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 Post subject: LFTR and Iran?
PostPosted: Jul 03, 2012 4:53 pm 
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I'm sure this is come up before (though search function didn't bring up a good match), but why not calm the tensions between the West and Iran by sharing/co-developing LFTRs? TH232-U233 cycle is purportedly proliferation proof (Indian weapon testing puts a question mark there imo), but would provide a significant power source. It seems to me a refusal would make it plain that weapons development is the Iranian governments real goal. Acceptance would bring about detente and stability to a volatile region of the world. The technology sharing doesn't even have to come from the US, it could just as easily be shared from China or Russia.


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 Post subject: Re: LFTR and Iran?
PostPosted: Jul 03, 2012 8:32 pm 
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Because that route would not give them weapons they are trying to build. If they were only building for energy they certainly would fine a way to have them inspected.


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 Post subject: Re: LFTR and Iran?
PostPosted: Jul 03, 2012 10:29 pm 
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It could be useful to produce 20%LEU under inspection and to use it with thorium in the VVER or any other reactors they may build. They could justify 20% enrichment as more power can be produced in this manner.
They could also co-develop SVBR series Russian reactors in co-operation with them and run it on 20%LEU till enough plutonium from reprocessing is available. This would enable near complete burning of uranium reducing the waste load.


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 Post subject: Re: LFTR and Iran?
PostPosted: Aug 30, 2012 3:22 pm 
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Ida-Russkie wrote:
Because that route would not give them weapons they are trying to build. If they were only building for energy they certainly would fine a way to have them inspected.

They have had their nuclear program inspected. The country that does not allow inspections on their nuclear program is Israel.


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 Post subject: Re: LFTR and Iran?
PostPosted: Aug 30, 2012 3:35 pm 
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oldjar07 wrote:
Ida-Russkie wrote:
Because that route would not give them weapons they are trying to build. If they were only building for energy they certainly would fine a way to have them inspected.

They have had their nuclear program inspected. The country that does not allow inspections on their nuclear program is Israel.

Then why do I read the occasional story in the BBC which says that the IAEA itself is complaining that Iran is not allowing some inspections of specific facilities, and failing to answer questions related to computer simulations of implosion devices? This isn't the UN security council, nor any particular country. The IAEA is so fed up that they're making this a bit more public than they usually do. Or at least that's how the BBC has it. Do you dispute this?


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 Post subject: Re: LFTR and Iran?
PostPosted: Sep 02, 2012 4:16 pm 
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Joshua Maurice wrote:
oldjar07 wrote:
Ida-Russkie wrote:
Because that route would not give them weapons they are trying to build. If they were only building for energy they certainly would fine a way to have them inspected.

They have had their nuclear program inspected. The country that does not allow inspections on their nuclear program is Israel.

Then why do I read the occasional story in the BBC which says that the IAEA itself is complaining that Iran is not allowing some inspections of specific facilities, and failing to answer questions related to computer simulations of implosion devices? This isn't the UN security council, nor any particular country. The IAEA is so fed up that they're making this a bit more public than they usually do. Or at least that's how the BBC has it. Do you dispute this?

Iran has at least allowed inspections of their nuclear sites, while Israel hasn't allowed any. The other facilities have nothing to do with nuclear. If Iran is required to have every military facility and state secret inspected, then the U.S. should do the same if the U.S. is going to criticize Iran. With how much the west has screwed Iran over the last half century, I wouldn't trust a so called "International" agency that clearly has a western bias.


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 Post subject: Re: LFTR and Iran?
PostPosted: Sep 04, 2012 4:16 pm 
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So, you are trusting the word of Iran over the word of the IAEA that these sites are not nuclear related? Or are you claiming that the IAEA is a "western" organization that is not to be trusted?

You also did not address my point of how Iran has refused to work with the IAEA over the computer modeling of implosion devices? Do you even know what that is?


