for the Future, Washington, DC, 1987.
In Brazil, in the years that followed under democratic rule, scientific groups, citizens organizations, and newly-empowered legislators were able to lobby openly for constraints on wasteful nuclear activities. Scientists of US public interest groups e.g.
provided members of the Brazilian parliament and Physical Society with the necessary technical expertise. Many of these efforts helped to build a political climate more conducive to the implementation of bilateral and international safeguards.
Brazil's deal with West Germany gradually fell apart of its own weight. The Brazilians couldn't afford the reactors and never managed to make the German-design enrichment technology work for them. ... Brazil and Argentina still refuse to sign the NPT, and in either country an immoderate regime could doubtless acquire the weapons option.
Finally, in September 1990, when -before the UN General Assembly- Brazil publicly revealed and revoked its nuclear weapons ambitions, the German government (under the Christian and Free Democrats, Chancellor Helmut Kohl) announced that "current and future" nuclear exports would be approved only if full-scope
safeguards were in effect in the recipient country.
Internationally, Germany has been continuously blamed for proliferating weapons relevant technology (for details see Reading List).
The German proliferation efforts concerning uranium enrichment, not just the ones in cooperation with Brazil, were a major contribution to the world wide spread of the uranium gas centrifuge. This technology makes it easy for a state to quickly turn its peaceful nuclear power program into a nuclear weapons program. For more details see Victor Gilinsky, Marvin Miller, Harmon Hubbard, A Fresh Examination of the Proliferation Dangers of Light Water Reactors, October 22, 2004, The Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, Washington, DC, USA.
For example, Iran might well be able to divert Light Water Reactor fuel to covert enrichment by gas centrifuges and might well be able to do so without IAEA detection.
"... The core question that European
investigators are probing is whether designs for uranium enrichment centrifuges, developed by the Dutch unit of [the Dutch-British-German] Urenco [consortium], which Tehran allegedly acquired from a middleman in 1980s, came from
inside Pakistan or
Urenco provided it to Tehran, or
their source were the companies that supply components to Urenco,
the source said....
... IAEA inspectors and experts have concluded that
nuclear manager[s] and
other western European countries
need to be investigated thoroughly to
ascertain the truth on the basis of the evidence in possession of the IAEA
... Dutch and German intelligence agencies, according to another source, are engaged in investigating what they describe as the "crucial leads" related to some officials of the Dutch-British-German Urenco consortium.
... The [European] investigators
expect to unravel covert activities of more than two decades through investigations launched to identify cartels of the "middle men" who had been helping in illegal transfer of nuclear technology to Iran and Libya.
Some intelligence outfits in Europe believe that the investigation to identify the source or sources that had been supplying nuclear technology to Iran could not be completed without launching a thorough probe into the companies which had been providing Pakistan the most sophisticated nuclear components to build its nuclear programme, the source said."
"There are individuals from Pakistan, Germany, Holland, South Africa and the UAE" who had been named by Iran in its reports to the IAEA, said the official [close to the investigations following allegations raised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in November 2003]."
Switzerland - enrichment technology
- illegal transfer
tritium purification plant
plans for tritium production reactor
hot isostatic presses
uranium shipping containers
aluminum for centrifuges
Eric Schlosser, Today's Nuclear Dilemma, doi: 10.1177/0096340215611107, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists November/December 2015 vol. 71 no. 6, 11-17 (in cache)
The author of the acclaimed and terrifying book about nuclear weapons accidents, Command and Control, scans the current nuclear landscape and finds it “full of dangers” of which the public is largely unaware.
Not long ago, the movement to abolish nuclear weapons had strong momentum. It was endorsed by a bipartisan mix of retired civilian, military, and foreign policy officials ... They included
George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, two former presidents;
Henry Kissinger, James Baker, and George Shultz, former secretaries of state;
Colin Powell, a former secretary of state who’d also served as head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff;
Robert McNamara, Frank Carlucci, and William Perry, former secretaries of defense;
Sam Nunn, a former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee;
and a long list of retired colonels, generals, and admirals.
Former officials of similar rank added their support in other countries.
The presidents of Russia and China backed the idea of a world without nuclear weapons, and so did a newly elected US president.
These weapons are not merely symbols; they are machines. Indeed, they are the most dangerous machines ever invented. And like all machines, they can go wrong. We now know that during the Cold War a number of accidents involving American nuclear weapons could have destroyed large areas of the United States
most notably when a pair of hydrogen bombs was inadvertently released over North Carolina in January 1961. As one of the bombs struck the ground, a firing signal was sent, and the failure of a single safety switch could have led to a full-scale nuclear detonation. That type of switch was later found to be defective in other weapons and removed from service.
In 2010, 50 Minuteman III missiles suddenly went offline, and for almost an hour launch crews could not communicate with their missiles. The problem was later attributed to a circuit card improperly installed in a computer. The Air Force vehemently denied that its command-and-control systems had been hacked.
But during a speech in June 2015, General James Cartwright, a former head of the US Strategic Command, argued that the ongoing threat posed by cyberattacks was one reason that the United States and Russia should take all of their missiles off alert. "You’ve either been hacked and not admitting it, or you’re being hacked and don't know it," Cartwright said (Cirincione, 2015, in cache)).
... (many more examples of nearly disastrous failures, both technical and human)
"... The vulnerability to a terrorist strike was a key finding of a year-long study (in cache) that I co-authored, as part of a larger interdisciplinary project at the University of Texas at Austin, under a contract for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (which has no responsibility for the final contents of the study).
The good news is that America's military-related nuclear facilities, operated by the Departments of Defense and Energy, are generally much better protected. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has also modestly raised security requirements at civilian facilities, which have bolstered their protective measures.
Disturbingly, however, nuclear power plants still must protect against only five or six attackers (according to published reports), less than one-third the number who engaged in attacks on 9/11. Nor are these existing facilities required to withstand the impact of a commercial airliner, as hit the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Unlike the Navy's nuclear assets, civilian reactors adjacent to large bodies of water are not required to deploy floating barriers to defend against ship-borne attacks. Nuclear utilities are not even required to protect against rocket-propelled grenades and sniper rifles with armor-piercing ammunition, weapons that are possessed by many terrorist organizations.
America's nuclear power plants, and their pools of used fuel, are thus vulnerable to realistic terrorist attacks that could disable cooling systems, trigger meltdowns, and release massive amounts of radiation, as occurred at Chernobyl in 1986 and more recently at Japan's Fukushima reactors. ..."
J. Crawford, CNN, Report: U.S. nuclear plants remain vulnerable to terrorists, CNN, 15 August 2013
[Kuperman:] "Less than two dozen miles from the White House and Capitol Hill, a nuclear reactor contains bomb-grade uranium but is not required to protect against even lesser 'design basis threat' of terrorism," Kuperman said. "It would be the height of irresponsibility to fail to take action now."
"... Urenco's shareholders in the Almelo countries are now preparing to sell their interests to outsiders, which could in theory increase the risk of proliferation. But a sale is not likely pose a proliferation threat because the Urenco governments-not the shareholders-are ultimately responsible for the security of the company's know-how. However, if shares change hands, the governments should recommit themselves to fulfill their duties under the Almelo Treaty. ..."
... By the end of 2012, Urenco's total enrichment capacity was 16.9 million separative work units per year. Using gas centrifuge technology that Urenco has continually developed since its inception, the company accounts for nearly 30 percent of the world market for the supply of uranium enrichment services. ...
... During the last two decades, shareholders in Germany and the UK have considered selling their shares, largely because of commercial and budgetary considerations. ...
... All three Almelo Treaty governments have conditioned their approval of any new shareholder arrangements upon confidence that standards for nonproliferation and data security will be upheld. But the Netherlands, in May 2013, also attached conditions to the share sale that appear to reflect concerns that the transfer of shares to new owners outside the Almelo countries poses some residual risk.
In particular, The Hague wants to reserve for the Almelo governments certain rights that would override the prerogatives of shareholders. These would include
oversight of Urenco's compliance with treaty obligations;
new enrichment contracts and the disposal of radioactive waste;
the hiring of Urenco directors (including the right to fire them should they expose the company to proliferation, nuclear safety, or supply security risks); and
approval of shareholders and
the extent of their shareholdings as well as
the option of depriving shareholders of voting rights. These rights would also provide for a veto over any future purchase or sale of Urenco shares and authority to approve any changes in company structure.
Since May, officials representing other shareholders in the UK and Germany, as well as parties interested in buying the shares, have informed their Dutch counterparts that should The Hague insist on reserving these rights for the Almelo Treaty parties, a sale of the shares will be unpalatable to prospective new owners. Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK are now negotiating a mutually acceptable understanding concerning the proposed share sale aimed to protect the ETC's [Enrichment Technology Company's] sensitive information while respecting Urenco shareholders' commercial freedom. An agreement may be reached in November. ...
Urenco and the French nuclear vendor Areva are 50/50 joint owners of the Enrichment Technology Company (ETC). The ETC owns and controls all the classified and proprietary know-how related to gas centrifuge enrichment plant design, development, and manufacture that Urenco uses. Until 2006, Urenco was the sole owner of this technology. In 2005, the three Urenco governments and France signed the Treaty of Cardiff, which provides for both Urenco's and Areva's 50 percent ownership in the ETC and their use of ETC know-how at their uranium enrichment plants. The uranium enrichment know-how that Urenco developed for over three decades was transferred to the ETC, and both Urenco and Areva were licensed to use the technology to sell enrichment services to the world market.
Two additional government-to-government treaties have been put in place to accommodate the expansion of ETC technology into the United States. The 1992 Treaty of Washington between the three Urenco governments and the United States permitted the construction and operation of the enrichment plant in New Mexico. And the 2011 Treaty of Paris opened the way for the construction, which is still pending, of an enrichment facility in the United States that would be owned by Areva and outfitted with ETC-supplied centrifuges.
When the Cardiff Treaty faced ratification, Dutch lawmakers were keen to make sure that the new arrangements establishing the ETC did not create nonproliferation risks. While ratification of the Cardiff Treaty in Germany and the UK happened quickly, in the Netherlands it required two years of parliamentary discussion and debate. ..."
NONPROLIFERATION AND INFORMATION SECURITY
Current mechanisms for making sure that the ETC technology Urenco uses to enrich uranium for electricity generation is not misappropriated are relatively robust. The locus of responsibility for that oversight is the Treaty of Cardiff. The parties to the treaty-France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK, represented in a Quadripartite Committee-must make sure that present or future ETC shareholders do not obtain classified information beyond that necessary for the safe operation of enrichment plants. The treaty defines classified information as including "documents, drawings, electronic media, information or material containing classified information and such information incorporated in centrifuge plant equipment and components however communicated." As was required by the European Commission for reasons of antitrust policy, shareholders in the ETC are not to provide ETC management any commercial data.
Data security oversight is the responsibility of an ETC security working group reporting to the Quadripartite Committee under the Cardiff Treaty. It routinely discusses information security issues with ETC management.
In principle, all centrifuge enrichment plants operating in Europe and the United States using ETC technology are so-called black boxes; that is, the technology inside the plants is not available to the enrichment firms-Urenco and Areva-that operate the plants. In practice, these projects have a few "gray" areas, where the ETC has shared a limited amount of compartmentalized classified information with nuclear regulators seeking assurance that the plants are safe and with individuals who are building centrifuges that will be installed in the plants.
In the United States, this has meant that a small number of people at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and at Urenco's U.S. subsidiary have been provided some classified ETC centrifuge-design information. The sharing of this information is covered by formal agreements concerning common principles and procedures regarding security classification and the transfer of classified information for licensing and oversight purposes. In all cases, Urenco facilities' security-related practices are subject to oversight by the Joint Committee and the Quadripartite Committee.
AVOIDING FUTURE SECURITY THREATS
Two security threats might emerge related to possible new Urenco ownership, namely in terms of shareholder access to ETC information and the risk associated with construction of an enrichment facility in a new country.
New private sector shareholders from outside the Almelo countries could pressure the Joint Committee to weaken oversight for certain operations. Nevertheless, concerning information protection, at least since the mid-1990s, all Almelo parties have shared a common data protection system supported by national counterintelligence and law enforcement agencies. Under that arrangement, private sector shareholders in Germany have not challenged the Almelo governments' authority in protecting the ETC's information, and this should not change with new shareholders.
Indeed, because the Cardiff Treaty assigns the Quadripartite Committee-in which shareholders do not participate-the responsibility for protecting the ETC's uranium enrichment technology, it is unlikely that new shareholders from outside the Almelo area will influence decisionmaking about information access. Additionally, the historical record since 1971 suggests that it would be extremely difficult for the Cardiff and Almelo Treaties to be amended to weaken the mandate or authority of the Joint Committee and the Quadripartite Committee-especially for the purpose of favoring the interest of an external shareholder.
It is also unlikely that a new shareholder would influence decisionmaking in its favor to ensure the construction of a new enrichment plant on its territory. The reason is that all three Almelo governments would have to agree to such a decision.
There have been occasions when one or more of the Almelo Treaty parties - for security, diplomatic, or other noncommercial reasons - have expressed concern about Urenco entering into business relationships with new prospective foreign partners. It is not a coincidence that the Netherlands has expressed concern that a sale of Urenco shares to non-European parties might be risky. The Netherlands is deeply aware that as a result of the theft of its centrifuge know-how by A. Q. Khan in the 1970s, this technology was used for secret nuclear programs in Pakistan, Libya, and Iran.
"We were not entirely happy with the intent to sell; certainly we as regulators," Bart Dal, a Dutch Foreign Ministry specialist on nuclear security, said in an interview. Leaders including President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are meeting today (March 24, 2014) in the Hague for the Nuclear Security Summit.
A sale of Stoke Poges, U.K.-based Urenco, which is owned by the governments of Britain, the Netherlands, and German utilities EON SE (EOAN) and RWE AG (RWE), may take place next year.
Urenco enriches about a third of the world's uranium used to power nuclear reactors.
It made 337 million euros ($464 million) net income
on 1.5 billion euros revenue in 2013 as utilities in China and India made up for sliding European demand.
The U.K. is counting on a Urenco sale to help close its budget deficit. EON and RWE, meanwhile, want to sell their stakes after the shift to renewable energy and Germany's nuclear shutdown cut profits at conventional power plants.
Die U-Boote sind mit acht Torpedorohren des Standardkalibers 533mm ausgerüstet, von denen aus Torpedos, Flugkörper wie die amerikanischen Sub-Harpoon-Raketen und Minen eingesetzt werden können.
Zu den Waffen, die Pakistan entwickelt, gehört ein Marschflugkörper namens Babur. Er wurde 2005 erstmals getestet und soll eine Reichweite von 500 km haben. Nach einem erneuten Test 2007 ist sogar von 700km Reichweite die Rede.
In der pakistanischen Fachpresse und im Internet wird offen angesprochen, dass die künftigen U-Boote Pakistans mit Babur-Flugkörpern ausgestattet werden sollen.
"... The U.S. government has issued about 100 specific communiques to the West German government related to planned exports to the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and its affiliated organizations, according to information obtained by NuclearFuel. Documents reveal that since the early 1970s planned exports--some of which were carried out--included a range of items--from computer technology to uranium.
Beginning in 1982, U.S. nonproliferation officials began warning Bonn that PAEC attempted to acquire technology for capture of pure tritium. In March, and again in May, 1986, the U.S. told German officials that the firm Linde AG was planning to export a tritium extraction facility to PAEC.
In responding to U.S. requests, German officials contacted Linde, which said it `had no plans' to export such a facility.
The U.S. sent a third warning in December 1986. `Notwithstanding Linde's assertions, we continue to believe that the information we provided you previously is correct, and that Linde submitted a proposal to PAEC for installation of a tritium recovery facility.'
While on two previous occasions German export officials asserted that technology from Linde `could not result in a form of pure tritium,' the U.S. government replied that `our technical information indicates that such a facility could result in a pure form of tritium.'
Western tritium experts queried by NuclearFuel said that the U.S. position was correct. Linde AG, one of a handful of firms in the world with expertise in the field of cryogenic distillation of hydrogen isotopes, could have supplied a heavy water detritiator with capability to purify the tritium gas product.
In 1985, Germany licensed for export to Pakistan a tritium plant by the firm NTG Nukleartechnik GmbH (NTG), preferring to call it a `heavy water purifier' instead of--as the U.S. preferred--a `tritium recovery facility' in the interests of complying with German regulations on sensitive nuclear exports. While heavy water purification technology is not subject to export controls in Germany, technology for the recovery of tritium is controlled.
The U.S. believed that Germany would control export of tritium capture technology to Pakistan according to a pledge made by German officials at a spring 1986 meeting of the Coordinating Committee on Export Controls (COCOM). While German officials previously told the U.S. they `had no authority' to control tritium technology exports, the U.S. government told Bonn that Germany `should now have the legal authority to control the export of a tritium recovery facility.' Equipment especially designed for tritium production or recovery appears on Germany's Nuclear Energy List of March 25, 1988. That list of items needing an export license is an annex to Germany's Foreign Trade Ordinance.
... Diplomatic sources also said that the U.S. is looking for an avenue to exert `more direct influence' on officials in the Economics Ministry responsible for export control. One 1986 interoffice memo penned by an Economics Ministry official said that U.S. communiques warning of planned nuclear exports to South Asia `usually land in my wastepaper basket.'"
"... West Germany, too, has quite a record for aiding proliferation. Though a Non-Nuclear Weapons State, it assisted five countries into becoming NWSs [Nuclear Weapons States].
In at least two cases -- South Africa and Brazil -- the German government was involved.
In the other three cases (Pakistan, Iraq, and Argentina), government involvement has not yet been proven. All five countries developed their own uranium enrichment industries thanks to Germany. Often Swiss Companies, which took subcontracts from German firms, were involved as well.
Another incredible example of German government involvement in nuclear sales consisted of simply changing the wording on a license. Pakistan had ordered a tritium production plant from a German firm. This firm asked for an export license. The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs replied that the plant was on the list of forbidden exports. But, they said, if the license application was renamed, the license should be granted. The new name they proposed was "water refinery plant", because the installation was meant to clean the cooling water of a nuclear reactor. Only, the water was heavy water and tritium was to be separated out. Nevertheless, the change was made, the license granted, the plant exported, and everything was legal. But the plant remained a tritium production installation.
... Over the past 15 years the US has warned the Germans some hundreds of times about private nuclear deals between German firms and Pakistan, Iraq, and India. The FRG government, however, has always denied the affairs and refused to investigate. Each time, though, the warnings proved to be justified. Very rarely have the parties involved been sentenced or even taken to court."
the P2 centrifuge uses a maraging steel rotor, which is stronger, spins faster, and enriches more uranium per machine than the P1."
Slender and Elegant, it Fuels the Bomb, New York Times, March 23, 2004 (in cache):
"... by the 1960's, Zippe-type machines had become the easiest way to make fuel for reactors as well as weapons of terrifying power, for lighting cities or destroying them.
... But news of Dr. Zippe's invention has recently centered on the dangers of its illicit spread. Experts warn that it may put nuclear weapons into the hands of terrorists or states sympathetic to them.
... In 2004 Abdul Qadeer Khan, a Pakistani nuclear scientist, admitted to operating a smuggling ring responsible for supplying at least three countries with Zippe-type centrifuges.
... Last month (February 2004), a Pakistani nuclear expert, Abdul Qadeer Khan, admitted running a vast smuggling ring that had supplied at least three nations with Zippe-type centrifuges. It appears to be history's worst case of nuclear proliferation.
While nations congratulate themselves for exposing the network, private experts say the secretive centrifuge design at the heart of the illegal trade is still on the loose and the dangers of its misuse are far from over.
"It's small and you can procure the needed items in secret without being detected," said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, an arms control group in Washington. "You end up with a small plant that's very hard to find."
The world may be in for an unsettling time if the future of the Zippe centrifuge is as surprising as its past."
