Saturday, August 26, 2006

Some Heavy News

Iran is making progress with a heavy water moderated nuclear plant.

TEHRAN (Reuters) -
Iran has completed a new phase in its Arak heavy-water reactor plant, a presidential official said on Saturday, referring to part of Iran's atomic program which the West fears is aimed at producing bombs.

The official said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would give a speech later in the day "announcing that the heavy-water project has become operational."

Iran is building a heavy-water nuclear reactor at Arak, 120 miles southwest of the capital Tehran. The plant's plutonium by-product could be used to make atomic warheads.
Heavy water is water made with heavy hydrogen. Normal hydrogen has one proton in its nucleus. Heavy hydrogen has one proton and one neutron.

In a nuclear reactor a moderator slows down neutrons to make them easier for U235 and U238 to capture. When the U235 captures a neutron it fissions releasing energy. U238 when it captures a neutron converts to U239 which changes to Pu239 by emitting an electron. Pu239 in high enough concentration is bomb making material. It also represents 30% of the active fuel in an operating reactor.

Now why use heavy water instead of normal water which is used in most US reactors? Normal or light water reactors require enriched uranium to produce enough neutrons to function. Heavy water absorbs 600 times fewer neutrons per collision than light water. Although normal water doesn't absorb many neutrons it is still enough to require enriched fuel. A heavy water plant can operate on natural uranium containing only .7% U235.

This University of California, Berkeley site has the basics about the different reactor designs.

The advantage of a heavy water plant for Iran is that it can save its enriched uranium for a U235 type bomb. Also plutonium production is not dependent on the enrichment program so the two programs can be run in parallel.

Update: 26 Aug '06 2228z

Captain's Quarters discusses the issue at greater length with more politics and fewer technical details. Comes to similar conclusion.


Anonymous said...


Most of the mistakes come from the media. In iran, there are "delivery" problems. Sort'a what happened in the old days, where women died in childbirth. Because medicine sucked. And, doctors overlooked simple precautions. Like washing their hands between touching one patient, and their collective asses.

So now the media is running around with this "news." Which isn't. Just like the "other" news, which today's Jerusalem Post tears apart. Which one is that?

Seems most reservists went home. And, at all the "rallies," there were more media than participants.

SO, what about this story? Que the music from JAWS. Are ya scared yet? Is iran getting milage out of this crapola? You're gonna pick up rubber bands and shoot them off?

Should be remembered ADULTS ARE IN CHARGE. And, as Liddell-Hart, in Strategy, reiterates: DO NOT FIGHT YOUR BATTLES ON THE TERRAIN YOUR ENEMY PICKS OUT.

Here we know one thing. Iran's terrain: MEDIA, UN, and, a decaying system of extremism within their "jibber-jabber religious tents."

How far can they get on this "water?" Till they glow green.

They've been "buildling nukes for 30 years." And, as I said. They have "delivery problems." Plus, nasrallah went and ruined the "containment" all those missiles in lebanon that faced Israel, held.

In other words. Inaccurate delivery systems didn't punch holes into buildings BUILT WITH DECENT ENGINEERING CODES (which Israelis have in place.) Unlike nasrallah, who spent fortunes building infrastructure that flattened like pancakes. What did this give nasrallah? Faux-photography. And, the sense that our media is bought and paid for by the Saudis. So, it's just a harvest of propaganda.

I used to think the Net is so current, that everything typed yesterday, even. Just disappears.

Not true. Blackfive's hard copied his blog posts. And, Amazon is selling his paperback book, now. Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters links to it. (Not a single page bought to sell books that used to be sold on Sundays. When authors committed crimes to be included in the book reviews.)

In the future; when history deals blows to the END OF PROPAGANDA as a WORKABLE tool. You'll still have some media types earning paychecks, filling out the ranks of unattended "events." Like Cindy Sheehan's. Or, the more recent one in Israel. Where most reservists just went home.

Faith? Well, we should leave that to religious people, huh? They pay money to sit in the audiences of perveyors of faith. Most people do not. Doesn't make them less religious in a true sense, though. Just as taking all your news from the Internet doesn't make you less informed. BUT MORE SO. Go figa.

Anonymous said...


Someday, people will talk about Olmert as a politician who "thinks outside of the box."

True,some people hate Labor. But in Israel Amir Peretz' labor party got more votes than Likud. Bibi didn't have enough votes to claim anything.

And, to make his government, I think Olmert surprised everybody! Because he seemed to choose a weak team; pushing some of his own stronger Kadima members, aside.

Yes, it's true. Tzipi Livni went nowhere on the diplomatic trail. But I wouldn't write of Amir Peretz so fast. He seems to have a talent for surviving. And, he even bested Shimon Peres, when Amir tackled him, and won Labor's leadership. That's when Shimon Peres sailed away to Kadima. A party without a "central committee" ... so Olmert holds all the cards.

Even Arik Sharon had to form the Kadima party, because Likud's Central Committee gave him so much aggavation.

And, when things topple, you just can't stick them back up, again.

Plus, if politics is just a pendulum swinging; Labor gets more traction than Likud. And, that' pretty obvious, now.

That Amir Peretz wanted Defense to control "purchases." Of course, this is true, enough. ALL POLITICIANS ARE IN IT FOR THE POWER AND THE MONEY. They get nowhere if they can't bring the public round. I don't see Amir Peretz bungling this. Even though he doesn't speak English; which does crimp how far he can go.

On the other hand, from the beginning, Olmert chose a team he wanted. After he saw what happened to Arik Sharon, as some mighty big players tried to ram their fists up his behind. And, get Arik to be a puppet.

To learn about politics in Israel one has to know how to count to 61. And, how to keep people in their seats; instead of doing foolish things. Which has tired out the public. Olmert is the beneficiary of that tiredness. New elections on the horizon?

And, if so? What if new parties emerge. And Olmert still controls putting another government together?

I don't assume he's lost.

I think the MSM has an agenda. And, the Likud party has one, as well.

The biggest boo-boo was Halutz selling his stock portfolio. While he didn't want to worry about his money; he didn't mind handing all other public stock holders the shaft.

While Mazuz goes after politicians using his spit patrol. (This goes on for years, ya know? It will be Mazuz' career, eventually. But until then, Katzav stays as President; while Haim Ramon is hung out to dry.) This is entertainment? Ths is politics gone awry.