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 Post subject: Re: LFTR and Iran?
PostPosted: Sep 05, 2012 11:41 am 
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Nevermind computer modelling. My understanding is that Iran has been testing actual implosion devices. Here's a Guardian article from 2009. There was an NPR article recently on the same thing. More worrisome, they've covered a test site for this implosion device with a gigantic tarp and appear to be cleaning it very thoroughly. That suggests to me that they are concerned about chemical traces that might be clues to how far along they are.

They may even be concerned about isotopic traces that would be strong evidence of subthreshold nuclear testing. I'm not sure if it's possible to clean up such a test to undetectable limits, so maybe this is just me being overly cautious.

I'm convinced that Iran's goal is to develop all the technology and infrastructure necessary for nuclear weapons, to stockpile enough 20% U-235 to get quickly to a dozen or two devices, and to disperse these assets widely through Iran. They want to be certain that they can get from that point to a delivered nuclear explosion in weeks. The next step, which I don't know if it's in their interest, is to enrich and fab the dozen bomb pits and then test one. At that point they can announce they have complete nuclear weapons. The missile delivery system (Shahab-3) with the improved payload can be demonstrated ahead of time.

None of this has anything to do with LFTRs or molten salt reactors in general. If we had a working, 100% proliferation proof molten salt reactor today, it would make no difference to the outcome of our negotiations with Iran. If Iran had any kind of nuclear reactor that they could subvert, it would make no difference to their nuclear weapons program, since they're already well along better paths.

One interesting wrinkle: if I were Iran, and China or the U.S. was starting to ship cheap MSRs to lots of countries, I'd be tempted to demonstrate a weapon using fissile extracted in any way possible from an MSR (or just lie and claim I'd gotten it from an MSR). Exported MSRs are a deep threat to Iran and any other country that makes most of it's money from oil and especially gas (like Iran). They could use fear of further proliferation to secure their energy export business. I would not be surprised to find they are already supporting the antinuclear crowd. I would also not be surprised to see a Russian U-233 test detonation if an MSR program anywhere looks like it will deliver seriously cheaper energy. Military utility is irrelevant here; there are hundreds of billions of dollars a year at stake.


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 Post subject: Re: LFTR and Iran?
PostPosted: Sep 05, 2012 5:35 pm 
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iain wrote:
Nevermind computer modelling. My understanding is that Iran has been testing actual implosion devices. Here's a Guardian article from 2009. There was an NPR article recently on the same thing. More worrisome, they've covered a test site for this implosion device with a gigantic tarp and appear to be cleaning it very thoroughly. That suggests to me that they are concerned about chemical traces that might be clues to how far along they are.

They may even be concerned about isotopic traces that would be strong evidence of subthreshold nuclear testing. I'm not sure if it's possible to clean up such a test to undetectable limits, so maybe this is just me being overly cautious.

I'm convinced that Iran's goal is to develop all the technology and infrastructure necessary for nuclear weapons, to stockpile enough 20% U-235 to get quickly to a dozen or two devices, and to disperse these assets widely through Iran. They want to be certain that they can get from that point to a delivered nuclear explosion in weeks. The next step, which I don't know if it's in their interest, is to enrich and fab the dozen bomb pits and then test one. At that point they can announce they have complete nuclear weapons. The missile delivery system (Shahab-3) with the improved payload can be demonstrated ahead of time.

None of this has anything to do with LFTRs or molten salt reactors in general. If we had a working, 100% proliferation proof molten salt reactor today, it would make no difference to the outcome of our negotiations with Iran. If Iran had any kind of nuclear reactor that they could subvert, it would make no difference to their nuclear weapons program, since they're already well along better paths.