"Wal-Mart of black-market proliferation"
The information first came to light when a German ship was intercepted in October 2003 carrying a cargo of containers filled with nuclear weapons technology headed for Libya. (more, in cache)
Gadhafi unexpectedly spilled the beans on the nuclear mafia in 2003
The seizure prompted a nervous Gadhafi to disclose the names of all those who had supplied Tripoli with material and expertise for its nuclear program. That in turn led to the unraveling of Khan's elaborately-built global arms-dealer bazaar and to the emergence of details of how it peddled nuclear technology to regimes in Iran, North Korea and Libya.
Even as tensions simmer between Iran and the West over Teheran's nuclear program, security sources in Germany say around 100 dummy firms are illegally exporting arms to the Islamic country.
Johannes Schmalzl, president of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in the state of Baden-Württemberg, told the program "Report Mainz" (im Cache) that the situation wasn't entirely new.
"We've been devoting time to the topic since 2002," he said. "And we've concluded that an estimated 100 dummy firms in Germany are involved in it."
Schmalzl added that the authorities could hardly keep up with the scale of illegal exports to Iran.
"When I say, 100 dummy firms, you can imagine that when we discover one and the federal prosecutor opens a case against them, we're happy and pat ourselves on the back. But 99 others are still in business," Schmalzl said. (mehr, im Cache)
However, German firms' involvement in illegal arms exports is not confined to Iran alone. Since the 1980s, German firms and middlemen, along with counterparts in other European countries, have been suspected of smuggling nuclear technology to regimes in Pakistan and North Korea.
As part of the URENCO consortium Germans developed the G-2 centrifuge (with a capacity of 5 kg SWU per year), which was copied in Pakistan and called P-2. (The kg SWU is an acronym for kg of separative work units. It refers to the amount of isotope separation achieved, separating the fissile U-235 isotope from the non-fissile U-238 isotope.)
[The] 2,000 P2 centrifuges [shown to S. Hecker] could, under a different cascade configuration, make about about 33 kilograms of weapon-grade uranium per year. This value needs to be lowered since the North Korean centrifuge has a lower average enrichment output, yielding an estimate of about 26 kilograms of weapon-grade uranium per year, lower than what Hecker estimates.
Mohammed el ElBaradei met with German leaders in Berlin for talks over Iran amid reports of German customs agents uncovering an Iranian procurement network in the country.
The [state] prosecutor's office [in Potsdam] said that the deliveries went from the Berlin company run by Russians to a company near Moscow, and from there to Iran. The shipments included electronic parts and special cables. According to an ARD report, the Iranians had attempted to acquire hydraulic pumps and transformer parts in Germany.
A spokesman put the value of the deliveries at between two and three million euros ($2.4 and 3.6 million) Two million euros were seized in the raid of the Berlin business.
The export of material that could be used in a nuclear program is subject to strict regulations in Germany and must be approved by the authorities.
It was Libya, seeking to re-enter the international mainstream, that first disclosed the existence of the Pakistani proliferation ring, but the United States took the credit by stage-managing an event in October 2003. With the help of documents Tripoli had turned over to Washington, a German cargo ship was intercepted en route to Libya with centrifuge components routed through Dubai.
Pakistan: the worst nuclear-arms proliferator in the world
"For two decades, journalists and American and European intelligence agencies have linked Khan and the Pakistani intelligence service, the I.S.I. (Inter-Service Intelligence), to nuclear-technology transfers."
"The greatest risk may be ... to the ability of the international nuclear monitoring institutions to do their work. Many experts fear that, with Khan's help, the world has moved closer to a nuclear tipping point.
"Once they had the bomb, they had a shopping list of what to buy and where. A. Q. Khan can bring a plain piece of paper and show me how to get it done - the countries, people, and telephone numbers." (Husain Haqqani, who was a special assistant to three prime ministers before Musharraf came to power and is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)
"Khan was willing to sell blueprints, centrifuges, and the latest in weaponry. He was the worst nuclear-arms proliferator in the world ..." (Bush Administration intelligence officer with years of experience in nonproliferation issues)
Iran: enough enriched uranium for a bomb?
"The most recent revelations about the nuclear black market were triggered by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a now defunct opposition group that has served as the political wing of the People's Mujahideen Khalq. The National Council lobbied in Washington for decades, and offered information."
"Iran had secretly constructed two extensive nuclear-weapons facilities in the desert south of Tehran (one producing heavy water for use in making weapons-grade plutonium, a centrifuge facility, potentially in violation of its obligations under the nuclear-nonproliferation treaty).
Asked if he thought that Iran had enough enriched uranium to make a bomb, he [a senior proliferation expert of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna] said, "I'm not sure."
Libya: Surrender now and hope they accept your surrender.
[In December 2003] Muammar Qaddafi, the Libyan leader, had decided to give up his nuclear-weapons program and permitted IAEA inspectors to enter his country.
Libya had been able to purchase hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of nuclear parts, including advanced centrifuges designed in Pakistan, from a firm in Malaysia, with a free-trade zone in Dubai serving as the main shipping point. It was a new development in an old arms race: Malaysia, a high-tech nation with no indigenous nuclear ambitions, was retailing sophisticated nuclear gear, based on designs made available by Khan.
The centrifuge materials that the inspectors found in Libya had not been assembled -in most cases, in fact, the goods were still in their shipping cases.
"What's on the market is absolutely horrendous. It's a Mafia-type business, with corruption and secrecy." (an IAEA senior proliferation expert)
IAEA inspectors found in Libya precise blueprints for the design and construction of a half-ton nuclear weapon. "It's a sweet little bomb, put together by engineers who know how to assemble a weapon," an official in Vienna told me. "No question it'll work. It's too big and too heavy for a Scud, but it'll go into a family car. It's a terrorist's dream."
Musa Kusa, the longtime head of Libyan intelligence, urged Qaddafi to meet with Western intelligence agencies and open up his weapons arsenal to international inspection. The C.I.A. man [a former operations officer] quoted Kusa as explaining that, as the war with Iraq drew near, he had warned Qaddafi, "You are nuts if you think you can defeat the United States. Get out of it now. Surrender now and hope they accept your surrender."
One Arab intelligence operative said, it was "the Libyans who blew up the Pakistanis", and who made the role of Khan's black market known.
IAEA: If we stay focussed on the declared, we miss the nuclear supply matrix.
The key issue, Mohamed ElBaradei, the director-general of the IAEA, told me, in an interview at the organization's headquarters in Vienna, is non-state actors. "I have a nightmare that the spread of enriched uranium and nuclear material could result in the operation of a small enrichment facility in a place like northern Afghanistan," he said. "Who knows? It's not hard for a non-state to hide, especially if there is a state in collusion with it. Some of these non-state groups are very sophisticated."
The [IAEA senior proliferation] official said, "We have to move from inspecting declared sites to 'Where does this shit come from?' If we stay focussed on the declared, we miss the nuclear supply matrix."
The UN resolution has several problems, however, in terms of its implementation. Some states, particularly in the developing world, may resist its main provisions, believing that the obligations should have been established through treaty negotiations. It will also likely be applied unevenly among even the most well-intentioned states because many, without extensive assistance, will experience difficulties in enacting, implementing, and enforcing effective export control legislation."
While pursuing these efforts, the
G-8 partners agreed not to initiate any new contracts to provide reprocessing or uranium-enrichment equipment and technologies to additional states for one year [extended in April 2006 for 2 more years, in chache]. This was a weaker commitment than the one that Bush had called for and that the U.S. delegation reportedly lobbied the G-8 to adopt.
"... The United States is working on its own plan to provide assistance to other states to promote full implementation of UNSCR 1540. We are encouraging other governments in position to do so to offer assistance to countries not yet meeting the requirements of this resolution. We also encourage outreach to those governments that have not yet submitted reports to the UNSCR 1540 Committee to complete this important work. The regional seminars planned for later this year should be helpful in shaping next steps in implementation of the Resolution. Working together, we can ensure that all states fully implement this resolution and meet its aims to prevent VIN/ED proliferation." Andrew K. Semmel (Deputy Assistant Secretary, Nuclear Nonproliferation Policy and Negotiations), "Is Nuclear Non-Proliferation Still Attainable?", Remarks at the United Nations Foundation, June 9, 2006 (in chache)
A complete, long-term ban on providing reprocessing and enrichment technology to new states will be difficult to achieve within either the framework of the G-8 or the NSG [Nuclear Suppliers Group], although the United States is expected to continue to work toward achieving this important goal.
This case [the Khan network] has also shown the need for the IAEA to receive more information from states about their exports and imports of key sensitive dual-use items.
In January 2004, ElBaradei said that "export controls must be dramatically improved and, in contrast to the past, must be carried out within an international framework." .... A universal treaty-based system controlling nuclear export activities would be binding on states and would include a means to verify compliance. ... In addition, a treaty-based system of export controls and verification would impose new requirements on all states, even those that have not implemented the Additional Protocol."
"In 1987, Iraq partially acquired the German company H+H Metalform GmbH. It subsequently grew to play an important role in supplying Iraq's ballistic missile and gas centrifuge programs with equipment, components, and on-site expertise. H+H specialized in the production of vertical flow-forming machines, which make thin-walled, pressure resistant precision tubes useful to militaries . Such lightweight, pressure resistant tubes have been particularly useful in ballistic missile and gas centrifuge programs."
"Schaublin is a world-famous machine tool manufacturer in Bevilard, Switzerland that provided Iraq with parts and sophisticated machine tools for its gas centrifuge manufacturing program in the 1980s [with the help of H+H Metallform employees]. In 1990 German authorities confiscated a shipment of Schaublin equipment to Iraq, although in the end no charges were filed against the company."
"In the fall of 1988, Iraq requested that the H+H team find a ballistic missile expert. In response, Bruno Stemmler recommended Karl Otto Brauer, a retired German engineer who he knew from a German flying club.
In reality, the Iraqis had decided quickly that they did not want to give Brauer a contract. They viewed him as extremely frail and doubted that he could significantly help their ballistic missile program."
"In 1998, Ernest Piffl, managing director of the German firm Team GmbH near Stuttgart, received a three and half year prison sentence for illegally exporting thousands of preforms for gas centrifuge scoops to Pakistan's secret uranium enrichment program. Preforms are partially finished cast or machined components, and the ones sent to Pakistan were made of a special aluminum alloy and looked like small thin-walled pipes. Bending and finishing these little pipes would have been done at the point of assembly of the centrifuge.
The regional superior court of Stuttgart established that the end-user of the last consignment of preforms, which was confiscated by German authorities in 1993, would have been the Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) near Islamabad. KRL is responsible for Pakistan's secret uranium enrichment program and is well known for involvement in illicit procurement and the production of highly enriched uranium (HEU) for nuclear weapons."
"After the Gulf War, the UN-mandated inspection process revealed how German companies easily manipulated Germany's weak and over-burdened export control system with false and misleading end-user information. Other governments condemned Germany's illicit exports to Iraq and elsewhere, and Germany was accosted as a "black sheep" of export controls.
The German media played an extremely important role in creating a strong political constituency demanding fundamental change. Extensive publicity about these illicit or questionable exports damaged the reputations of many German companies. They not only suffered legal consequences, but also were condemned publicly as amoral.
In order to regain its image and international respect, the German government radically tightened its export control system twice - once in 1990, and again in 1992. The penalties for foreign trade violations were drastically increased and the range of mechanisms for effective export control was expanded.
... The government also provided the export classification system with the general "catch-all clause," which says that all products are subjected to approval requirements to the extent that the exporter has knowledge of an actual or intended use for weapons production.
Under the new laws, German companies are required to create stringent internal compliance systems and senior officials are now legally responsible for the actions of their employees. The law permits the prosecution of senior company officials for the illegal exports of lower level employees, creating a powerful incentive for companies to create stringent internal controls.
Despite the tightening of German governmental standards, a major burden still resides on the companies to act with honesty and moral integrity. The companies are recognized as playing a major role in achieving nonproliferation goals. In several cases, their internal compliance systems have become models for both other companies and governments." (more)
"... the "separative work" required to obtain low-enriched uranium at, say, 4 percent enrichment, is about 70 to 90 percent of that required to produce the highly enriched uranium used in the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, or in the six weapons secretly stockpiled by the former white-minority government of South Africa in the 1980s."
... to produce one kilogram of uranium enriched to 3% U-235 requires 3.8 kg SWU (abbreviated as 3.8 SWU) if the plant is operated at a tails assay 0.25%, or 5.0 SWU if the tails assay is 0.15% (thereby requiring only 5.1 kg instead of 6.0 kg of natural U feed, containing 0.72 % U-235).
About 100-120,000 SWU is required to enrich the annual fuel loading for a typical 1000 MWe light water reactor.
Cost Estimates Capital Costs (gas centrifuge: approx. 500 $ per one SWU/yr)
The 3 109 € French plant operated by Areva is expected to start commercial operation in 2009 and ramp up to full capacity of 7.5 106 SWU/yr in 2018 (400 $/(SWU/yr)).
The $1.5 109$ US plant in New Mexico, USA, will use the 6th generation URENCO technology, and first production is expected in 2008, with full capacity of 3 106 SWU/yr being reached in 2013 (500 $/(SWU/yr)).
USEC is building its American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio, involving 1300 centrifuges as the culmination of a very major R&D program. The Lead Cascade demonstration plant is due to start operation in mid 2007. For the main centrifuge plant initial annual capacity of 3.5 106 SWU from 2011 is envisaged, costing $1.7 109, though its licence application is for 7 million SWU to allow for expansion (490 $/(SWU/yr)).
URENCO (Germany-Netherlands-UK) plants at Gronau, Germany; Almelo, Netherlands; Capenhurst, UK.
Operating Costs (see also: Separative Work Unit)
Enrichment costs are substantially related to electrical energy used.
The gaseous diffusion process consumes about 2500 kWh (9000 MJ) per SWU, while
modern gas centrifuge plants require only about 50 kWh (180 MJ) per SWU.
Separative Work Units (kg) necessary to produce 1 kg uranium being 90% U-235 (weapon grade uranium, WG-U)
as a function of initial enrichment ("feed enrichment", xF)
when the U-235 content in the centrifuge tails cannot be depleted more than to 0.5% of total uranium (depletion limit xT = 0.005).
When one starts with an enrichment an order of magnitude above the depletion limit, the enrichment effort SWU decreases sharply with feed enrichment, because the concommittant tails amounts are much smaller at those enrichments and thus also the size of the centrifuge array.
Enrichment of natural uranium (0.72 % U-235) to produce 1 kg of 90% enriched uranium (WG-U) requires 155 (kg) SWU.
Enrichment of 4% enriched uranium to produce 1 kg of 90% enriched uranium (WG-U) requires 55 (kg) SWU.
SWU grows proportional to the quantity of the product (see Eq.1), i.e. to produce 15 kg uranium being 90% U-235 one needs 15 times the SWU plotted in this diagram.
"The critical mass of a sphere of U-235 metal is only 15 kg with a Beryllium reflector. See Gunter Hildenbrand, Nuclear energy, nuclear exports and the proliferation of nuclear weapons, AIF Conference on International Commerce and Safeguards for Civil Nuclear Power, March 1977. A schematic diagram of an implosion bomb.
Because of losses during the enrichment and weaponization processes, Iran would need about 914 kg of UF6 enriched to 3.5% U-235, of which about 618 kg would be uranium, in order to achieve 16 kg of weapon-grade uranium. 618 kg of uranium enriched to 3.5% U-235 contains 21.6 kg of U-235. See the SWU calculator published by URENCO, a European uranium enrichment consortium." (Source: Iran Watch, Iran's nuclear timetable, Updated June 9, 2009, in cache, 15 June, 2009)
For comparison: "One P1 centrifuge -a modified Pakistani version of the Dutch 4M, developed in the mid 1970s- has an annual output of about 3 SWU per year (Director General, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguard Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran," International Atomic Energy Agency, June 1, 2004, GOV/2004/34, Annex 1, p. 11)." (Source: D. Albright, C. Hinderstein, The Clock is Ticking, But How Fast?, ISIS, March 27, 2006, (in cache).
Thus production of 1 kg weapon grade uranium (90% U-235, "WG-U") takes
52 P1 centrifuges runnig for 1 year (i.e. 52 P1 years = 155 SWU) when starting with natural uranium.
18 P1 centrifuges runnig for 1 year (i.e. 18 P1 years = 55 SWU) when starting with power reactor grade uranium (4% enriched).
Correspondingly, the production of 96 (1056) kg weapon grade uranium WG-U (90% U-235) takes 5000 P1 years when starting with natural (4% enriched) uranium:
natural uranium: (1 kg WG-U) / (52 P1 years) 5000 P1 = 96 kg WG-U/year,
4% enriched uranium: (1 kg WG-U) / (18 P1 years) 5000 P1 = 1056 kg WG-U/year.
The first graph shows enrichment effort (SWU) per unit of product. The second shows how one tonne of natural uranium feed might end up: as 120-130 kg of uranium for power reactor fuel, as 26 kg of typical research reactor fuel, or conceivably as 5.6 kg of weapons-grade material. The curve flattens out so much because the mass of material being enriched progressively diminishes to these amounts, from the original one tonne, so requires less effort relative to what has already been applied to progress a lot further in percentage enrichment.. The relatively small increment of effort needed to achieve the increase from normal levels is the reason why enrichment plants are considered a sensitive technology in relation to preventing weapons proliferation, and are very tightly supervised under international agreements. Where this safeguards supervision is compromised or obstructed, as in Iran, concerns arise.About 140,000 SWU is required to enrich the annual fuel loading for a typical 1000 MWe light water reactor at today's higher enrichment levels. Enrichment costs are substantially related to electrical energy used. The gaseous diffusion process consumes about 2500 kWh (9000 MJ) per SWU, while modern gas centrifuge plants require only about 50 kWh (180 MJ) per SWU.
Enrichment accounts for almost half of the cost of nuclear fuel and about 5% of the total cost of the electricity generated. In the past it has also accounted for the main greenhouse gas impact from the nuclear fuel cycle where the electricity used for enrichment is generated from coal. However, it still only amounts to 0.1% of the carbon dioxide from equivalent coal-fired electricity generation if modern gas centrifuge plants are used, or up to 3% in a worst-case situation.
The utilities which buy uranium from the mines need a fixed quantity of enriched uranium in order to fabricate the fuel to be loaded into their reactors. The quantity of uranium they must supply to the enrichment company is determined by the enrichment level required (% U-235) and the tails assay (also % U-235). This is the contracted or transactional tails assay, and determines how much natural uranium must be supplied to create a quantity of Enriched Uranium Product (EUP) - a lower tails assay means that more enrichment services (notably energy) are to be applied. The enricher, however, has some flexibility in respect to the operational tails assay at the plant. If the operational tails assay is lower than the contracted/transactional assay, the enricher can set aside some surplus natural uranium, which it is free to sell (either as natural uranium or as EUP) on its own account. This is known as underfeeding. The opposite situation, where the operational tails assay is higher, requires the enricher to supplement the natural uranium supplied by the utility with some of its own - this is called overfeeding. In either case, the enricher will base its decision on the plant economics together with uranium and energy prices. UxC estimates that with an optimum tails assay of 0.23% in 2013, the enrichers have the potential to contribute up to 7700 tU per year to world markets by underfeeding.
"[In Iran] By mid-May of 2007, 8 cascades of 164 centrifuges each, as well as smaller groups, are in intermittent experimental operation fed by uranium hexafluoride from Iran's ore processing plant; Iran has claimed "industrial capability." Note that the steady operation of about 5000 centrifuges of the type operated by Iran are needed to separate HEU [Highly Enriched Uranium] for one nuclear weapon per year."
Source: Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky, "Capability versus intent: The latent threat of nuclear proliferation", The Bulletin Online, 15 June 2007 - in cache))
"... we now know that the Iranians have 10 centrifuge cascades [each cascade consisting of 164 centrifuges], totalling 1,640 machines. However, Iran claims to have assembled at least 3000 [P-1] centrifuges, enough to make another nine or 10 cascades. As the centrifuges now operating are configured, Iran is making 4 per cent U-235, suitable for use in a power reactor: 3000 centrifuges will produce U-235 for one bomb each year.
