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© IRAN-RESIST.ORG – June 24, 2010 | Two days after he announced that he would forbid the access to Iranian nuclear plants to two inspectors from the IAEA, the head of the Iranian nuclear programme Salehi stated that his team produced “more than 17 kilos” of uranium, enriched at 20%, and that it was able to produce 5 kilos monthly. With the good timing sense which is so typical of it, the regime implies it did some progress it would like to keep secret, a way to deepen crisis and make the West surrender.

Tehran’s getting a move on and it always announces superior quantities of uranium that are enriched at higher rates because it is sure this will worry the international opinion : everybody will rush on the net in order to know if the announced quantities can provide the mullahs with any nuclear ability. At that point, some unexpected surprise is expecting the ephemeral researcher : an American website which is well ranked on Google pages states that it’s possible to manufacture nuclear bombs with 20%-enriched uranium ! There is no mistake ! This is true. It’s even possible to manufacture bombs with 6%-enriched uranium but it’s only a matter of quantity.

A nuclear bomb is some complex cocoon in which a nuclear fission will happen. In order to make this fission happen, we need a critical mass of 50kg of highly-enriched uranium (HEU), i.e. 90%-enriched uranium. Below such quantity, we cannot induce a whole catalogue of reactions.

So to trigger any fission, there are two methods : implosion or revolver, the lightest one, which consists in projecting a mass of around 30kg of HEU on a target of 20kg of HEU. Based on this information, with 60kg of HEU, the Hiroshima bomb that used the second method weighted 4,500kg.

If we used 20%-enriched uranium, the critical mass would reach 750kg ! Consequently, we would need a canon that would have the ability to project a mass of 450kg at a high speed toward a target of 300kg. The internal mechanism (without the canon) would have the size of a house ! It means the Iranian bomb that would be based on 20%-enriched uranium would weight 20 to 50 tons !


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The quantity of critical mass that is necessary to manufacture a bomb according to the enrichment rate (source NRPA [1])

Whether experts who sell books about some Iranian bomb based on 20%-enriched uranium like it or not, nowadays there isn’t any missile that would send it to its target or any bomber that would convey it. We would need a big carrier that would have a capacity superior to the A380 (below) but Tehran doesn’t dispose of such mean.

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But before they reach this point, the mullahs would need to have excellent knowledge of fission, detonator, power steps and miniaturization. If not, even with 90% enriched uranium, they would stick with the 20kg-bomb which is more susceptible to explode on the spot than on top of Tel Aviv.

We need to stop fantasizing about our mullahs who are far from disposing of such capacities : the Bushehr civil power plant is 99.6% finished and they even don’t manage to set it going. The sole thing they master well is the art of tensing rumour which is meant for inducing a major crisis and thus avoiding the economic attrition war Washington carries on.

The french version of this article :
- Iran-nucléaire : La grosse chose des mollahs
- (24 juin 2010)

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[1en savoir plus sur les quantités nécessaires d’UHE pour une bombe

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NRPA : HEU as Weapons Material.pdf

source : The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA)