April 2, 2015

GEEZ, THEY REALLY WANTED TO GET OUT FROM UNDER THIS PROGRAM:

Better than expected : Dogged diplomacy produces an impressively detailed agreement (The Economist, Apr 2nd 2015) 

The main components of the deal struck in Lausanne plausibly succeed in extending Iran's "breakout capability"--the key yardstick of the time it would need to produce enough fissile material for one nuclear weapon--from a couple of months currently to at least year, and to do so for a decade or more. To that end, Iran will reduce its installed enrichment centrifuges from 19,000 to 6,000, only 5,000 of which will be spinning. All of them will be first-generation centrifuges: none of its more advanced models can be used for at least ten years and R&D into more efficient designs will have to be based on a plan submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear watchdog.

Fordow, Iran's second enrichment facility (its main one is at Natanz) buried deep within a mountain and thought to be impregnable to conventional air strikes, will cease all enrichment and be turned into a physics research centre. It will not produce or house any fissile material for at least 15 years.

Despite earlier Iranian briefings claiming there was no agreement on the size of its low-enriched uranium stockpile (which can be spun further into weapons-grade material), Iran has said it will reduce its LEU stockpile from 10,000 kg to 300 kg for the next 15 years--probably sending fresh stocks to Russia for reprocessing.

Iran's alternative plutonium path to a bomb also appears to have been satisfactorily dealt with. The heavy water reactor at Arak will be redesigned and its original core, which would have produced significant quantities of weapons-grade plutonium, will be removed and destroyed. No other heavy water reactor will be built for 15 years.

Posted by at April 2, 2015 9:16 PM
  

blog comments powered by Disqus
« IT'S WHAT THEY VOTED FOR: | Main | NO ONE FLIES AEROFLOT: »