It is now obvious that Iran skilfully played for time until they reached a rather high level of technical mastery of the enrichment process. This is the price paid by the west and the Russians and Chinese for their reluctance to apply meaningful sanctions to Iran two and even three years ago.
Even if Iran abandons its plans to build more than the current 3000 centrifuges, another problem remains. Part of any negotiation will have to be an iron-clad guarantee that supplies of fuel for Iranian nuclear power reactors will be available, no matter what political winds blow. In practice that will almost certainly mean that Iran will be allowed to hold at least a year's spare fresh fuel as a buffer. The danger here is that reactor fuel, enriched to 4 per cent U-235, is already more than halfway to bomb grade because enrichment becomes easier as concentration of U-235 increases. If Iran decides to throw out international inspectors and abandon the NPT, the capabilities of its "pilot plant" will be more than doubled if it taps into its stock of reactor fuel."
Source: Peter Zimmerman, Change tack on nuclear Iran, Financial Times, London, August 16 2007. The author is professor of science & security studies at King's College London. He previously served as the chief scientist of the US Senate committee on foreign relations).
click on image to enlarge
Iran's cumulative LEU production (Natanz).
Source: Fig. 5 of D. Albright, P Brannan, A. Stricker, C Walrond, ISIS Analysis of November 8, 2011 IAEA Iran Safeguards Report: Part 1, Nov. 8, 2011 (in cache)
click on image to enlarge
Iran's annual SWU (Natanz).
Source: Fig. 6 of D. Albrigt, P Brannan, A. Stricker, C Walrond, ISIS Analysis of November 8, 2011 IAEA Iran Safeguards Report: Part 1, Nov. 8, 2011.
"Iran produced an estimated 200-250 kilograms of LEU [low enriched uranium] during this latest reporting period [May 7, 2008 to August 30, 2008], roughly doubling the amount produced prior to this period. Its rate during this current reporting period is close to an average of 2 kilograms of LEU per day,"
"A key benchmark of enrichment progress is when Iran accumulates enough low enriched uranium to have a capability to produce quickly enough weapon-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon. In this case, Iran would use the LEU as feed into its cascades, dramatically shortening the time to produce weapon-grade uranium."
"ISIS estimates that under optimal conditions, Iran could use between 700 and 800 kilograms of LEU to produce in its P1 centrifuges 20-25 kilograms of weapon-grade uranium, enough for a crude fission weapon.
Other estimates are more pessimistic about Iran's ability to enrich the LEU up to weapon-grade, estimating that 1,000-1,700 kilograms of LEU would be necessary to produce 25-30 kilograms of weapon-grade uranium, generally considered more than enough for one nuclear weapon.
D. Albrigt, P Brannan, A. Stricker, C Walrond, ISIS Analysis of November 8, 2011 IAEA Iran Safeguards Report:Part 1, Nov. 8, 2011 (in cache)
"Possible Military Dimensions to Iran's Nuclear program
Included in the report (in cache) is the most comprehensive detail and analysis to date that the IAEA has gathered on evidence of nuclear weaponization-related activities conducted by Iran. In several previous reports, the IAEA has described in general terms the information it possessed indicating military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program and that Iran's refusal to engage with the Agency over these issues was of concern. This report, however, contains unprecedented detail of the evidence.
A key detail in the report is an assessment that certain activities taking place under the organization in Iran responsible for various nuclear weaponization work resumed at some point after a 2003 "halt order" issued by senior Iranian officials. The IAEA also reports that Mohsen Fakrizadeh, the long-standing director of nuclear weaponization activities in Iran, remains as the director of these efforts at a recently re-named organization. In early 2011, Fakhrizadeh moved the organization to a new compound in Tehran, known as Mojdeh. The IAEA notes that it "is concerned because some of the activities undertaken after 2003 would be highly relevant to a nuclear weapons program".
If true, the evidence of weaponization activities that took place before and after 2003 constitute a major violation of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty.
Notably absent, however, is any assessment by the IAEA of Iran's capability to make a nuclear explosive device based on what it learned through these activities. The IAEA made such an assessment in a 2009 working document (in cache) that was to become an annex on weaponization evidence to an earlier Safeguards report, but which the Agency never published. The working document assessed that, based on a review of the evidence, "Iran has sufficient information to be able to design and produce a workable implosion nuclear device based upon HEU [highly enriched uranium] as the fission fuel". The IAEA has also assessed in this working document that Iran still had work to do before it could build a reliable warhead for the Shahib III missile."
"Reports by Reuters (6. February 2008), the Associated Press and the Vienna Press Agency have highlighted Iran's decision to move ahead with installation of modified P-2 centrifuges at the Natanz pilot fuel enrichment plant. Iran's name for the machine is the IR-2.
This decision appears to reflect Iran's commitment to expanding and improving its enrichment capabilities beyond those of the P-1 centrifuge, of which 3000 are currently operating at the larger Natanz fuel enrichment plant. According to press reports, the modified P-2/IR-2 centrifuges are still being tested and no nuclear material has been introduced yet.
The P-2 centrifuge, deployed in Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, is essentially the same design as one developed by Germany in the early 1970s and stolen by A.Q. Khan from Urenco, the uranium enrichment consortium of Britain, Germany, and the Netherlands.
Where the P-1 in Pakistan achieved an annual enrichment output of about 2 separative work units (swu) annually,
the P-2 has a capacity of about 5 swu annually."
"the IR-2m or IR4 has three times the enrichment output as the IR-1 (P-1) centrifuge (= about 6 swu annually)." (Source: Iran In Brief: Iran Confirms Installation of Advanced Centrifuges, Nuclear Iran, ISIS, 19. July 2011, in cache)
January - US President George Bush describes Iraq, Iran and North Korea as an "axis of evil", warning of the proliferation of long-range missiles being developed in these countries. The speech causes outrage in Iran and is condemned by reformists and conservatives alike.
September - Russian technicians begin construction of Iran's first nuclear reactor at Bushehr despite strong objections from US.
September - UN nuclear watchdog, IAEA, gives Tehran weeks to prove it is not pursuing an atomic weapons programme.
November - Iran says it is suspending its uranium enrichment programme and will allow tougher UN inspections of its nuclear facilities. IAEA concludes there is no evidence of a weapons programme.
June - Iran is rebuked by the IAEA for failing to fully cooperate with an inquiry into its nuclear activities.
November - Iran agrees to suspend most of its uranium enrichment under a deal with the EU.
June - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Tehran's ultra-conservative mayor, wins a run-off vote in presidential elections, defeating cleric and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
August-September - Tehran says it has resumed uranium conversion at its Isfahan plant and insists the programme is for peaceful purposes. IAEA finds Iran in violation of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Iran hosts a conference denying the Holocaust [GALLO/GETTY]
January - Iran breaks IAEA seals at its Natanz nuclear research facility.
February - IAEA votes to report Iran to the UN Security Council over its nuclear activities. Iran resumes uranium enrichment at Natanz.
April - Iran says it has succeeded in enriching uranium at its Natanz facility.
31 August - UN Security Council deadline for Iran to halt its work on nuclear fuel passes. IAEA says Tehran has failed to suspend the program.
December - Iran hosts a controversial conference on the Holocaust; delegates include Holocaust deniers.
UN Security Council votes to impose sanctions on Iran's trade in sensitive nuclear materials and technology. Iran condemns the resolution and vows to speed up uranium enrichment work.
Ahmadinejad confirms his country's ability to produce nuclear fuel on an industrial scale [GALLO/GETTY]
February - IAEA says Iran failed to meet a deadline to suspend uranium enrichment, exposing Tehran to possible new sanctions.
April - President Ahmadinejad says Iran can produce nuclear fuel on an industrial scale.
IAEA says Iran has begun making nuclear fuel in its underground uranium enrichment plant. It also says that Iran has started up more than 1,300 centrifuge machines.
May - IAEA says Iran could develop a nuclear weapon in three to eight years if it so chooses.
June - Protests erupt after government imposes petrol rationing amid fears of possible UN sanctions.
Iran agrees to allow inspectors to visit the Arak nuclear plant following talks with the IAEA.
October - The US announces sweeping new sanctions against Iran, the toughest since it first imposed sanctions almost 30 years ago.
December - A new US intelligence report plays down the perceived nuclear threat posed by Iran.
Iran unveils a new missile which it says is capable of hitting targets in Israel [GALLO/GETTY]
February - Iran launches a research rocket to inaugurate a newly built space centre. Washington describes the launch as "unfortunate".
UN Security Council tightens economic and trade sanctions on Tehran.
May - IAEA says Iran is still withholding information on its nuclear program.
Iran's new parliament elects former nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani as its speaker.
June - EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana presents an offer of trade benefits, which Tehran says it will look at, but will reject if it demands suspension of uranium enrichment.
July - Iran test-fires a new version of the Shahab-3, a long-range missile it says is capable of hitting targets in Israel.
August - Informal deadline set by western officials for Iran to respond to package of incentives in return for halt in nuclear activities passes without reply.
Iran says it has successfully launched a test rocket capable of carrying a satellite into space.
September - UN Security Council passes unanimously a new resolution reaffirming demands that Iran stop enriching uranium, but imposes no new sanctions. The text was agreed after Russia said it would not support further sanctions.
November - In an unprecedented move, President Ahmadinejad congratulates US president-elect Barack Obama on his election win. Mr Obama has offered to open unconditional dialogue with Iran about its nuclear programme.
December - Police raid and close the office of a human rights group led by the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Shirin Ebadi. Officials say the centre is acting as an illegal political organisation.
Ahmadinejad is declared to have won June's presidential election [GALLO/GETTY]
February - Speaking on the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he would welcome talks with the US as long as they are based on "mutual respect".
March - Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei tells anti-Israel rally that US President Obama is following the "same misguided track" in Middle East as President Bush.
May - Iran rejects a US state department report saying it remains the "most active state sponsor of terrorism" in the world.
June - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is declared to have won a resounding victory in the June 12, presidential election.
September - Iran admits that it is building a uranium enrichment plant near Qom, but insists it is for peaceful purposes
The country test-fires a series of medium and longer-range missiles that put Israel and US bases in the Gulf within potential striking range.
October - Five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany offer Iran proposal to enrich its uranium abroad.
November - Iran refuses to accept the international proposal to end the dispute over its nuclear programme. UN nuclear watchdog IAEA passes a resolution condemning Iran for developing a second uranium enrichment site in secret.
Iran denounces the move as "political" and announces plans to create ten more uranium enrichment facilities.
February - Iran says it is ready to send enriched uranium abroad for further enrichment under a deal agreed with the West. The US calls on Tehran to match its words with actions.
November - A recent International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report, based on the intelligence of 10 governments, presented images, letters and diagrams that suggested Iran was secretly working on nuclear weaponry. Iran's envoy to the IAEA says any nuclear development is for peaceful means and that the material evidence against has been fabricated by the US.
(b) According to the IAEA, Iran had produced a total of 839 kg of low-enriched UF6 as of November 17, 2008. Since then, Iran has produced approximately 500 kg of this material for a total of 1,339 kg (see note j) (http://www.iranwatch.org/international/IAEA/iaea-iranreport-060509.pdf). Of that amount, 905 kg is uranium; 905 kg of uranium enriched to 3.5% contain 31.68 kg of U-235.
(c) Iran is estimated to produce about 2.75 kg of low-enriched UF6 each day (see note k), for an average monthly production rate of 84 kg, 56 kg of which is uranium; enriched to 3.5%, this 56 kg contains 1.96 kg of U-235.
(d) 16 kilograms are assumed to be sufficient for an implosion bomb. This was the amount called for in the implosion device Saddam Hussein was trying to perfect in the 1980’s, and the design for such a device has circulated on the nuclear black market, to which Iran has had access. The critical mass of a sphere of U-235 metal is only 15 kg with a Beryllium reflector. See Gunter Hildenbrand, Nuclear energy, nuclear exports and the proliferation of nuclear weapons, AIF Conference on International Commerce and Safeguards for Civil Nuclear Power, March 1977. For a schematic diagram of an implosion bomb, see: www.wisconsinproject.org/bomb-facts/images/nw-1.jpg.
(e) Because of losses during the enrichment and weaponization processes, Iran would need about 914 kg (see note l) of UF6 enriched to 3.5% U-235, of which about 618 kg would be uranium, in order to achieve 16 kg of weapon-grade uranium. 618 kg of uranium enriched to 3.5% U-235 contains 21.6 kg of U-235. See the SWU calculator published by URENCO, a European uranium enrichment consortium: web.archive.org/web/20021226100607/www.urenco.de/trennarbeit/swucal_e.html.
(f) Assuming 19.9 kg of U-235 on hand as of November 17, 2008, a requirement of 21.6 kg for a first bomb, and a production rate, at the time, of 1.6 kg of U-235 each month, Iran would have had enough in December 2008.
(g) Once enriched to weapon-grade, this material would still need to be converted from gas to metal and then machined into a form suitable for a bomb.
(h) The IAEA estimates the conversion time for low-enriched uranium to weapon-grade uranium metal to be approximately 3-12 months (www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/nvs-3-cd/PDF/NVS3_prn.pdf). However, if it would take approximately 840 SWUs to produce 16 kg of U-235 from a stockpile of 3.5% enriched uranium (see note n), and if Iran is capable of producing 7,000 SWUs per year (see note s), then a conversion time at the lower end of this range is probable. Therefore, Iran could have weapon-grade UF6 within 2-3 months, even assuming a delay in processing.
(i) If, by July 2009, Iran were to add the 2,132 centrifuges it has installed and placed under vacuum, the monthly production rate of U-235 would increase by about 43% to 2.86 kg per month. This production rate would allow Iran to accumulate the requisite 21.6 kg for a second bomb by October 2009.
Nuclear weapons "breakout capability" is a scenario that involves enriching low enriched uranium (LEU) up to weapon-grade uranium. This could be accomplished within 3-6 months at either the Natanz facility or a clandestine gas centrifuge facility . It provides a measure of Iran's growing nuclear weapons capabilities. Whether Iran intends to pursue this approach is unknown.
February , Iran accumulated enough LEU to be able to enrich enough weapon-grade
uranium for 1 nuclear weapon.
At Iran's current rate of 2.75 kilograms of LEU hexafluoride per day, Iran would
accumulate in total enough LEU to use as feed for the production of sufficient weapon-
grade uranium for 2 nuclear weapons by the end of February 2010. If Iran were to
operate all of the about 7,000 centrifuges currently enriching or under vacuum, this
milestone would be achieved by mid-December 2009.
Of note, the IAEA states that given increases in the number of centrifuges
operating and the rate of production of LEU, improvements to "containment and surveillance
measures" at the FEP are necessary.
If Iran diverted this safeguarded LEU for use in a clandestine enrichment plant, the IAEA
should detect the missing LEU within a few weeks. If Iran were to produce the weapon-
grade uranium at Natanz, it would provoke an international crisis.
Iran's goal of a large domestic enrichment capability is driven in part by a fear of foreign suppliers cutting off LEU fuel for its nuclear power reactors. However, these very sanctions, worsened by Iran's lack of cooperation with the IAEA, are making it impossible for Iran to create that enrichment capability. While it struggles with its commercial goals, Iran is strengthening an enrichment capability able to produce weapon-grade uranium for nuclear weapons. The number of ways it can do so is also increasing. If Iran develops a stock of 19.75 percent LEU, it could even use Natanz's FEP to quickly [within 6 months or less] produce weapon-grade uranium before the international community could respond. ...
Its production could even occur between visits by IAEA inspectors, a time period that Iran could easily lengthen by positing some emergency or accident that requires a delay in permitting the inspectors inside the plant.
... Unless IAEA safeguards inspectors are stationed at the FEP far more frequently, the international community may not even know about the weapon-grade uranium production until it already had left the site.
"The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released on May 31, 2010 its latest report on the implementation of NPT safeguards in Iran and the status of Iran's compliance with Security Council Resolutions 1737, 1747 and 1803.
The following analysis highlights the IAEA's key findings, including
modestly increased production of LEU at the Natanz fuel enrichment plant;
expected levels of production of 20 percent LEU using a single cascade of 164 centrifuges at the pilot fuel enrichment plant (PFEP);
continued research and development of advanced centrifuges; and
no progress toward resolving outstanding questions regarding the "military applications" of Iran's nuclear activities.
A recurring issue throughout the report concerns Iran's minimalist application of safeguards, in particular where the IAEA seeks information
about new enrichment facilities that are reportedly under construction,
design information for the Fordow facility,
uranium mining and related activities.
The IAEA continues to note that Iran's refusal to be bound by its 2003 safeguards agreement and subsidiary arrangements does not allow the Agency to build confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear activities."
"The May 31 IAEA safeguards report on Iran is the first to contain any data on the production of 19.75 percent enriched uranium in IR-1 centrifuges at the Natanz Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP). Iran has said that it plans to eventually turn this enriched uranium into fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR). Data in the report show that Iran's initial average production rate of 19.75 percent material is 3 kilograms per month of LEU hexafluoride, or an estimated total of about 11 kilograms of 19.75 percent LEU hexafluoride through the end of May. As ISIS has noted in previous reports, the annual fueling requirements for the TRR is quite low-on the order of 6 to 10 kilograms per year.
As Iran enriches up to 19.75 percent in the PFEP, it is important to understand Iran's potential to enrich greater quantities of 19.75 percent enriched uranium by using more cascades. As the original agreement to swap LEU for 19.75 percent LEU had an eye towards both removing most of Iran's stock of 3.5 percent LEU and preventing enrichment up to 19.75%, a future renegotiated deal will also need to take into account the removal of Iran's growing stock of 19.75 percent LEU and verified commitments not to produce more. One of the serious weaknesses in the Iran, Brazil, and Turkey declaration on the removal of LEU from Iran is its silence on these critical points.
This report illustrates different scenarios for Iran's production of 19.75 percent enriched uranium at the PFEP based on the number of cascades enriching, Iran's experience to date, and its stated goals. It is important to note that Iran's enrichment of uranium to this level is still in its early days. The recent two to three month period reported in the May 31 IAEA report does not establish a firm record of enrichment output. Nonetheless, it shows that Iran was able to quickly produce this higher enriched material in significant quantities. Iran has also demonstrated its ability to disassemble, move, and restart cascades as needed. Iran is also becoming more sophisticated in operating centrifuge cascades together to produce higher levels of enrichment. As a result, Iran has accomplished additional steps in demonstrating a capability to make weapon-grade uranium either in a parallel secret program or during a breakout."
Summary: "At the problem-plagued Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant, breakout in two months remains unrealistic."
"In any discussion about Iran's nuclear weapons capability, a key estimate is the amount of time Iran would need to "breakout" and enrich to weapon-grade its stock of low-enriched uranium (LEU) that is currently under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. This estimate provides an indication of the amount of time the international community has to detect and respond to Iran, should it embark on a breakout scenario. If breakout times become a matter of several weeks, then even the ability of the IAEA to detect a breakout is at issue.
Most estimates of breakout time at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) exceed 6 months. A year ago, U.S. officials stated that breakout at the FEP would take about 1 year, while ISIS assessed that breakout would take 6 months. At least one other government assessed breakout time as between these two estimates.
Thus, it was interesting when Gregory S. Jones assessed that Iran could currently enrich a stock of 3.5 percent LEU and existing 19.75 percent LEU to enough weapon-grade material for 1 bomb's worth in 62 days at the FEP. His estimate appeared recently in The Washington Post, The New Republic, and a Bipartisan Policy Center publication. "
The question inevitably arises over whether Iran is trying to stockpile 19.75 percent LEU to enable it to more quickly make nuclear weapons, if the regime decides to build them. Iran could produce the weapon-grade uranium either via a traditional breakout scenario or by openly making HEU under safeguards.
With a growing inventory of 19.75 percent enriched uranium and deployment of advanced centrifuges, Iran could in a few years dramatically decrease the amount of time it would need to enrich its LEU stock to weapon-grade. But Iran does not yet have this capability. Faced with breakout times of many months, Iran may instead continue producing 19.75 percent LEU and look for an opportunity to make HEU under a civilian justification.
"Without past negotiated outcomes, international pressure, sanctions, and intelligence operations, Iran would likely have nuclear weapons by now. Iran has proven vulnerable to international pressure. It now faces several inhibitions against building nuclear weapons, not least of which is fear of a military strike by Israel and perhaps others if it "breaks out" by egregiously violating its commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and moves to produce highly enriched uranium (HEU) for nuclear weapons.
However, threats of pre-emptive military strikes alone have been unproductive in extending this inhibition against building nuclear weapons. Instead, these threats have led Iran to better protect its nuclear facilities and activities and allowed it to make false comparisons to the case of Iraq, undermining support in much of the world for increasing pressure internationally out of fear that pressure would lead to a preventive attack.
Iran is already capable of making weapon-grade uranium and a crude nuclear explosive device. Nonetheless, Iran is unlikely to break out in 2012, in large part because it will remain deterred from doing so and limited in its options for quickly making enough weapon-grade uranium. Iran continues to be subject to a complex set of international actions that constrain its nuclear options.
Faced with the difficulties and risks of military options and the marginal benefits of negotiations during the last several years, an alternative third option, born out of frustration and slow, patient work, has developed. It builds on United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions that delegitimize certain aspects of Iran's nuclear programs. However, it goes beyond these efforts by increasing the chance of detecting secret nuclear activities and heightening barriers against Iran achieving its nuclear objectives. Its goal is to create and implement measures to delay, thwart, and deter Iran's acquisition of nuclear capabilities. This strategy is having some significant successes, including delaying Iran's ability to make nuclear weapons and creating significant deterrence against it building nuclear weapons today. Absent a meaningful negotiated settlement, which remains the best way to resolve the nuclear crisis with Iran, its longer-term prognosis is difficult to predict without broader application.
These methods help explain Iran's delayed progress in developing its nuclear weapons capabilities. However, they have not completely stopped Iran from making progress toward that goal. Iran continues to make both 3.5 and 19.75 percent low enriched uranium (LEU) and it has tripled its rate of 19.75 percent LEU production with the installation of IR-1 centrifuges at the subterranean Fordow enrichment site. Enrichment at this site started in late 2011.
This project has examined a wide range of future options that Iran may use during the next several years to build nuclear weapons (see table 2). The four that emerged as showing the highest probability of occurring in the period from now through 2015 are:
Dash at a Declared Enrichment Site
Dash at a Covert Enrichment Site
Cheating in Plain Sight
A Parallel Program
In all cases ISIS evaluated, each potential nuclear future is not inevitable. International actions may delay or prevent them. Iran may decide that the potential costs are too high and may choose not to pursue any of them. Despite the existing constraints, however, Iran may decide that at some point obtaining nuclear weapons is worth the risks.
In 2012, the probability of any of the scenarios occurring is judged to be low. This can be interpreted to mean that Iran is currently in a poor position to build nuclear weapons covertly and is thus unlikely to attempt to do so this year. In 2013 and onward, the probabilities of the four futures mentioned above occurring begin to increase toward a medium likelihood (see table 3).
None of the probabilities of the nuclear futures evaluated by ISIS is judged as being high; many remain low. These judgments reflect technical challenges Iran will face, international actions that will continue to constrain particular nuclear futures, and the extent of pressure on Iran today and that is expected to be applied in the future to deter Iran from building nuclear weapons.
However, low-probability events should not be interpreted in the context of this study as not meriting concern. The assigned probabilities during the next several years provide no reason for complacency. Given the consequences of a nuclear armed Iran, even options with low probabilities of occurring require action designed to keep them low. Similarly, since an Iran with nuclear weapons would be a high impact event, futures with a low probability, or those that are unlikely to occur, are still highly important and could have a severe impact. Thus, working to lower their probability of occurrence is important, as is developing contingency plans in case they do occur. In this report, the medium probability futures are the top priorities, and they require extra effort to reduce their likelihood of occurring.
According to this analysis, the options that Iran would tend to favor involve developing and deploying advanced centrifuges, making IR-1 centrifuges in lieu of advanced ones, continuing to find ways to produce higher enriched uranium in greater quantities under a civilian cover, building confidence in an ability to build covert sites, evading answering the IAEA's questions about past nuclear weaponization activities, and better protecting nuclear sites against military strikes. The task is to prevent Iran from succeeding by lowering the probabilities that Iran could achieve any of these nuclear futures while keeping it within the constraints of the NPT.
This report shows that Iran's capability to build nuclear weapons is constrained. However, this capability nevertheless increases with time, and Iran could develop more options to acquire nuclear weapons in the coming years unless it is further constrained or the probabilities of these futures occurring are lowered further. Additional constraints can emerge through negotiations, but these are more likely if a range of methods are utilized along the way to slow Iran's progress.
Any pragmatic future strategy must inhibit Iran's nuclear progress and pressure it into changing course while offering it an alternative, more prosperous pathway forward. But as we seek and engage in negotiations for a long-term solution, the key goal must be, at the same time, to implement additional measures to delay, thwart, and deter Iran's acquisition of nuclear capabilities and inhibit its ability to break out. In particular, such a strategy should focus on several key priorities:
More effective legal mechanisms to stop Iran from acquiring key goods for its nuclear programs. A priority is China's domestic enforcement of sanctions and trade controls; Better detection of Iran's illicit procurement efforts and broader enforcement of legal mechanisms worldwide;
Increased efforts in countries of transit concern to prevent Iran from transshipping banned goods; Stepped up operations to detect clandestine Iranian nuclear activities, including heightened intelligence operations inside Iran aimed at detecting secret nuclear sites and activities and encouraging defections of nuclear program "insiders";
Covert action to slow Iran's nuclear program, particularly if the conflict transforms into a protracted Cold War style stand-off between Iran and several members of the international community; and,
Increased economic and financial sanctions aimed at augmenting pressure, combined with an effort to displace Iranian oil exports.
A parallel strategy alongside pressure is to seek interim negotiated constraints on Iran's nuclear program that serve to reduce concerns about an Iranian breakout or dash to the bomb. Iran can receive tangible benefits in return for reducing its options to build nuclear weapons quickly and in secret. All sides could build valuable trust, something currently in short supply.
Table 4 evaluates a set of interim measures. The measures are ranked on their ability on an interim basis to inhibit breakout to weapons, improve detection of secret nuclear activities and sites, and prevent further development, diffusion, and protection of centrifuge assets. The table shows that none of the measures are effective at accomplishing all three goals. As these are interim measures, the negotiators should focus on the strategies that impact Iran's ability to break out in the short term, deploy advanced centrifuges, and to diffuse and better protect its centrifuge assets. The priority measures based on the ranking in Table 4 are:
Cap all enrichment at the level of five percent;
Freeze centrifuge installation at Qom (limit of four IR-1 centrifuge cascades);
Limit the number of advanced centrifuges enriching uranium to fewer than 500 and limit deployment exclusively to the Natanz Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP); and
Deposit all 19.75 percent LEU overseas.
Based on the public discussion, the following summarizes the most commonly discussed incentives in the context of an interim agreement:
Provision of 19.75 percent LEU fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR), starting within one year of date of agreement;
Provision of LEU targets for medical isotope production;
Provision of medical isotopes of the type that the TRR would produce; and
Commitment by P5+1 not to seek new U.N. Security Council sanctions for a defined period of time, contingent on implementation of agreement.
At the same time, the United States and its allies should reject any Iranian effort to trade interim measures for a reduction in sanctions or commitments not to add national or regional sanctions. In addition, Iran sought in an agreement negotiated by Turkey, Brazil, and Iran to establish an essentially unbridled right to uranium enrichment. But the P5+1 is unlikely to acknowledge Iran's right to uranium enrichment under the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty without a verified assurance that it is in compliance with this treaty, something lacking today. Iran needs to first satisfy the many concerns raised on an on- going basis by the IAEA about Iran's nuclear efforts.
Significant sanctions relief and how to ensure Iran is in compliance with the NPT are the proper subject of long-term negotiations.
The best remedy is a negotiated long-term resolution of the nuclear issues. Although Iran remains difficult to engage in a comprehensive negotiated solution, the shape of a future solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis is important to consider now. Several earlier attempts to engage Iran in a long-term solution have laid the basis for an acceptable outcome including illuminating creative diplomatic methods of achieving a compromise. The first was the "freeze for freeze" proposal, whereby Iran would have agreed to a suspension of its enrichment program in return for a freeze in additional U.N. sanctions. More recently, Russia proposed a step-wise resolution to the issue, although it did not release its proposal publicly.
These earlier efforts have created a sound foundation to build on. One lesson is that because the situation is so complicated, the negotiating goal should be a framework agreement that can incorporate a series of stages where each step includes concessions by Iran matched with incentives or concessions by the P5+1. (The P5+1 is the main negotiating partner of Iran composed of the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany.)
This report discusses the essential elements of such an agreement. Table 5 in the report lists ISIS's rough proposal for a five-stage framework agreement with Iran. The five stages in brief are:
Updated, verified "freeze for freeze" agreement.
Iran coming clean in a verifiable manner about its past and possible ongoing nuclear weaponization activities and accomplishments and receiving significant sanctions relief.
Intensive International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verification, temporary suspension of sensitive Iranian nuclear programs, and provisional suspension of U.N. Security Council sanctions.
IAEA certification of absence of undeclared nuclear activities, resumption of Iran's nuclear program, provision of major incentives package, and end of U.S. sanctions.
Growth of Iran's civil nuclear program and end of all remaining sanctions.
Absent a negotiated outcome, the international community must be prepared to signal for years if necessary that an Iran that seeks nuclear weapons will never be integrated. It must not acquiesce to Iran's current trajectory or give up on sanctions and other measures while accepting the current level of ambiguity over Iran's nuclear weapons aspirations. Ultimately, a negotiated solution remains the best way to resolve the nuclear crisis with Iran, and increased pressure offers the best hope of convincing Iran to undertake successful negotiations.
This report builds on a series of ISIS reports, research, and workshops during the last year."
"As Iran's stock of 19.75 percent enriched uranium increases, the amount of time Iran needs to produce weapon-grade uranium for nuclear weapons decreases significantly. At current rates of production of 19.75 percent low-enriched uranium (LEU), Iran will have enough of this material by early next year, if further enriched to weapon-grade in a breakout, for a nuclear weapon. If Iran modestly expands its capability to make 19.75 percent LEU consistent with its existing plans, it could have enough 19.75 percent LEU for a nuclear weapon by the end of 2012. Production of enough for a second nuclear weapon would take many additional months.
Because the Fordow enrichment plant is so deeply buried, it raises concerns that Iran will try to breakout at this site, believing that the site is impervious to military strikes or that breakout can be achieved prior to a military strike. Predicting when or if Iran would breakout at Fordow remains difficult, but it would likely want to have sufficient 19.75 percent LEU for more than one nuclear weapon and ensure a rapid breakout after a decision to do so. However, regardless of an exact timeline, the dedication of this site to the production of 19.75 percent LEU and its extreme fortifications increase the chance of military strikes aimed at preempting the emergence of the means for a more rapid Iranian breakout.
The ability to fully destroy the Fordow site is open to debate, but nonetheless the United States and Israel have the military capability to shut down operations at the facility for some period of time.
If Iran seeks to breakout at Fordow only, the time to produce enough weapon-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon is estimated to exceed two months. In this case, there is adequate time for both the detection of such a breakout and an international response.
Iran could reduce the time it needed to breakout using a stock of 19.75 percent LEU by using the relatively large numbers of centrifuges at the Natanz enrichment site, reducing breakout times to as short as about one month and requiring a relatively rapid detection and response.
In contrast, if Iran had to rely mainly on its stock of 3.5 percent LEU, breakout times are several months to obtain enough weapon-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon.
But even with a relatively short breakout time of one month, the Natanz site is highly vulnerable to military strikes and regularly visited by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors. On balance, Iran may feel deterred from breaking out there.
But Iran's current trajectory at Fordow is increasing the chance of a confrontation with Iran. To reduce the tensions caused by the Fordow site and Iran's increasing stocks of 19.75 percent LEU, a priority in the short term is Iran
agreeing to stop producing uranium enriched over five percent and
freezing the number of centrifuges at the Fordow site to no more than a few hundred.
It is in the interest of all concerned to avoid an escalation of the Iranian nuclear crisis by negotiating such an agreement, and then to negotiate in a step-by-step manner agreements that ensure Iran will not build nuclear weapons."
"The recently concluded first step agreement slows down Iran's nuclear program. This is important. It is also important to recognize that it is not a rollback.
Let us look at the current facts on the ground.
With Iran's inventory of 20 percent enriched uranium, it would take about 2 weeks using 6,000 IR-1 centrifuges, operating in tandem cascades, to produce enough weapons-grade material for one nuclear device.
If Iran uses 3 to 5 percent enriched uranium as feed material at all its currently installed 18,000 IR-1 centrifuges at Natanz and Fordow, the same result would be achieved in 2 months.
The current agreement retains Iran's fleet of more than 18,000 IR-1 centrifuges.
Operational restrictions are placed that allow 10,000 centrifuges to continue to enrich at up to 5 percent at any given point of time. These measures, together with
a cessation of 20 percent enriched uranium production and
conversion of the 20 percent-level stockpiles to oxides,
extend the current breakout times by about 2 months.
The enrichment and inspection measures in this agreement cover Iran's declared facilities. The presence of any undeclared facilities, however, changes the picture. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) remains unable to provide credible assurances on the absence of undeclared nuclear facilities and activities.
The present deal-freezing construction of the Arak reactor and its fuel production-is welcome. If left unchecked, the reactor, which is envisaged to start operation by the end of 2014, would be able to produce more than one bomb's worth of plutonium annually. "
Seyed Hossein Mousavian, who served as a member and spokesman for Iran's nuclear negotiating team from 2003 to 2005 and as head of the Foreign Relations Committee of Iran's National Security Council from 1997 to 2005, discussed his new book, The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: A Memoir, a first-of-its kind insider account of the Iranian nuclear crisis. Mousavian analyzed the misperceptions and mistakes by the West and by Iran that have driven the current nuclear stand-off and outlined what a nuclear agreement needs to include for it to be acceptable to both the West and Tehran. Carnegie's George Perkovich and Princeton University's Zia Mian moderated.
Iranian perspective: Mousavian's book is part memoir, part contemporary history, and part analysis. It adds a much needed Iranian insider perspective to the historical record, Perkovich said.
Mutual Understanding: Any peaceful resolution to the current stalemate over Iran's nuclear program will require mutual understanding between Iran and the West on each other's objectives, politics, and interests, Mousavian said.
Iran and the West are embroiled in the current nuclear crisis due to a series of miscalculations between Iran and the West, Mousavian asserted. In particular, two miscalculations from the early 2000s - one by Iran and one by the United States - stand out as a significant cause of continuing distrust.
Western Miscalculation: Between 2003 and 2005, Iran had a policy to seek broad engagement with the West through a variety of confidence building measures. Mousavian explained that the West thought Iran's willingness to negotiate stemmed from a fear of being sanctioned in the UN Security Council and from example of US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, and Washington tried to use this presumed fear to bolster its demand that Iran halt its uranium enrichment program completely.
Iranian Miscalculation: For its part, Iran believed that the West would never succeed in bringing Iran-a member of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) that was willing to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)-to the UN Security Council, he added.
Diplomatic Failures under the Obama Administration
Hopefulness: The election of President Obama brought the hope of a change in America's approach to Iran, Mousavian explained. Obama's early rhetoric fostered confidence in his good intentions within Iran.
Failing to Engage: In practice, President Obama has not championed a new diplomatic approach, and his administration has missed opportunities for engagement with Iran, Mousavian said. For example, after a proposed nuclear fuel swap between Iran and the P5+1 [China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, plus Germany] failed in 2008, Iran proposed making the deal directly with the United States in November 2009. Washington declined the offer.
Mutual Constraints: Mousavian explained that Iranian domestic constraints also have caused the breakdown of negotiations. In 2009, Iran agreed to a deal to swap its low-enriched uranium for fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor but later balked due to lack of coordination between the Iranian negotiators and the Supreme Leader. Domestic politics have posed considerable challenges for both the United States and Iran on the Iran nuclear issue.
Current Pressures on Iran
Sanctions: When asked about the impact of sanctions, Mousavian maintained that sanctions will not convince Iran to comply with the West's demands. As a matter of politics and culture, Iran will not concede on an issue under pressure, he said.
Prospect of Military Action: Mousavian explained that the predominant perception in Iran is that Israel is not in a position to unilaterally attack Iran and so does not constitute a major threat to Iran. Iran's real concern is the United States, which it sees as a major power, and Israeli influence on US decision-making. If Washington decides to engage in military action -unilaterally or by backing Israel- there could not be a rapprochement between the two countries for at least a decade, he asserted.
Future Diplomatic Efforts
Iranian Demands: Any deal for Iran over its nuclear program would need to include U.S. and international recognition of Iran's right to enrich uranium, the normalization of the Iran file with the IAEA and UN Security Council, and the removal of sanctions, Mousavian said.
Transparency: In return for these conditions, Mousavian said Iran could accept maximum transparency concerning its nuclear program, including implementing the IAEA's Subsidiary Arrangement Code 3.1 and the Additional Protocol.
Getting to Yes: Iran is in a better position than the United States to make a deal, he added, because Supreme Leader Khamenei has enough political power to make a decision for the country while President Obama is held back by Congressional opposition.
Broad Relationship: Mousavian argued that there needs to be negotiations on more than just the nuclear issue. The United States and Iran should negotiate in parallel on matters of mutual interest, including Iraq, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf, trade and terrorism."
"... A good deal should increase significantly the time needed to produce enough nuclear explosive material for a nuclear weapon, typically known as a breakout timeline. The United States reportedly often talks about achieving breakout times of one year. To achieve such a breakout time, Iran will need to limit specific, existing nuclear capabilities, including reducing significantly the number of its centrifuges and the size of its uranium and low enriched uranium stocks, and limiting its centrifuge R&D programs."
"... The agreement will need to include verification provisions that go beyond the IAEA's Additional Protocol. These supplementary provisions will need to create a critical baseline of information, including how many centrifuges Iran has made, how much natural uranium it has produced and is producing annually, and its inventory of raw materials and equipment for its centrifuge program. This baseline is necessary if the agreement is to provide assurances about the absence of secret nuclear activities and facilities."
"... At this point in time, it is not certain that Iran would rely entirely on the covert pathway option for fear of getting caught again as it did in building the formerly secret Fordow facility, and long before it has enough weapon-grade uranium or separated plutonium for nuclear weapons. The revelation about the Qom enrichment plant was highly damaging to Iran's international credibility. ... Iran is more likely today to choose a safe route to preserving and further developing a capability to produce fissile material for a nuclear weapon. In the case of gas centrifuges, it is likely to seek to maintain and increase its capabilities at declared centrifuge sites, the associated centrifuge manufacturing complex, and centrifuge R&D facilities. It would view this path as the preferred one, because it can simply and legitimately claim that all its activities are civil in nature, even if it is actually hiding the goal of eventually seeking nuclear weapons. If it opts to make nuclear weapons in the future, its declared programs could serve as the basis for whatever it does next. Then, it could pursue breakout as it deems most appropriate, whether by misusing its declared centrifuge facilities, building covert ones, or using both paths together."
"... Breakout time is the amount of time Iran would need to create enough weapon-grade uranium for a single nuclear weapon, if it reneged or cheated on the agreement. Additional time would be needed to fabricate the nuclear weapon itself but the creation of enough fissile material (weapon-grade uranium or separated plutonium) is widely accepted as the "long pole in the tent" of making a nuclear weapon and the only part of this process susceptible to reliable discovery and subsequent pressure. Other nuclear weaponization activities, such as producing high explosive components, electronic components, or uranium metal parts, are notoriously difficult to detect and stop. By focusing on breakout time - as defined above - the agreement would grant the international community a guaranteed period of time to react and prevent Iran's success. The longer the breakout time, the more reaction options we have. A deal that enshrines a short breakout time is risky because if Iran were to make the decision to make a weapon, military intervention would be the only available response."
"Typically, the U.S. negotiators have sought limitations on Iran's nuclear programs that lead to breakout times of 12 months. (ISIS has taken the position that under certain conditions 6 months would be adequate.) ..."
(20% LEU cap = 0)
"One of the calculations considers an important case, namely the current, frozen centrifuge program under the JPA where Iran retains its existing, installed IR-1 centrifuges and no stocks of near 20 percent LEU hexafluoride. In this case, the breakout time is about 2 months, which is the same as public U.S. government estimates. "
"If the number of IR-1 centrifuges were reduced to about 10,000, breakout time would grow to about 3 months, according to the ISIS estimates."
(larger 3.5% LEU cap)
"To achieve a breakout time of 12 months in the case that stocks of 3.5 percent LEU are not limited to relatively small quantities, calculations point to a centrifuge program of about 2,000 IR-1 centrifuges. "
(severe LEU cap)
"If stocks of LEU are limited significantly, these centrifuge quantities can increase but, as is discussed below, the total number of allowed centrifuges would not increase that much-- only to about 4,000-5,000 IR-1 centrifuges. A major problem is that the centrifuges would continue producing LEU, complicating the effective maintenance of a LEU cap."
"Any deal should satisfy the following principles if it is to last:
Sufficient response time in case of violations;
A nuclear program meeting Iran's practical needs;
Adequate irreversibility of constraints;
Stable provisions; and
"Iran on the other hand has emphasized the principles of cooperation and transparency. These principles are predicated on its assertion that its word should be trusted, namely its pronouncement that it will not build nuclear weapons. These principles also reflect its long standing view that any agreement should have constrained verification conditions and minimal impact on its nuclear programs, even allowing for their significant growth, despite the current lack of economic or practical justifications for such growth. Many of Iran's negotiating positions have been rejected because they can be undone on short order, offering little practical utility in constraining its future abilities to build nuclear weapons. Iran on numerous occasions in the past has shown a willingness to stop cooperation with the IAEA and reverse agreed upon constraints, sometimes rapidly."
"In the rest of my testimony, I would like to focus on several specific provisions or goals necessary to a successful deal. In particular, I will discuss the following:
Achieve Concrete Progress in Resolving Concerns about Iran's Past and Possibly Ongoing Nuclear Weapons Efforts
Maintain Domestic and International Sanctions on Proliferation Sensitive Goods
Render Excess Centrifuges Less Risky
Institutionalize a Minimal Centrifuge R&D Program
Keep Centrifuge Numbers Low and as a Supplementary Measure Achieve Lower Stocks of LEU hexafluoride and oxide
Beware the concept of "SWU" as a Limit
Ensure Arak Reactor's Changes are Irreversible"
"Iran appears to accept that it must limit plutonium production in the heavy water Arak nuclear reactor (IR-40), which is almost 90 percent complete and under a construction moratorium because of the interim nuclear deal. As presently designed, the reactor can be used relatively easily to make weapon-grade plutonium, at a production rate of up to about 9 kilograms a year. This plutonium could later be separated and used in nuclear weapons. Strategies for lowering plutonium production have been discussed publicly ..."
Iran's nuclear weapon option.
The 1946 Report on the International Control of Atomic Energy (often called the Acheson-Lilienthal report, after its primary authors) concluded that the pursuit of nuclear technologies for both peaceful purposes and the bomb are, during much of their respective courses, interchangeable and interdependent. Many countries have since used the inherent duality of nuclear technologies to clandestinely pursue the bomb under the guise of peaceful nuclear energy programs. The list includes not only the usual suspects - Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria, South Africa, Pakistan, India, and Israel - but also Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.
The Shah of Iran launched a major commercial nuclear program in the early 1970s, making it the Iranian government's biggest non-oil investment. He also explored the military possibilities of nuclear power, ostensibly through cooperation with Israel and South Africa. Although his weapon ambitions were severely constrained by Washington arm-twisting, the Shah secretly kept the option open, telling the head of Iran's nuclear program that he wanted to be able to build a bomb quickly if anyone in the neighborhood did so.
Ayatollah Khomeini summarily brought the entire nuclear program to a grinding halt when he came to power in 1979. The covert re-launch of the program a few years later focused on acquiring uranium centrifuge technologies through the proliferation networks established by European businessmen and Pakistan's purveyor of nuclear technologies, A.Q. Khan. In its resurrected program, Iran's new partner was Russia rather than Germany, which had originally contracted to construct the Bushehr reactor. In the early 2000s, Iran's massive covert program was uncovered, raising suspicions that the country was seeking nuclear weapons. Eventually, Tehran's contention that its nuclear activities were strictly peaceful did not even satisfy Russia, the main partner in its nuclear effort, and the UN Security Council adopted a series of increasingly crippling economic sanctions.
The sanctions did not stop Iran's centrifuge program. During the past 10 years, Iran has enriched uranium so it contains 3 percent to 5 percent uranium 235, the appropriate level for light-water reactor fuel, and also achieved the 19.75 percent level needed for research reactor fuel. With its current stock of enriched uranium and its existing equipment, Iran can, in a breakout scenario, make enough highly enriched uranium (90 percent uranium 235) for a nuclear bomb in a matter of months or even weeks.
In such a scenario, Iran would still have to weaponize this highly enriched uranium - that is, it would need to craft a bomb and the means to deliver it. Iran likely has the necessary capabilities to build a simple bomb deliverable by plane, boat, or van. But bombs must be miniaturized to be delivered by missile. Iran has an expanding missile-development program. The intermittent missile-related threats made by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commanders against Israel, the United States, and Iran's neighbors make the program a concern. Still, Iran would need a number of years of research, development, and testing before it could have a reliable, missile-deliverable nuclear warhead.
The terms of the interim agreement will temporarily prevent Tehran from moving closer to a potential breakout scenario. Upcoming negotiations will aim to erect additional technical barriers. Negotiators will limit enrichment levels, the number and sophistication of centrifuges, and the types of fuel and level of completion for the Arak reactor, and they will seek to preclude reprocessing of its spent fuel. These measures will be necessary to delay a potential breakout, but they will not be sufficient to alleviate concerns about the ultimate goals of the Iranian program.
Indeed, external pressure, export controls, and technical barriers were not sufficient to keep Israel, South Africa, Pakistan, India, or North Korea from the bomb. These countries demonstrated that a sufficiently determined nation with moderate technical and industrial capabilities can build the bomb.
But other countries with such capabilities - particularly South Korea - have achieved enormous progress in commercial nuclear energy production and reaped large economic benefits by eschewing uranium enrichment and other aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle that are most closely connected to nuclear weapons production. Iran could go down a similar path - but only if it engages in genuine internal debate that acknowledges just how costly its nuclear program has been to date.
An embarrassing record of nuclear energy production. Iran's pride and joy, the uranium centrifuge program, can enrich in one year only as much uranium as the European consortium Urenco can produce in about five hours. A ten-fold increase in Iran's centrifuge capacity would be required to enrich enough uranium to fuel its Bushehr reactor alone. And no matter how many more centrifuges Iran installs, it can never become self-sufficient in nuclear fuel production; it does not possess the uranium ore reserves required for a large-scale nuclear energy program.
On March 3, 2014, at the 2014 AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., the Wisconsin Project reviewed the status of Iran's nuclear program under the interim agreement and the challenges facing the United States and its partners as a long-term solution with Iran is sought.
In its remarks, the Project explained that it is impossible to have an enrichment program for power that is smaller than an enrichment program for bombs:
Over the eight years that Iran has been enriching uranium, it has accumulated only enough to fuel a standard-size nuclear reactor for less than three months. That same stockpile could fuel seven nuclear weapons.
Despite Iran's years of effort to develop enrichment technology, it would take Tehran more than a decade to amass enough uranium to operate its only power reactor for one year - yet this same material could fuel dozens of bombs.
The Project also estimated the status of Iran's nuclear program at the end of the year:
Iran may have amassed enough additional low-enriched uranium to fuel two nuclear weapons.
All of Iran's 18,000 installed centrifuges will remain intact.
The final components for the Arak heavy water reactor could be ready to install.
The study makes the dubious claims that Iran would need
3 years in the case of making a nuclear weapon with highly enriched uranium and
5-7 years to make one out of plutonium produced in the Arak reactor.
Furthermore, this study asserts incorrectly that Iran would need at least 18 months to break out and produce enough weapon-grade uranium (WGU, more than 90 percent enriched) for a nuclear weapon, defined as 25 kilograms of weapon-grade uranium, or one "significant quantity".
(Breakout is typically defined as only the step of producing weapon-grade uranium and does not include the other parts of making the nuclear weapon. The Iranian study uses breakout to include all the steps of making a nuclear weapon.)
Using its data and correcting for mistakes, we arrive at a breakout estimate of 2-3 months in terms of the time to produce 25 kilograms of WGU, instead of its estimate of a minimum of 18 months.
Iran Experts Event, April 16, 2015
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has been hosting a major international media briefing on the Iranian Framework Agreement at noon EST on Thursday, April 16, 2015, in order to provide scientific and technical information to journalists. The event was live-tweeted from the Bulletin's Twitter handle: @BulletinAtomic.
Rachel Bronson has been moderating the live, phone-based briefing that will feature:
Frank von Hippel, senior research physicist and professor of public and international affairs emeritus, Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University;
Thomas R. Pickering, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (1989-1992), India (1992-1993), and Russia (1993-1996);
Sharon Squassoni, senior fellow and director, Proliferation Prevention Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC;
R. Scott Kemp, assistant professor of nuclear science and engineering, MIT, and an affiliate of Princeton's Program on Science and Global Security and of Harvard's Project on Managing the Atom.
The news release from the event is available here.
Frank von Hippel, senior research physicist and professor of public and international affairs emeritus, Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University
2 APRIL 2015
The agreement sketched out in the US summary, "Parameters for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action" (JCPOA, cached), and in Secretary of State John Kerry's remarks looks very good. Certainly, it is much better than the "no agreement" option that some US allies in the Middle East and many in Congress called for. A failure to agree would have been a recipe for disaster, a return to the counterpoint of escalating US sanctions and moves by Iran ever closer to a nuclear-weapon capability.
If this deal - including the extra transparency Iran has committed to, and the reciprocal sanctions relief for Iran that the US and its partners have committed to - can be nailed down by the end of June, and both sides live up to their commitments, it could buy us 10 years of relative calm with regard to Iran's nuclear program, at least.
Some of the constraints on Iran's nuclear program will phase out after 10 years. It is therefore important that we use those years to create a stronger nonproliferation regime in the Middle East.
One concern is that other countries in the region - notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey - will declare that they too have "inalienable rights" to uranium enrichment programs. They probably believe, as I do, that, even if Iran does not want a nuclear bomb, it does want the option of going for a bomb if the United States ever decides to try to achieve "regime change" in Teheran by force. And other countries in the region may want to position themselves to acquire nuclear weapons quickly if Iran does.
So we need to build in additional constraints on Iran's nuclear program that will reassure its neighbors in the time frame beyond 10 years, when the constraints on the size of Iran's enrichment program are relaxed.
I believe that former International Atomic Energy Agency director general Mohammed ElBaradei was right when he proposed that all national enrichment programs be phased out in favor of multinational enrichment programs like that of Urenco, which is supervised by Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. I hope that it will be possible to multinationalize Iran's enrichment program. Exactly how this can be done is not yet clear, but one of the partners could be Russia, which already has close ties to Iran's nuclear program. I would hope also that a regional organization could be created - akin to Euratom or the Brazil-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control - that would provide additional transparency into Iran's program for its neighbors.
The negotiators have crafted the beginning of a win-win solution to the confrontation over Iran's nuclear program. The rest of us need now to mobilize to defend and build on this achievement and strengthen the nonproliferation regime in both the Middle East and worldwide.
Mark Hibbs, senior associate, Carnegie Nuclear Policy Program
3 APRIL 2015
The six powers and Iran invested too much capital into this negotiation to permit either side to simply walk away absent a hard and fast deal on March 31. The result on April 3 was therefore a very promising announcement but no document containing fine print that all parties are committed to implement. Western negotiators hope that what they made public on April 3 will build political momentum toward a final agreement that includes iron-clad and specific obligations, deadlines, schedules, enforcement provisions, timetables, and legal authorities. They also probably hope that if they don't get there in three months, the momentum they generated through the end of last week will carry them a little further beyond the June 30 deadline. How much further will depend on diplomacy's critics in Iran and the United States when the time comes.
On April 3, more substance was made known by negotiators than most observers had anticipated. Most of the details, however, were voiced by Western negotiators and leaders, or expressed in a US "fact sheet" that may or may not precisely represent Iranian understandings. If Iran is on board with all of the US State Department's bullet points, then a final agreement based on these may indeed go far to limit the threat posed by Iran's latent nuclear-capable status for a decade or more:
Most of Iran's enriched uranium would be withdrawn from Iran;
Iran's route to significant amounts of weapon-grade plutonium would be effectively blocked;
the powers would have their thumbs over Iran's procurement activities;
and the IAEA would have explicit authority to reach deep into Iran's nuclear program.
Shortly after Iran and the powers concluded the Joint Plan of Action in November 2013, Iran challenged the US "fact sheet" on that preliminary accord as having misrepresented Iran's understandings, so caution should prevail about whether Iran's April 3 positions match those of Western powers. The US statement from April 3 says, for example, that Iran will do "limited research and development" with advanced centrifuges. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on April 3 that Iran would continue with the development of its advanced centrifuge models but he did not qualify that statement.
A number of US assertions require precise clarification that must be spelled out at the latest in a final comprehensive agreement. These include Secretary Kerry's remark that the final deal with Iran will not sunset.
Was he referring only to Iranian commitments (already made in the Joint Plan of Action) to implement modified Code 3.1 in its International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards subsidiary arrangements and its Additional Protocol?
If so, these provisions have long been understood by all states agreeing to them as permanent obligations.
Or did Kerry mean instead that Iran had agreed, in perpetuity, to IAEA comprehensive safeguards and to a commitment never to engage in specific nuclear weapons-related activities, including activities that the IAEA suspects Iran carried out over two decades?
The above-cited Iranian version of events suggests that Iran will implement the Additional Protocol "temporarily and voluntarily" until some unspecified future time when Iran would ratify it. The US statement says that Iran will be "required" to grant the IAEA access to "suspicious sites". But which ones?
Will the IAEA have access to facilities or locations operated by Iran's military?
These are details, but in the final agreement the details will matter considerably.
Creative efforts by both sides to finesse the issue of the term of a final agreement - with some obligations running out in 10 years, others in a decade or 15 years later - underscore the tacit assumption or aspiration of Western negotiators that successful implementation of a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran, including sanctions-lifting, will over time encourage Iran's leadership to indefinitely extend most or all the commitments Iran would make to restrain its nuclear behavior. This - and not what's in the final deal's footnotes - is the most portentous question mark looming over the entire negotiation.
"For ten years, enrichment and enrichment research and development will be limited to ensure a breakout timeline of at least 1 year. Beyond 10 years, Iran will abide by its enrichment and enrichment R&D plan submitted to the IAEA, and pursuant to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), under the Additional Protocol resulting in certain limitations on enrichment capacity."
"Edward Friedman and Roger Lewis's essay "A Scenario for Jihadist Nuclear Revenge", published in the Spring 2014 edition of the Public Interest Report, is a sobering reminder of both the possibility of a terrorist nuclear attack based on stolen highly-enriched uranium and the depressing level of public ignorance of such threats.1 Articles exploring the issue of terrorists or rogue sub-national actors acquiring and using a nuclear weapon or perpetrating some other type of nuclear-themed attack have a long history and have addressed a number of scenarios, including a full-scale program to produce a weapon from scratch,2 use of stolen reactor-grade plutonium,3 an attack with a radiological dispersal device, 4 and the vulnerability of research reactors. 5 Equally vigorous are discussions of countermeasures such as detecting warheads 6 and searching for neutron activity due to fissile materials hidden inside cargo containers.7 An excellent summary analysis of the prospects for a terrorist-built nuclear weapon was prepared almost three decades ago by Carson Mark, Theodore Taylor, Eugene Eyster, William Maraman and Jacob Wechsler,8 who laid out a daunting list of materials, equipment, expertise and material-processing operations that would be required to fabricate what the authors describe as a "crude" nuclear weapon - a gun or implosion-type device similar to Little Boy or Fat Man. The authors estimated that such a weapon might weigh on the order of a ton or more and have a yield of some 10 kilotons. Perpetrators would face a serious menu of radiological and toxicological hazards involved in processing fissile materials. For example, both uranium (U) and plutonium (Pu) are chemically toxic; also, U can ignite spontaneously in air and Pu tends to accumulate in bones and kidneys. Of course, longer-term health effects might be of little concern to a group of suicidal terrorists.9
While the difficulties of such a project might provide reassurance that such an effort has a low probability of being brought to fruition, we might ask if nuclear-armed terrorists along the lines envisioned by Friedman and Lewis would be willing to settle for a relatively low-yield device to achieve their ends. A bomb with a yield of 10 percent of that of Little Boy would still create a devastating blast, leave behind a radiological mess, and generate no small amount of social and economic upheaval. Such a yield would be small change to professional weapons engineers, but the distinction between one kiloton and 15 kilotons might largely be lost on political figures and the public in the aftermath of such an event. Timothy McVeigh's 1995 Oklahoma City truck bomb used about 2.5 tons of explosive; a one-kiloton detonation would represent some 400 such explosions and make a very powerful statement.
Table 1: Adopted and calculated parameters and yield for a simple gun-type fission weapon, assuming a 40-kg core of U-235.
Motivated by Friedman and Lewis's scenario, I consider the feasibility of an extremely crude gun-type U-235 device configured to be transported in a pickup truck or similar light vehicle. My concern is not with the difficulties perpetrators might face in acquiring fissile material and clandestinely preparing their device, but rather with the results they might achieve if they can do so. The results reported here are based on the basic physics of fission weapons as laid out in a series of pedagogical papers that I have published elsewhere.10 The essential configuration and expected yield of the device proposed is described ...
... The core and a plug of tamper material are to be propelled down an artillery tube into a cylindrical tamper case such that the core will be located in the middle of the case once assembly is complete; the assembled core-plus-tamper is assumed to be of diameter and length Ltamp. The choice of tamper material is a crucial consideration; it can seriously affect the predicted yield. In the case of Little Boy, readily-available tungsten-carbide (WC) was employed. Beryllium oxide (BeO) has more desirable neutron-reflective properties, but is expensive and its dust is carcinogenic; more importantly, an effort to acquire hundreds of kilograms of it is likely to bring unwanted attention. I report results for both WC and BeO tampers."
1. Edward A. Friedman & Roger K. Lewis, "A Scenario for Jihadist Nuclear Revenge," Federation of American Scientists Public Interest Report 67 (2) (Spring 2014).
2. Robert Harney, Gerald Brown, Matthew Carlyle, Eric Skroch & Kevin Wood, "Anatomy of a Project to Produce a First Nuclear Weapon," Science and Global Security 14 (2006): 2-3, 163-182.
3. J. Carson Mark, "Explosive Properties of Reactor-Grade Plutonium," Science and Global Security 4 (1993): 1, 111-128.
4. J. Magill, D. Hamilton, K. Lützenkirchen, M. Tufan, G. Tamborini, W. Wagner, V. Berthou & A. von Zweidorf, "Consequences of a Radiological Dispersal Event with Nuclear and Radioactive Sources," Science and Global Security 15 (2007): 2, 107-132.
5. George Bunn, Chaim Braun, Alexander Glaser, Edward Lyman & Fritz Steinhausler, "Research Reactor Vulnerability to Sabotage by Terrorists," Science and Global Security 11 (2003): 2-3, 85-107.
6. Steve Fetter, Valery A. Frolov, Marvin Miller, Robert Mozley, Oleg F. Prilutsky, Stanislav N. Rodinov & Roald Z. Sagdeev, "Detecting nuclear warheads," Science and Global Security 1 (1990): 3-4, 225-253.
7. J. I. Katz, "Detection of Neutron Sources in Cargo Containers," Science and Global Security 14 (2006): 2-3, 145-149.
8. J. Carson Mark, Theodore Taylor, Eugene Eyster, William Maraman & Jacob Wechsler, "Can Terrorists Build Nuclear Weapons?" Paper Prepared for the International Task Force on the Prevention of Nuclear Terrorism. Nuclear Control Institute, Washington, DC (1986). Available at http://www.nci.org/k-m/makeab.htm
9. Cristoph Wirz & Emmanuel Egger, "Use of nuclear and radiological weapons by terrorists?" International Review of the Red Cross 87 (2005): 859, 497-510.
10. B. Cameron Reed,
"Arthur Compton's 1941 Report on explosive fission of U-235: A look at the physics." American Journal of Physics 75 (2007): 12, 1065-1072;
"A brief primer on tamped fission-bomb cores." American Journal of Physics 77 (2009): 8, 730-733;
"Predetonation probability of a fission-bomb core." American Journal of Physics 78 (2010): 8, 804-808; "Student-level numerical simulation of conditions inside an exploding fission-bomb core." Natural Science 2 (2010): 3, 139-144;
"Fission fizzles: Estimating the yield of a predetonated nuclear weapon." American Journal of Physics, 79 (2011): 7, 769-773; The Physics of the Manhattan Project (Heidelberg, Springer-Verlag, 2010).
"The Islamic revolution - or, to be precise, the 444-day-long detention of American embassy staff that followed - put an end to this happy nuclear coupling. Indeed, over the next two decades, the United States went out of its way to block nuclear sales to Iran by foreign governments, applying pressure on Argentina, France, China, Russia, and others to prevent them from supplying Iran with nuclear infrastructure that might be turned to weapons use.
But Iran still wanted to build a nuclear fuel cycle, and its old ties with America were hard to shake. With the state-to-state channel severed, Iranian procurers sought out American-made goods through private commercial routes, with actually a good degree of success. A 1994 hearing in the US Senate found that over a four-year period beginning in 1988, American companies had made hundreds of nuclear-related, dual-use exports to Iran, for goods valued at more than $200 million.
Some of these exports ended up in the hands of malign end-users. In at least two cases, the Senate heard, dual-use equipment went to the Sharif University of Technology, which was at that time known to be acting as a front for a covert nuclear weapons research effort being undertaken by Iran's military. (Interestingly, someone who was allegedly in on that duplicity was Sharif University's then-chancellor, MIT graduate Ali Akbar Salehi; he is now the head of Iran's nuclear agency and was one of Iran's main negotiators at the Lausanne talks.)
Spurred by embarrassing transactions like those described to the Senate and a growing unease over Iran's poorly hidden nuclear weapons program, the United States did its best to thwart illicit private trade to Iran through a series of laws and regulations. In 1995, President Clinton signed a complete trade and investment embargo. In the 20 years since, an entire ecosystem has grown within the US government dedicated to combating Iran's procurement efforts for its nuclear, missile, and military programs.
Siimilar, albeit smaller, counter-proliferation architectures have been built by other countries. Inernational law comples them to do so:
A UN Security Council resolution passed in 2004 obliges all states to take efforts to prevent weapons of mass destruction-related proliferation via non-state actors, and a series of UN resolutions on Iran requires states to take measures to deny Iran the goods it needs to run its nuclear facilities at Natanz and Arak, as well as its ballistic missile program.
But despite the global dragnet stitched together by these efforts, Iranian procurers have still been successful in obtaining the dual-use, nuclear-related goods needed to build and maintain the country's nuclear fuel cycle. And the places they have turned in the past might give us good indications as to where Iran will want to go shopping via its new, Lausanne-endorsed procurement channel.
A common perception holds that Iran has done most of its illicit buying in Europe; this is partly true. Iran has obtained nuclear-related equipment from European - and particularly German - manufacturers in many ways.
As Institute for Science and International Security president David Albright has described in his book Peddling Peril, Iran's first centrifuge cascades were built with vacuum equipment bought from German vacuum company Leybold-Heraeus (now Oerlikon Leybold).
The Stuxnet malware, designed to sabotage those same Iranian centrifuges about a decade later, targeted industrial control equipment made by Siemens, another German company.
With this sales history, it is impossible to discount the EU as a prospective nuclear marketplace for Tehran."
"Despite the fact that Iran no longer has a stock of near 20 % low enriched uranium (LEU) in hexafluoride form (UF6), it continues to retain a significant portion of this material in the form of oxide. In total, at the end of June, Iran will possess about 228 kilograms (kg) of near 20 % LEU (uranium mass).
Based on historical data, an estimated 43 kg will be in uranium oxide powder at the end of June.
About 125 kg will be in scrap, waste, and in-process.
Another 60 kg of this LEU is expected to be in Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) fuel. Most of the LEU in the TRR fuel will be fresh and not irradiated. Irradiated LEU is typically much harder to chemically process and use in a breakout than unirradiated LEU.
The amount of Iran's near 20 % LEU, in any form, should be reduced as much as possible to ensure that breakout periods remain at least 12 months, whether discussing overt or covert routes. The reason is simple: not only is the LEU oxide powder easily re-convertible to UF6, but other forms of near 20 % LEU can be recovered into UF6 form in a straightforward manner, even when in a uranium/aluminum mixture in fuel or in a production form.
Once reconverted to a UF6 form, this LEU can be used in a breakout, significantly lowering breakout timelines because near 20 % LEU is much closer to weapon-grade uranium than 3.5 % LEU or natural uranium.
For example, if Iran can reconvert simply 50 kilograms of near 20 % LEU UF6 (about 36 kilograms uranium mass), or about 16 % of its current stock of this material, it can reduce a 12 month breakout timeline to about 8 months [note added by J. Gruber: compare this with these figures].
A rule of thumb is that in a breakout 50 kg of near 20 percent LEU UF6 is worth 500 kg of 3.5 percent LEU UF6."
The average rate of monthly production of low enriched uranium (LEU) went up slightly, as did the average centrifuge performance of the IR-1 centrifuges in the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant.
With regard to the possible military dimensions (PMD) issue, Iran has "shared some information" in relation to one of the measures in the IAEA/Iran Framework for Cooperation. The IAEA and Iran agreed to continue the dialogue and meet again in the near future. However, no major breakthrough was reported. Moreover, Iran did not propose any new practical measures to resolve the PMD issue and has rebuffed requests by the IAEA to speed up the process of resolving outstanding issues.
Iran has a total inventory
of 8,714 kg of 3.5 percent LEU hexafluoride and
another 1,822 kg (uranium mass) 3.5 percent LEU in various chemical forms at the Enriched UO2 powder Plant (EUPP).
In total, as of May 2015, Iran also has about 228 kilograms (kg) of near 20 percent LEU (uranium mass).
Of this near 20 percent LEU,
61.5 kg are in uranium oxide powder,
44.9 are in TRR fuel assemblies, and
121.2 kg are in scrap and waste, and in-process (all in uranium mass).
During the last reporting period, Iran did not feed any additional LEU into the Enriched UO2 powder Plant. So far, Iran has fed 2,720 kg of LEUF6 into the EUPP. Thus, Iran has fallen behind in its pledge under the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) to feed any newly produced LEU hexafluoride into the EUPP. Its current deficit is 1,106 kg of 3.5 percent LEU hexafluoride, which will increase by a few hundred kilograms during May and June. Under the JPA, Iran must feed all of this LEU into the EUPP by the end of June.
After a lengthy delay, the EUPP has finally produced LEU dioxide. As of May 23, 2015, the plant had produced 151 kg of uranium in the form of UO2 enriched up to 5 percent uranium 235. The problem, according to Iranian officials, is that the last section of the plant that produces the LEU dioxide did not work properly. In total, Iran produced the 151 kg of LEU dioxide from 402.6 kg of uranium in the form of ammonium diuranate enriched up to five percent.
Most of the near 20 percent LEU fed into the line to make Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) fuel continues to end up as scrap or is in-process rather than in TRR fuel assemblies.
Moreover, since July 24, 2014, Iran has used only 44.5 kg of near 20 percent LEU uranium oxide powder (uranium mass) for the manufacture of Tehran Research Reactor fuel elements. This value was 40.2 kg as of mid-April, 2015, implying that Iran had used only 4.3 kg since mid-April. Under the JPA, Iran has committed to use 60 kg of near 20 percent LEU oxide powder (uranium mass) from July 24, 2015 through the end of June 2015. To meet its commitment, Iran must use about 15 kilograms of this material in the next month. Thus, given its slow pace of using the LEU, it appears that Iran has fallen behind in this commitment.
Iran continues to conduct R&D activities related to the recovery of near 20 percent LEU from solid scrap, and there is concern that Iran may start recovering near 20 percent LEU scrap. According to senior U.S. officials, Iran has agreed under the extension agreements of the Joint Plan of Action not to process this near 20 percent LEU scrap. However, this issue requires clarification, at least. Better, Iran should commit not to commence operation of any process to recover near 20 percent LEU from scrap. The use of near 20 percent LEU can significantly speed up breakout timelines to well below 12 months, as required in a long term deal. The most straightforward manner to address this issue is to remove or blend down the over 100 kilograms of near 20 percent LEU (uranium mass) in scrap and waste, and in-process. However, preventing Iran from further developing a scrap recovery operation is also important in limiting Iran's ability to reduce breakout times to less than 12 months, if it did breakout and use residual stocks of near 20 percent LEU remaining in Iran.
Iran has cut by about 40 percent the rate of feeding of natural uranium hexafluoride (UF6) into its advanced centrifuges at the Natanz Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP) after a marked increase observed during the last reporting period over three prior reporting periods. In the advanced centrifuges, after enrichment and the measurement of the enrichment level of the product, the product is remixed with the tails or waste, producing natural uranium; and
Iran has started to make sample fuel pellets for the Bushehr power reactor.
A physicist, Gilinsky is an independent consultant, most recently advising Nevada on matters related to the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. His expertise spans a broad range of energy issues. From 1975 to 1984, he served on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, having been nominated by President Gerald Ford and renominated by President Jimmy Carter. Earlier in his career he worked at Rand Corporation; he was also an assistant director for policy and program review at the Atomic Energy Commission. (Source: Victor Gilinsky, A call to resist the nuclear revival, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Web Edition, 27. January 2009 (in cache, 18. February 2009)
2Security Studies Program & Department of Nuclear Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
"Nuclear critics saw promoting LWRs without reprocessing or the further spread of enrichment plants, then, as the best path. Enrichment and reprocessing, they argued, would be difficult to hide and, therefore, could and should be discouraged. "
"... the report makes clear that building and operating small, covert reprocessing and enrichment facilities are now far easier than they were portrayed to be 25 years ago.
A key reason why is the increasing availability of advanced centrifuge enrichment technology. This allows nations to make weapons-grade uranium with far less energy and in far less space than was required with older enrichment methods. It also allows them to distribute and hide their uranium enrichment facilities among a number of sites, something traditional gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment (the next most popular way to enrich uranium) does not permit.
Another reason why is that nations can quickly separate out the plutonium contained in spent reactor fuel in relatively affordable facilities that can be quite small (as little as 65 feet square) and therefore, be easily hidden.
The bottom line - LWRs no longer should be given to any nation that might divert the reactor's fresh lightly enriched fuel or the plutonium-laden spent fuel to make bombs.
The report details how fresh and spent LWR fuel can be used to accelerate a nation's illicit weapons program significantly. In the case of a state that can enrich uranium (either covertly or commercially),
fresh lightly enriched reactor fuel rods could be seized and the uranium oxide pellets they contain quickly crushed and fluoridated.
This lightly enriched uranium feed material, in turn, could enable a would-be bomb maker to produce a significant number of weapons with one-fifth the level of effort than what would otherwise be required to enrich the natural uranium to weapons grade.
As for spent LWR fuel, the report details how
about a year after an LWR of the size Iran has was brought on line, as much as 60 Nagasaki bombs' worth of near-weapon grade material could be seized and
the first bomb made in a matter of weeks. The report also details how
the reliability of the bombs made of this material, moreover, is similar to that of devices made of pure weapon grade plutonium.
The running assumption today, of course, is that any nation diverting either the fresh or spent fuel from an LWR site would be detected by IAEA inspectors. This clearly is the premise of the deal the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Russia are making to Iran: Russia will provide Iran with fresh reactor fuel if Iran promises to suspend
activities at its known uranium enrichment facilities and surrenders spent fuel from its LWR for transit and storage in Russia. What's not fully appreciated, however, is that Iran might well be able to divert these materials to covert enrichment or reprocessing plants and might well be able to do so without detection. Lengthy exposure to spent fuel that has just left an LWR of the sort required to package and ship long distances out of the country is quite hazardous. If Iran was set on making bombs, though, it might be willing to take the risks associated with a much shorter transit for quick reprocessing. The health hazards associated with diverting fresh LWR fuel, on the other hand, are virtually nil.
The IAEA currently
does not have complete, real time camera monitoring of either fresh or spent fuel storage areas in Iran and
only reviews camera tapes at these sites once every 90 days - a period within which Iran could divert this material to make its first nuclear weapon. Oddly, the IAEA is now considering expanding the intervals between these inspections (for nations other than Iran) from 90 days to a year as a way to rationalize its meager resources and to entice nations to allow the IAEA more intrusive inspection rights under the Additional Protocol.
The thinking here is that since it would take a nation about a year to construct an enrichment or reprocessing plant, the IAEA can afford to extend the time between inspections. This argument, however, assumes two things:
First, that the IAEA can determine in advance which nations do not have covert enrichment and reprocessing plants and,
second, that IAEA inspectors could detect covert reprocessing and enrichment plant construction in a timely fashion.
... the spread of hard-to-detect centrifuge enrichment technology, ably facilitated by the A. Q. Khan network, has undermined one of the core assumptions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The NPT contains no restrictions on the possession of this or any other fuel-cycle technologies by non-nuclear weapons states. But once they are mastered, vacuum centrifuges can be set up at hidden sites (such as the one near Qom), enabling either an illicit weapons program or a quick and perfectly legal "breakout" from the treaty.
The growing recognition of this dilemma lately has sparked a variety of proposals, such as trading away centrifuges for guaranteed fuel supplies; the creation of an international nuclear "fuel bank"; or the creation of regional multinational fuel centers. The United States favors a less ambitious, but still challenging, approach, pledging to "pursue vigorously the universal entry into force of the Additional Protocol" at the NPT Review Conference next May in New York. Expanded inspection rights, Washington hopes, will deter the construction of hidden fuel-cycle facilities, shoring up the NPT.
Henry D. Sokolski (ed.), Falling Behind: International Scrutiny of the Peaceful Atom
"This report, based on commissioned research and 2 years' worth
of meetings with the nation's leading experts on Iran, the Middle East,
and nuclear proliferation, is intended to highlight sounder policy
options. It makes seven recommendations designed to reduce the
potential harm Iran might otherwise do or encourage, once it gained
nuclear weapons or the ability to have them in a matter of days.
The report reflects analysis done at a series of competitive strategies
workshops that focused on the next 2 decades of likely competition
between America and Iran and what comparative strengths the
United States and its allies might use to leverage Iranian behavior.
These workshops identified three threats that are likely to increase
following Iran's acquisition of a nuclear weapons option.
Even More Nuclear Proliferation. Iran's continued insistence
that it acquired its nuclear capabilities legally under the Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) would, if unchallenged, encourage
its neighbors (including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Turkey,
and Algeria) to develop nuclear options of their own by emulating
Iran's example, by overtly declaring possession (in Israel's case)
or by importing nuclear weapons (in Saudi Arabia's case). Such
announcements and efforts, in turn, would likely undermine nuclear
nonproliferation restraints internationally and strain American
relations with most of its key friends in the Middle East.
Dramatically Higher Oil Prices. A nuclear-ready Iran could be
emboldened to manipulate oil prices upward. It might attempt this
either by threatening the freedom of the seas (by mining oil transit
points as it did in the l980s, or by threatening to close the Straits of
Hormuz), or by using terrorist proxies to threaten the destruction of
Saudi and other Gulf state oil facilities and pipelines.
Increased Terrorism Designed to Diminish U.S. Influence.
With a nuclear weapons option acting as a deterrent to the United
States and allied action against it, Iran would likely lend greater
support to terrorists operating against Israel, Iraq, Libya, Saudi
Arabia, Europe, and the United States. The aim of such support
would be to reduce American support for U.S. involvement in
the Middle East, for Israel, and for actions against Iran generally,
and to elevate Iran as an equal to the United States and its allies
on all matters relating to the Persian Gulf and related regions. An
additional aim of the terrorism that Iran would support would be to
keep other nations from supporting U.S. policies and the continued
U.S. military presence in the Middle East."
... "as nuclear reactors spread among nations their production will enable almost every country to acquire nuclear weapons. This statement, most unfortunately, is true. I believe that eventually nuclear proliferation is unavoidable unless we find better solutions to international problems than are now on the horizon."
"There is no prospect of security against atomic warfare in a system of international agreements to outlaw such weapons controlled only by a system, which relies in inspections and similar police-like methods. The reasons supporting this conclusion are not merely technical, but primarily the insuperable political, social, and organizational problems involved in enforcing agreements between nations each free to develop atomic energy but only pledged not to use bombs. So long as intrinsically dangerous activities [i.e., production and use of weapons-useable materials such as plutonium and highly-enriched uranium] may be carried out by nations, rivalries are inevitable and fears are engendered that place so great a pressure upon a system of international enforcement by police methods that no degree of ingenuity or technical competence could possibly hope to cope with them. (from Chester I. Barnard, J. R. Oppenheimer, Charles A. Thomas, Harry A. Winne, David E. Lilienthal, Chairman, A Report on the International Control of Atomic Energy Prepared for The Secretary of State's Committee on Atomic Energy by a Board of Consultants ("Acheson-Lilienthal Report"), Department of State Publication 2498, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., March 16, 1946)."
(see also related issue in: J. Robert Oppenheimer, Speech to the Association of Los Alamos Scientists, Los Alamos, New Mexico, November 2, 1945)
"Large civil plutonium stocks are set to accumulate for the first time in the wider Middle East over the next two decades. Countries in this conflict-prone region are planning the construction of at least 12 to 13 new nuclear power reactors.
Using a simple calculation to determine the expected plutonium discharge annually from these reactors, ISIS estimates that regional civil plutonium production could total more than 13,000 kilograms, or 13 tonnes by 2020, and nearly 45 tonnes by 2030. Given that just 8 kg of plutonium is enough to fabricate a nuclear weapon, this figure is significant. These quantities indicate that by 2020 the region may possess enough plutonium for almost 1,700 nuclear weapons.
To be usable in a nuclear weapon, this plutonium must first be separated from the irradiated fuel in reprocessing plants. Middle Eastern countries may seek to purchase civil reprocessing plants from suppliers or build them using their domestic capabilities and equipment purchased from abroad.
To reduce the risk of proliferation in the Middle East and help lay the basis for a region-wide nuclear weapon free zone (NWFZ), the United States
must ensure that plutonium is not separated from irradiated reactor fuel,
insist on adequate international inspections of these countries, including the adoption of the Additional Protocol, and
develop mechanisms to remove spent fuel from the region.
Absent such conditions, the incoming administration should discourage the development of nuclear power."
Ian Davis, The Regulation of Arms and Dual-Use Exports: Germany, Sweden and the UK, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Oxford University Press, 2002. p 266:
"Further convergence [of the German, Swedish and British export regulations] can be expected in the period to 2010 and beyond. While this is difficult to prove, table 8.5 suggests that the arms and dual-use export controls of the three countries are likely to continue to converge in the coming years around even higher levels of intergovernmental coordination and with further examples of explicit harmonization. While the scope and pace of this convergence will be contingent on future changes in the policy environments (especially the potential for deeper political integration and the development of a Single European Defense Market) and the future actions of policy stakeholders, there are strong grounds for believing that many of the factors which led to significant convergence in the 1990s will continue to shape policy agenda in the new decade."
related citation: Joseph Cirincione, "The European Union has crafted its own strategy that includes tying all EU trade agreements to observance of non-proliferation treaties and norms."in Nuclear Proliferation Status, 2006 (in cache), Center for American Progress, June 9, 2006
Germany is Iran's Largest Trading Partner in Europe
The article in the German business newspaper Handelsblatt cited government and industry sources as saying that Chancellor Angela Merkel had responded to criticism from Germany's partners, including the United States and Israel, about the continued strength of German exports to Iran despite a tightening of Western sanctions over its nuclear program. (compare news coverage in German public TV, Das Erste, Panorama, December 11, 2008)
German firms receive "Hermes cover" export credit guarantees when selling goods to markets considered risky. But according to the report, Merkel has instructed the economics ministry to put the brakes on this practice after statistics showed that exports had risen 10.5 percent on an annual basis to 3.58 billion euros ($4.63 billion) through November 2008. Some 75 percent of all medium and small businesses in Iran use German-made equipment.
Business and banking trade elements are not specifically forbidden under UN Security Council sanctions, which only limit the sale of technology that could be used in the weapons industry.
Merkel has repeatedly insisted that Germany is only obliged to obey the UN sanctions and said earlier this month that Germany was not planning to undertake any further unilateral action against Iran at this time. But pressure from within the Western powers working towards a nuclear-free Iran may have persuaded her otherwise.
Germany has also come under fire from sections of the US media for its policy towards trade with Iran. A recent commentary by editorial writer Dan Schwammenthal in the Wall Street Journal was titled: "Germany loves Iran." Schwammenthal wrote that Germany was less worried about an Iranian nuclear bomb than it was about tightening sanctions that could negatively affect trade between the two countries.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday [July 19, 2010] -citing Western officials- that EIH [Europäisch-Iranische Handelsbank AG, Hamburg] has done more than $1 billion worth of business on behalf of Iranian firms currently on United Nations blacklists for their alleged work on Iran's nuclear and missile programs.
"The banking oversight [Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht, BaFin] currently has no findings about the infringements reported (by the Journal), but BaFin and the Bundesbank are investigating these accusations against this bank," [the German Finance M]inistry spokesman Michael Offer told a news conference.
A spokesman for BaFin said the regulatory agency's responsibilities include oversight of banking institutions' compliance with U.N. and EU sanctions. He declined to comment on EIH or individual banks.
A spokeswoman for the German Bundesbank declined to comment.
The U.S., France and the U.K. have been pressing the German government to act against EIH.
EIH was founded by a group of Iranian merchants in Hamburg in 1971. It operates openly under the supervision of German bank regulators. Officials say it has become an important locus in Europe for facilitating Iranian trade in euros.
... A pressure campaign led by the U.S. Treasury has caused many major European banks and businesses to restrict or abandon dealings with Iran. As some of those banks have pulled back, EIH has become more important in helping Iranian firms finance trade, Western officials say.
EIH's Iran business grew in the wake of Deutsche Bank AG's acquisition last year of Sal. Oppenheim Group, one official said. As part of that deal, Deutsche Bank acquired BHF Bank AG.
BHF was particularly active in banking for Iranian companies, according to people familiar with the matter. But Deutsche Bank -which does substantial business in the U.S. -has sought to unwind that business. EIH has stepped into the resulting void to aid Iranian transactions, Western officials say.
... Still, Germany remains the Islamic republic's largest trading partner in Europe, a fact that is earning Berlin unwelcome scrutiny in the wake of efforts to deepen sanctions against Tehran. Though major firms such as Siemens AG have committed to wind down business ties to Iran, German trade between the countries totaled about $1.8 billion in the first four months of this year, up nearly 20% over the like period in 2009.
Für Stuart Levey, den Terrorismusexperten des amerikanischen Finanzministeriums, ist die EIH-Bank "eine der wichtigsten finanziellen Lebensadern des Iran". Sie stehe im Zentrum der Versuche Teherans, das internationale Sanktionsregime zu untergraben und die Finanzierung seines Atom- und Raketenprogramms durch die Hintertür sicherzustellen. So habe die EIH seit 2007 mehrere Mammutgeschäfte zwischen einem Waffenhändler und dem iranischen Atomzulieferer Iran Electronics Industries und weitere millionenschwere Beschaffungen für das Atomprogramm finanziert. Je stärker sich der internationale Sanktionsdruck auf Teheran entfalte, desto größer die Bedeutung des Hamburger Schlupflochs für die Fortsetzung des iranischen Atom- und Raketenprogramms.
In der Tat stieg das Geschäftsvolumen der EIH-Bank zwischen 2005 und 2008 um 112 Prozent. Die Summe ihrer Einlagen stieg in diesem Zeitraum um 118 Prozent, der Jahresüberschuss um 225 Prozent und der Bilanzgewinn um 228 Prozent. 2009 wurde das Geschäftsvolumen der Bank um weitere zehn Prozent erhöht.
Es war diese Dynamik, die Barack Obama dazu veranlasste, mit Angela Merkel über die EIH-Bank zu telefonieren. "Mir wurde gesagt", berichtet der renommierte Journalist John Vinocur am 2. August 2010 in der "New York Times", "dass Deutschlands Hemmung, gegen eine Bank in Hamburg scharf vorzugehen, die verdächtigt wird, europäische Geschäfte mit dem Iran zu erleichtern, kürzlich zu einem - jedoch vergeblichen - Telefonat zwischen Mr. Obama und Kanzlerin Angela Merkel führte."
Obama konnte in diesem Gespräch auf den Sanktionsbeschluss der Vereinten Nationen von Juni 2010 verweisen, der alle Mitgliedsstaaten dazu verpflichtet, iranische Bankenaktivitäten zu stoppen, die den Bau der Bombe erleichtern. Er konnte auch die Argumentation seines Beraters Stuart Eizenstat ins Feld führen, der die EU bedrängt hatte, "gegen alle iranischen staatlichen Banken ... Sanktionen zu verhängen. ... Sie alle finanzieren Tarnfirmen für das Atomwaffenprogramm. ... Nimmt man auch nur ein einziges Institut von der Sanktionsliste heraus, lädt man den Iran lediglich ein, seine Transaktionen auf dieses zu verlagern."
In Europa waren freilich nicht alle Mitgliedsstaaten von diesem Argument überzeugt. Am 29. Juli dieses Jahres setzte die EU zahlreiche iranische Banken auf ihre Sanktionsliste - die EIH-Bank jedoch nicht. Doch wurden zwei ihrer Teilhaberbanken (Mellat, Refah) sowie ein Mitglied ihres Aufsichtsrats (Divandari) sanktioniert. Damit stand Deutschland in der Pflicht, etwas zu tun.
Noch im Mai 2010 hatte sich die Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin) mit der erneuten Ernennung von Ali Divandari zum stellvertretenden Aufsichtsratsvorsitzenden der EIH-Bank einverstanden gezeigt. Im Juli fror sie die Konten Divandaris und der beiden Teilhaberbanken Mellat und Refah sang- und klanglos ein - eine Maßnahme, die in Deutschland nicht gerade alltäglich ist und die beweist, dass Amerikas Vorwürfe gegen die EIH-Bank nicht erfunden sind.
Mit gleicher Diskretion wurde verfügt, dass die von den Sanktionen betroffenen Unternehmen und Personen bei der EIH-Bank weitermachen dürfen, als sei nichts geschehen. Die "Präsenz auf einer Embargoliste", erklärte mir ein BaFin-Sprecher diese Praxis, müsse die "Zuverlässigkeit und fachliche Eignung" eines Bankers "nicht unbedingt erschüttern".
Joachim Nikolaus Steinhöfel - Blog-Einträge, 17.9.2010
(1) Die deutsche Presse ignoriert die Meldungen des Wall Street Journal.
Deutschland ist mit einem Geschäftsvolumen von 4,0 Mrd. Euros Irans größter Handelspartner. Die Verhängung einseitiger Sanktionen gegen den Mullah-Staat wird von Merkel wie von Westerwelle aber ebenso wenig diskutiert, wie die Mitwirkung an solchen Schritten. ...
Stattdessen kollaboriert Siemens/Nokia mit dem Mullah-Regime und leistet Beihilfe zur Ausspähung und Verfolgung von Regime-Gegnern.
Stattdessen wurde am 04.11.2009 das deutsche Schiff "Francop" von israelischen Spezialkräften aufgebracht, das Waffen aus dem Iran in den Terrorstaat Syrien und an die Terrororganisation Hisbollah transportieren sollte.
Die "Francop" ist nicht der erste vergleichbare Fall, wie das Aufbringen der wiederum im Besitz einer deutschen Reederei befindlichen "Hansa India" erst im Oktober diesen Jahres (2010) belegt.
"Ambassador to Berlin Yoram Ben-Ze'ev and Israeli security officials have over the years criticized flourishing German- Iranian economic relations, which provide sorely needed sophisticated technology to Iran's government.
Trade numbers from the German Federal Statistical Office reveal that German export trade to Iran increased from $4,159,920,000 between January and October 2009 to $4,175,687,000 during the same time period in 2010. The overall export and import trade data for November and December is not yet available, according to the office. Iranian imports to Germany climbed to $909,176 between January and October 2010 when compared to $574,261 during the identical time frame last year.
Holger Beutel, a spokesman for the German Federal Office of Economics and Export Control, told the Post on Wednesday that Germany supplied Iran last year with dual-use equipment like "replacement parts for rescue helicopters, valves for a steel work, a liquid jet vacuum pump for water treatment in connection with desalinization and protective clothing for medical production."
He declined to comment on the names of the German firms involved in delivering dual-use technology to the Islamic Republic. The spokesman said some of the merchandise, for example, the protective gear, would now be banned under new sanctions because protective clothing could be used in military chemical weapons facilities.
The new round of EU sanctions, according to Beutel, made an exemption for the export of encryption and sophisticated telecommunications technology to Iran's government and firms.
During the 2009 democracy protests against the alleged doctored results of the presidential elections in Iran, media reports revealed that Iran's government, particularly the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), used surveillance equipment from the German- Finnish firm Siemens-Nokia to block and monitor internet connects, Twitter messages, and mobile and landline communications. It is unclear which EU countries pushed for the telecommunications exemption."
The Bank EIH supports the Islamist regime and undermines sanctions
Hamburg is the home to one of the world's most important remaining supporters of the inhuman and anti-Semitic regime in Iran: The European-Iranian Trade Bank (EIH). While international sanctions are putting ever-increasing pressure on the Islamist regime, it is noteworthy that a bank in Germany, owned by the Islamic Republic is instrumental in keeping the genocidal Iranian regime in power.
According to US authorities, EIH has provided important financial services to the Iranian nuclear weapons program - EIH is in fact controlled by the Iranian regime. Despite of this fact, Germany is still blocking sanctions against EIH.
To this day, EIH is one of the world's most important lifelines for the economic viability of the Islamic Republic. Not only German companies conduct their ever-increasing business with Iran via EIH, but companies from other European countries and beyond use this bank for financial transactions which would otherwise be quite difficult if not downright impossible. Starting in 2011 billions of Euros are being transferred to Iran via EIH from the export of Iranian crude oil to India. For months, no other bank in the world could be found willing to provide this service.
Obviously, money and goods that reach Iran with the assistance of EIH strengthen the Iranian regime: This money supports and enables the continued repression of the Iranian opposition, of women, homosexuals, religious and ethnic minorities in Iran, and finances the support for Islamist forces worldwide as well as the war against Israel by Hamas and Hezbollah.
While democratic forces in Tunisia, Egypt and several other countries are rising up against dictatorships, it is crucial to counter Islamist forces and the relentless Iranian efforts of spreading the "Islamic revolution". Due to the support of its bank in Hamburg, the Iranian regime endangers the pro-democracy movements in the entire Near East!
The German government continues to refuse effective measures against EIH like adding it to the list of sanctions of the European Union and to shut it down. Where is the German rejection of dictatorial regimes and where is the "special responsibility" to Israel?
Since the list of targeted sanctions of the European Union will be updated soon, we demand:
EIH should be closed down and must finally be added to the list of sanctions of the European Union! No deals with the Iranian regime!
"... Es ging dabei um eine Mittlerrolle der Bundesbank bei der Bezahlung iranischer Öllieferungen an Indien. Das Geld fließt von der indischen Zentralbank nach Frankfurt, von dort weiter an die umstrittene Europäisch-Iranische Handelsbank (EIHB) mit Sitz in Hamburg, die wiederum überweist nach Teheran...."
"... Das indisch-iranische Geschäft mit der Drehscheibe Deutschland bahnte sich schon seit Monaten an - unabhängig vom Fall der [im Iran festgehaltenen Springer-] Journalisten. Die beiden "BILD am Sonntag"-Journalisten waren im Oktober 2010 in Iran festgesetzt worden, weil sie den Sohn der zum Tode verurteilten Iranerin Sakine Mohammad-Aschtiani interviewt hatten, obwohl sie nur mit einem Touristenvisum eingereist waren. Zu jener Zeit suchte Indien nach alternativen Finanzierungswegen für seine Geschäfte mit Iran, nachdem man die direkten Finanzbeziehungen mit Teheran abgebrochen hatte - auf Druck der USA."
"Fündig wurde man in Deutschland, bei der EIHB und der Bundesbank. Im Januar und Februar berichteten indische Medien mehrfach über die offenbar komplizierten Verhandlungen. Anfang März schien die Lösung besiegelt. Es geht um viel Geld: Pro Jahr bezieht Indien Öl im Wert von rund zwölf Milliarden Dollar aus Iran. Die EIHB wollte sich zu dem Geschäft auf Anfrage nicht äußern. Die Bundesbank hatte Anfang der Woche erklärt, sie sei verpflichtet, die Zahlung eines Kontoinhabers auszuführen, die nach Vorschriften der EU zulässig sei."
"Die Bundesregierung weist Kritik an der Bundesbank-Hilfe zurück: Die Iran-Sanktionsverordnung der EU sehe ein weitreichendes Monitoring von Finanzdienstleistungen mit Iran-Bezug vor, sagte ein Regierungssprecher. So bedürften Transaktionen mit einem Volumen von über 40.000 Euro grundsätzlich einer vorherigen Genehmigung. Diese könne versagt werden, "wenn hinreichende Anhaltspunkte für die Feststellung bestehen, dass die Transaktion im Zusammenhang mit proliferationsrelevanten Geschäften oder nach EU-Recht verbotenen Exporten steht". Ölgeschäfte seien von Sanktionen "grundsätzlich nicht erfasst", erklärte der Sprecher."
"Die EIHB steht bislang auch nicht auf der schwarzen Liste der Europäischen Union. Zum Ärger der USA: Die Amerikaner verdächtigen Iran, über die EIHB die internationalen Sanktionen zu umgehen und Milliardengeschäfte mit Waffenfirmen und Unternehmen abzuwickeln, die sich an der Finanzierung des Atom- und Raketenprogramms beteiligen. Darum ist es seit September 2010 allen in den USA operierenden Banken untersagt, mit der EIHB Geschäfte zu machen."
"Ein solches Verbot erwartet die US-Regierung auch von Deutschland und der EU. Ein Vertreter des US-Finanzministeriums wurde in der "New York Times" mit den Worten zitiert, man arbeite mit allen Verbündeten darauf hin, die EIHB zu isolieren. Noch Anfang Februar, also wenige Wochen vor Westerwelles Reise nach Teheran, forderten elf US-Senatoren den Außenminister in einem Protestbrief auf, gegen die EIHB vorzugehen. Westerwelle antwortete wenige Tage nach der glücklichen Heimkehr der Reporter nach Deutschland. Er versicherte den Senatoren, dass die EIHB "unter strenger Kontrolle" der Aufsichtsbehörden stehe. Der Brief ist auf den 1. März datiert."
"Am gleichen Tag, so berichtete es der indische Ölminister dem indischen Unterhaus, seien ausstehende Zahlungen in Höhe von etwa 1,5 Milliarden US-Dollar auf den Weg nach Iran gebracht worden."
"Allein 2010 hatte sie ["die vom Wirtschaftsministerium mitfinanzierten Deutsch-Iranischen Industrie- und Handelskammer in Teheran (DIIHK)"] mit tatkräftiger Unterstützung der Visa-Abteilung der Deutschen Botschaft 7000 Vertreter von iranischen Firmen nach Deutschland geschleust, damit diese sich auf deutschen Industriemessen "über neueste Technologien, Neuerungen und Errungenschaften informieren" und "Geschäftstermine" wahrnehmen konnten. Gleichzeitig wurden deutsche Manager, die in Iran "möglichst viele potenzielle Geschäftspartner treffen" wollten, von der kammereigenen "Eventabteilung" betreut.
Ergänzend publiziert die Kammer alljährlich einen Katalog, in dem deutsche Firmen auf Englisch und Persisch ihre Dienste offerieren.
Der Katalog von 2010 listet deutsche Großbetriebe wie Babcock Borsig, Bosch, Carl Zeiss, Deutz, Degussa, Herrenknecht, Kraussmaffei, Linde, Merck und Miele auf, aber auch kleinere Unternehmen wie die Aker Wirth GmbH aus Erkelenz, die für ihre Tunnelbohrer "mit besonderer Berücksichtigung von Anwendungen bei hartem Gestein" wirbt oder wie die Firma Atlas Terex aus Delmenhorst ...
... So hat Deutschland nach offiziellen Angaben von Januar bis September 2011 Hightech-Produkte im Wert von 2,285 Milliarden Euro nach Iran exportiert - ein Anteil von 30 Prozent der aus der Gesamt-EU exportierten Produkte nach Iran. Diese Zahlen zeigen, dass der Versuch des Westens, den Irankonflikt mit einer gemeinsamen Kraftanstrengung nicht militärisch zu lösen, scheitern wird, wenn die Bundesrepublik ihn unterläuft. ...
Während Iran auf deutsche und europäische Hilfe angewiesen ist, tendiert die Abhängigkeit der deutschen Industrie gegen null: Für die Gesamtmenge deutscher Exporte liegt das Iransegment bei circa 0,5 Prozent und nahm 2010 die 43. Stelle der Exportländer ein. Diese Relation setzt sich auf europäischer Ebene fort: So stammten 2010 fast ein Viertel aller iranischen Einfuhren aus der EU, aber nur ein Prozent aller europäischer Einfuhren aus Iran.
Bisher stand die Berliner Iranpolitik unter dem Motto: So wenig Sanktionen wie möglich, um deutsche Industrieinteressen zu schützen; so viel Sanktionen wie nötig, um negative Schlagzeilen zu vermeiden."
Over the past several years, Congress has considered a variety of measures aimed at restraining Iran’s nuclear program and its support for terrorism. The 111th Congress is again weighing such measures – just as the time to halt Iran’s nuclear progress is growing shorter.
Past bills have chosen among several tactics: encouraging divestment from companies doing business with Iran, penalizing foreign energy companies for investing in Iran, and making it more difficult for Iran to obtain U.S.-origin goods via transshipment hubs like the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia. One sanctions effort that included many of these measures, the Iran Counterproliferation Act (H.R. 1400), passed the House overwhelmingly in September 2007. More recent bills have targeted foreign companies that supply refined petroleum products to Iran.
To discuss these proposals and gauge their prospects in the 111th Congress, the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control hosted a bi-partisan roundtable discussion in Washington D.C. on April 24, 2009. The panelists were Skip Fischer, a professional staff member for the minority on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Will Huntington, legislative assistant for Representative Edward Markey (D-MA), Don MacDonald, staff director for the majority on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, and Tim Morrison, national security policy advisor for Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ).
Sanctions measures that warrant serious consideration include those
authorizing state divestment initiatives,
enforcing more strictly the U.S. trade embargo,
penalizing energy firms investing in Iran, and
targeting countries that serve as transshipment hubs for Iran.
Several sanctions bills have been introduced already in the 111th Congress. The panelists agreed that legislation authorizing states to divest from firms that conduct business activities with Iran has the best chance of passing. A similar bill passed the House twice in the previous Congress, once on its own and once as part of a sanctions package that was ultimately defeated in the Senate. The version currently under consideration, H.R. 1327, sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank with bipartisan support, is a relatively passive bill that provides states with a legal cover if they choose to divest from certain firms because of activities in Iran. The bill also shelters asset managers from liability should they divest. More than ten states now have divestment policies related to Iran, with more likely to follow. The panelists found it likely that Congress would seek to protect these states from lawsuits attacking such policies. Another proposal would have required the federal government to list companies investing in Iran and then require state pension funds to divest from those companies. The panelists also pointed out that even a more passive bill could help publicize the issue: states are already using divestment investigations to get information from U.S. companies about the activities of their foreign subsidiaries in Iran. Such information then becomes public. As a result, it will be increasingly difficult for companies to quietly pursue trade and investment with Iran.
"Six nations abandoned indigenous nuclear weapon programs under way or under consideration in the 1960s: Egypt, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and West Germany.
Since the late 1970s, Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Libya, Romania, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine, and Yugoslavia have abandoned nuclear weapon programs or nuclear weapons (or both) on their territory.
North Korea and Iran are the only two states that began acquiring nuclear weapon capabilities in this later period and have not ceased the effort."
World should adapt to Iran atom advances (in chache) - ElBaradei, Reuters, May 16, 2007: "from a proliferation perspective, the fact of the matter is that one of the purposes of suspension -- keeping them from getting the knowledge -- has been overtaken by events. ...
'We believe they pretty much have the knowledge about how to enrich. From now on, it is simply a question of perfecting that knowledge. People will not like to hear it, but that's a fact."
John Larrabee, William Lowell, Richard Speier, Sharon Squassoni, Leonard Weiss (Panelists), Valerie Lincy, Gary Milhollin, Lora Saalman (Moderators): Iran Watch Round Tables, Round Table on the Bush Administration agreement for full civil nuclear cooperation with India, November 30, 2005, Iran Watch (in cache)
"[Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)] Regime cohesion could erode quickly. The panelists observed that the United States has always set the standard for nonproliferation rules. Although it has usually taken a long time for countries to follow the United States when it has strengthened these rules, it has taken only an instant to follow any loosening of them. Russia, France and Britain, for example, have already expressed interest in nuclear cooperation with India. In a political climate where rules are being loosened for a proliferant country like India, the easing of exports to other proliferators such as Iran is likely to follow."
(Source: Iran Watch Round Tables, November 30, 2005, Iran Watch, Finding 2 (in cache),
... "The U.S. Commerce Department recently dropped legal restraints on American exports of missile-useable equipment to three subsidiaries of the Indian Space Research Organization, despite the fact that all three are active in Indian missile development. This appears to be only the first step in a general loosening of U.S. missile controls for India.
Once American firms begin to sell such items to India, eager companies in Russia, China and Europe may consider that it is safe to sell the same things to Iran. Iran recently announced plans to expand its infant satellite and space programs, both of which will need imports. Those imports, by their nature, may be useful for making missiles."
(Source: Iran Watch Round Tables, November 30, 2005, Iran Watch, Finding 3 (in cache)
"To South Africa, West German companies sent low-enriched uranium, which multiplied Pretoria's ability to make high-enriched uranium for bombs.
To Israel went heavy water, which increased the output of Israel's bomb-making reactor at Dimona. To Argentina went heavy water that could run a secret bomb-making reactor in the future.
To Pakistan went an entire factory to help process uranium for bombs, plus tritium and tritium-making equipment to multiply the explosive power of its first generation of nuclear bombs.
To India went "reflector material" - probably beryllium for the core of the bomb itself - and enough heavy water to let India run for the first time three large bomb-making reactors outside international controls.
Many of the nuclear exports lacked the required licenses. Companies are likely to have conspired with the recipients to move the goods across borders. The fact is, most of the exports were expressly forbidden by West German pledges under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and raise strong questions whether Bonn cares about the treaty at all.
Outside protests have failed to stop the transfers. The United States asked Bonn in 1981 to stop the Hempel Group, in Düsseldorf, from sending enriched uranium to South Africa and heavy water to Argentina. Switzerland asked in 1985 for information about the same Hempel Group's sale of heavy water to India through Zürich.
In 1986, Washington asked Bonn to stop Hempel from sending heavy water to India, and warned in a memo of an even larger scheme to sell heavy water "coordinated from within West Germany by Hempel Company officials". Norway asked West Germany in 1988 to investigate Hempel's sale of Norwegian heavy water to India through Basel. In every case, Bonn refused to provide information, investigate or acknowledge any gap in its laws.
Why is West Germany so lax? To promote trade, Bonn has deliberately kept its export laws weak, and it doesn't want to think about tightening them. And the staff for policing sensitive exports is woefully inadequate, making it easy for an unscrupulous operator to evade controls.
But it's not just a matter of Bonn overzealously promoting exports or neglecting to plug gaps in the regulations. The illegal exports have been going on for more than a decade, and Bonn has been warned repeatedly about violations.
The truth lies deeper, and has finally exasperated American officials, leading them to the extraordinary step of publicly naming the company they think is involved in building the Libyan plant and even revealing that President Reagan asked Chancellor Helmut Kohl for help in their November meeting. They have told me privately that West German nuclear exporters are being protected by powerful political allies.
We have no proof that West German political leaders are being paid to look the other way. But the behavior of the Christian Democrats and Free Democrats, who run the country, is not encouraging. Some of them have banded together in Parliament to defend Hempel, arguing that the company has not violated German law. Moreover, they refuse to consider whether the law is so full of holes that it must be tightened.")
Bomben für die Welt - Wegen deutscher Nuklearexporte droht neuer Ärger mit den Vereinigten Staaten, Die Zeit, 17. Februar 1989, S. 9 - 10 (engl. translation, in cache)
"Insider wunderten sich allerdings schon damals [beim Abschluß des deutsch-brasilianischen Vertags ("accordo nuclear"), 1975], weshalb Brasilien sich für die deutschen Atom- Angebote und nicht für die aus den USA und Kanada entschieden hatte. Vor allem das kanadische Angebot war um gut eine halbe Milliarde Mark billiger als das deutsche [zu 12 Milliarden Mark]. Inzwischen kennt man die Motive der damaligen Militärs in Brasilia sehr genau. Die kanadische Regierung hatte - ebenso wie die amerikanische - von Brasilien verlangt, sogenannte full scope safeguards zu akzeptieren. Brasilien hätte sämtliche Nuklearanlagen (vorhandene wie zukünftige) der Kontrolle durch die IAEA unterwerfen müssen. Laut Abkommen mit Bonn öffnen sich den Inspizienten aus Wien aber nur jene Türen, hinter denen sich deutsches Knowhow befindet. Der etwas teurere accordo nuclear mit weniger scharfen Kontrollen ermöglichte Brasilien mithin, ungehindert und unbeobachtet ein autonomes Atomprogramm aufzubauen.
Dies ist geschehen. Und Bonn hat auch schon das Scheitern der Nichtverbreitungspolitik eingestanden. Im November 1986 wird im Auswärtigen Amt intern vermerkt:
"Unsere These, durch Kooperation nukleare Nichtverbreitungsziele zu erreichen, wird durch das brasilianische Beispiel fragwürdig. Kritiker, sowohl im Ausland wie intern, werden darauf verweisen, daß unsere Zusammenarbeit mit Brasilien nicht nur keine wesentlichen nichtverbreitungspolitischen Erfolge erbracht, sondern sogar zur Förderung eines unkontrollierten Nuklearprogramms beigetragen habe."
Was da im nachhinein vom Auswärtigen Amt aufgezeichnet wurde, wußten andere schon vorher. Noch vor Vertragsabschluß 1975 haben zuständige Referenten in einer Ministervorlage (vom 8. 8. 1974) notiert:
"Der Abschluß eines Sicherheitskontrollabkommens gibt gegen eine vertragswidrige Verwendung der Anlagen keine absolute Sicherheit. . . Die Gefahr, daß sich ein Staat später über eingegangene Verpflichtungen hinwegsetzt, ist nicht von der Hand zu weisen."
Die damaligen Minister Hans Matthöfer (Forschung) und Hans Friderichs (Wirtschaft) ignorierten die Bedenken und gaben sogar Order,
"die graue Zone bis zu einer konkreten amerikanischen Initiative optimal zu nutzen, d.h. die Exportgenehmigungen für den gesamten sensitiven Bereich zu erteilen".
Dabei hatte Brasilien von Anfang an die Absicht, das zivile Abkommen militärisch auszubeuten. Freimütig bekannte der frühere brasilianische Marineminister Maximiano da Fonseca 1987 dem Evangelischen Pressedienst in einem Interview:
"Natürlich war die Anzahl der bestellten Atomkraftwerke viel zu hoch. Es war klar, daß die Deutschen damit Geld verdienen wollten. Also, ich sagte mir damals, wenn wir die Dinger kaufen sollen, gut, aber dafür verschaffen die uns die Technologie, die wir wirklich haben wollen." Welche Technologie er meinte, sagte Fonseca an anderer Stelle des Gesprächs: "Eine Atombombe muß Brasilien testen."
Kenner des Landes verweisen auch darauf, daß das zivile Atomprogramm Brasiliens längst von untergeordneter Bedeutung ist, und das nicht nur wegen der mangelnden Liquidität des hochverschuldeten Landes. Statt acht Kernkraftwerken werden nur zwei realisiert, eines (Angra II) ist im Bau, für ein weiteres (Angra III) gibt es nur eine offene Baugrube. Auch die meisten anderen Pläne sind eingeschlafen. Auf dem Papier aber hat Brasilien das ganze Know-how, ebenso in den Köpfen des Personals, das großenteils in der Bundesrepublik ausgebildet wurde und schon teilweise (350 Mann, behauptet MdB Bachmaier) in das autonome Nuklearprogramm übergewechselt ist.
Daß dieses autonome Programm militärischen Zwecken dient, liegt nahe, weil es keiner internationalen Kontrolle mehr unterliegt. Doch Bonns Regierungssprecher will nichts davon wissen. Offenbar nimmt er für bare Münze, was in Artikel 21 der brasilianischen Verfassung steht:
"Jegliche Nuklear-Aktivität auf nationalen Territorium ist nur für friedliche Zwecke und mit Zustimmung durch den Nationalkongreß gestattet."
Als sei Klein Botschafter Brasiliens, wiegelt er ab: "Es gibt keinen Hinweis darauf, daß im Rahmen des autonomen Programms (Brasiliens) Atomwaffen hergestellt werden."
Dabei müßte Klein die Akten besser kennen. Am 3. Februar 1987 berichtete der Bundesnachrichtendienst aus Pullach in einer Verschlußsache (Akten des BMWi Tgb. Nr. 3/88 Bd. 7a S. 171ff):
"Das Parallelprogramm ist eindeutig auf militärische Zielsetzung ausgerichtet."
Begonnen wurde damit etwa zur Zeit des mit Deutschland abgeschlossenen accordo nuclear. Erklärtes Ziel der Militärs war, unter Umgehung internationaler Kontrollen an militärisches Knowhow zu gelangen. "
ISIS Information about Nuclear Export Controls: April 2002--The following papers were delivered at a seminar held with the IPPE (Institute for Physics and Power Engineering in Obninsk) Export Control Laboratory
Realization and Implementation of Export Regulations Tightened since 1990/92 in Export-Oriented Companies in Germany by Dr. Hans Kolb; (in cache, Oct. 2006)
Germany's Export Control Law in the New Millennium by Michael Rietz (Karl-Heinz Schaab's attorney). (in cache, Oct. 2006)
Mark Fitzpatrick (ed.) "A review of Nuclear Black Markets:
Pakistan, A. Q. Khan, and the Rise of Proliferation Networks", Review by Zia Mian; Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists; November 24, 2007 (in cache)
Proliferation watchers have kept track of A. Q. Khan's activities for about 30 years. In 1979,
the Washington Post named him as the Pakistani engineer who had left his position at the
uranium enrichment centrifuge facility at Almelo, Netherlands, four years earlier with "lists of
subcontractors and probably blueprints for the plant." Khan then returned to Pakistan, where he
soon became director of the country's secret uranium enrichment project at Kahuta, near Islamabad,
and a key player in its nuclear weapons program.
To evade the existing system of controls on the sale of nuclear weapons-related technology, Pakistan established a complex multinational effort to purchase components for its enrichment plant from European and U.S. companies--something the international community was aware of even in the late 1970s....
Nuclear Black Markets also looks at Pakistan's proliferation of centrifuge technology to other countries.
On the question of who was responsible for the network's activities, it observes, "Khan cannot be characterized strictly as either a government representative or a businessman acting independently. He was in fact both, in varying degrees according to the circumstances." It faults the Pakistani government, which it argues "should have known what key officials, such as Khan, were up to in an area so fundamental to Pakistan's national security and international reputation."
Pakistan and Khan are only part of the problem.
Nuclear Black Markets observes that the larger proliferation challenge is that "tighter
controls on state-to-state technology transfers over the past four decades have resulted in the
emergence of the private sector as an additional source of nuclear technology and expertise for
proliferant states." It details how these "black and grey markets" in both nuclear technology and
knowledge have been tapped by Iraq, Iran, India, North Korea, and Libya, and to lesser degree by
Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, South Africa, Israel, and Syria.
The bottom line is clear: "Export controls alone are not likely to stop illicit trade in nuclear
material and technology. Where there is a determined demand and the price is high enough, there is
likely to be a supply." And government agencies are "often underfunded, undermanned, and
undermotivated" and cannot hope to stem the tide. Capitalism will prevail over the state.
It concludes, "The weakness of export controls and the fatalism of Western suppliers were the strongest factors abetting the network," and notes, "Many industrialists reasoned, 'If we do not do it, others will.'" The effort's scale was significant: Dutch researcher Frank Slijper has reported claims by Henk Slebos, a key Khan supplier and lifelong friend, that he worked with "maybe even 1,000" European companies. (See Project Butter Factory: Henk Slebos and the A. Q. Khan Network, TNI/Campagne tegen Wapenhandel, September 2007)
Discussions of the future of nuclear power often focus on safety, proliferation, waste storage, and carbon emissions - accepting cost as a given. This tool breaks the cost of investing in nuclear power into its component parts and considers the price of three configurations of the ‘fuel cycle' - that is, the process that includes everything from the mining and production of uranium fuel to the disposal of spent fuel after it has been used to generate electricity.
THE CALCULATOR: Estimate the price of power from each fuel cycle (once-through or limited recycle in a light water reactor, full recycle in a fast reactor). Test how sensitive the price of electricity is to the cost of components.
THE DATA (in cache): Explore the calculator and change default values based on different empirical studies. Select data from different countries (coming soon).
THE GLOSSARY (in cache): Learn more about the component parts of the fuel cycle. Get definitions for new terminology. Find links to other online resources.
The calculator includes waste storage costs for the three fuel cycles addressed.
The once-through fuel cycle used in most US nuclear power plants, in which uranium fuel is used once and then stored for later disposal.
A limited-recycle mode in which a mix of uranium and plutonium (that is, mixed oxide, or MOX) is used to fuel a light water reactor.
A full-recycle system, which uses a fast neutron spectrum reactor that can be configured to "breed" plutonium that can subsequently be used as either nuclear fuel or weapons material.
For instance, the once-through cycle includes interim dry cask storage and geologic disposal costs.
The Nuclear Information Project covers nuclear weapons and arms control and the nuclear fuel cycle.
The project provides the general public and policy-makers with information and analysis on the status, number, and operation of nuclear weapons, the policies that guide their potential use and nuclear arms control. The project is, according to the Washington Post, "one of the most widely sourced agencies for nuclear warhead counts." The work is supported by generous grants from the Ploughshares Fund and New Land Foundation. Nuclear weapons data are based on official documents, testimonies and previously undisclosed information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, as well as independent analysis of commercial satellite images.
The project reports on developments in the nuclear fuel cycle that are relevant to nuclear weapons proliferation. Both uranium enrichment for nuclear reactor fuel and separation of plutonium from spent reactor fuel can produce fissionable material for nuclear bombs. The project puts technical information into a nonproliferation context and looks at case studies by conducting independent calculations and analyses.
The expensive guided tailkit is needed, advocates claim, to make it possible to use the 50-kiloton nuclear explosive package from the tactical B61-4 bomb in the new B61-12 against targets that today require the 360-kiloton strategic B61-7 bomb. By increasing accuracy, the B61-12 becomes more useable because it significantly reduces the amount of radioactive fallout created in an attack.
Once deployed in Europe, the B61-12 will also be able to hold at risk targets that the B61-3 and B61-4 bombs currently deployed in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and Turkey cannot target.
Plan for nearly 500 B61-12s makes this the most expensive bomb project ever: each bomb will cost more than its own weight in solid gold.
The combination of the new and more accurate guided B61-12 on the stealthy F-35A will significantly increase the capability of the U.S. non-strategic nuclear posture in Europe. This development is out of tune with U.S. and NATO pledges to reduce the role and reliance on nuclear weapons, and will make it a lot easier for hardliners in the Russian military to reject reductions of Russia's larger inventory of non-strategic nuclear weapons.
List of dual-use goods controlled for export by Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) guidelines:
Nuclear-related Dual-use Transfers, International Atomic Energy Agency Information Circular, INFCIRC/254/Rev_3/Part2, 24. February 1998
by Mahdi Obeidi (New York Times)
Mahdi Obeidi is the author of "The Bomb in My Garden: The Secrets of Saddam's Nuclear Mastermind." Kurt Pitzer, who collaborated on the book, assisted with this article. Excerpt:
"... there is no doubt in my mind that we could have produced dozens of nuclear weapons within a few years ..."
But the nuclear weapons program "was stopped in its tracks by UN weapons inspectors after the Gulf war and was never restarted." ... "after [Saddam's son-in-law, Hussein Kamel] defected to Jordan in 1995, and then returned months later only to be assassinated by his father-in-law's henchmen, the nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs lost their top promoter."
... Saddam "had lost touch with the reality of his diminished military might. ... Saddam fooled the rest of the world as well.
"Was Iraq a potential threat to the United States and the world? Threat is always a matter of perception, but our nuclear program could have been reinstituted at the snap of Saddam's fingers. The sanctions and the lucrative oil-for-food program had served as powerful deterrents, but world events - like Iran's current efforts to step up its nuclear ambitions - might well have changed the situation.
Iraqi scientists had the knowledge and the designs needed to jumpstart the program if necessary. And there is no question that we could have done so very quickly. "
"Hundreds of my former staff members and fellow scientists possess knowledge that could be useful to a rogue nation eager for a covert nuclear weapons program. The vast majority are technicians who, like the rest of us, care first about their families and their livelihoods."
"... Iraq derived several billion dollars between 1999 and 2003 from oil smuggling and kickbacks. One senior regime official estimated Iraq earned $4 billion from illicit oil sales from 1999 to March 2003. By levying a surcharge on Oil for Food contracts, Iraq earned billions more during the same period.
This was revenue outside UN control and provided resources the regime could spend without restriction. It channeled much of the illicitly gathered funds to rebuild Iraq's military capabilities through the Military Industrialization Commission, the MIC. MIC worked with the Iraqi Intelligence Service to establish front companies in Iraq and other countries to facilitate procurement.
The budget of MIC increased nearly 100 fold from 1996 to 2003, with the budget totaling $500 million in 2003. Most of this money came from illicit oil contracts. Iraq imported banned military weapons and technology and dual-use goods through Oil for Food contracts. Companies in several countries were involved in these efforts. ..."
(More on the Duelfer Testimony)
"The uranium enrichment work necessary to separating a mass F of feed of assay xf into a mass P of product assay xp, and tails of mass T and assay xt is expressed in terms of the number of separative work units needed, given by the expression
SWU = P V(xp) + T V(xt) - F V(xf)
P, T and F are expressed in kg. The number SWU/P, the Separative Work Units per kg of product, is
SWU/P = V(xp) + T/P V(xt) - F/P V(xf)
where V(x) is the Value Function, defined as
The feed to product ratio is given by the expression
wheras the tails to product ratio is given by the expression
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