One interesting wrinkle: if I were Iran, and China or the U.S. was starting to ship cheap MSRs to lots of countries, I'd be tempted to demonstrate a weapon using fissile extracted in any way possible from an MSR (or just lie and claim I'd gotten it from an MSR). Exported MSRs are a deep threat to Iran and any other country that makes most of it's money from oil and especially gas (like Iran). They could use fear of further proliferation to secure their energy export business. I would not be surprised to find they are already supporting the antinuclear crowd. I would also not be surprised to see a Russian U-233 test detonation if an MSR program anywhere looks like it will deliver seriously cheaper energy. Military utility is irrelevant here; there are hundreds of billions of dollars a year at stake.


iaian,

IMO you're getting very caught up in this geopolitical X v Y narrative. Russians, Iranians, Brits, Frenchmen, Indians, Israelis it doesn't matter: they're all just people. People act in their own interests.

Beyond that, economics is not a zero sum game; cheap nuclear energy does not mean that fossil fuels become worthless. So scuttling competition from nuclear doesn't serve the interests of Petro states. Cheap nuclear energy can actually make fossil fuels more valuable through two effects: 'the income effect' of people spending less money on electricity at a given output level, which frees up cash to be spent on other things like cars in developing countries; and new uses for their resources like liquid synfuels, fuel cells, ammonia, plastics etc.

Petro states are NOT in the business of providing "cheap and dirty" electricity, they are in the business of maximizing the long-run value of their resources. The price of oil today has more to do with the expectations of future oil demand than of actual demand today. Bring another 2 billion people into the global middle class and where does the price of oil go?


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 Post subject: Re: LFTR and Iran?
PostPosted: Sep 05, 2012 7:19 pm 
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Location: Los Altos, California
Yes, cheap nuclear energy doesn't mean that fossil fuels become worthless. But low cost electrical energy will drag down the price of oil in the short term.

Cthorm wrote:
Bring another 2 billion people into the global middle class and where does the price of oil go?


I like this kind of thinking!

-Iain


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 Post subject: Re: LFTR and Iran?
PostPosted: Sep 05, 2012 9:21 pm 
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Joshua Maurice wrote:
So, you are trusting the word of Iran over the word of the IAEA that these sites are not nuclear related? Or are you claiming that the IAEA is a "western" organization that is not to be trusted?

You also did not address my point of how Iran has refused to work with the IAEA over the computer modeling of implosion devices? Do you even know what that is?

Under the Non Proliferation Treaty, it is not required that they let them inspect those sites. No other country does, so why should Iran? If you have Israel threatening to attack you and the U.S. sending a bunch of ships right off your coasts for no good reason, I wouldn't blame them if they did develop nuclear weapons.


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 Post subject: Re: LFTR and Iran?
PostPosted: Sep 05, 2012 9:46 pm 
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oldjar07 wrote:
If you have Israel threatening to attack you and the U.S. sending a bunch of ships right off your coasts for no good reason, I wouldn't blame them if they did develop nuclear weapons.

Remember that the actions came in response to Iran talking about Israel being a blot on the planet and that soon they would be wiped from the face of the earth and after there was international concern about the Iranians attempting to develop nuclear weapons.

I do agree though, that allowing Israel to have nuclear weapons while insisting that Iran is not allowed to have them is a difficult policy to defend.


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 Post subject: Re: LFTR and Iran?
PostPosted: Sep 06, 2012 9:33 am 
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One difference: Iran is a signatory to the NPT, and Israel is not. Why exactly they signed I'm not sure. I do think they would like to have a nuclear weapon (mainly as a defense against the US), but I'm not sure of that either. Their 'supreme' religious leader has stated repeatedly that nuclear weapons are 'evil'.

Most estimates place Israel's nuclear stockpile at from 150-200 warheads. Clearly any attack by Iran on Israel would mean the destruction of the Iranian nation. I may be a minority but I don't think they are crazy.


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 Post subject: Re: LFTR and Iran?
PostPosted: Sep 06, 2012 3:59 pm 
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In addition to what the others have said, you have still failed to address my other concern about the computer modeling, and apparently the actual physical testing, of implosion devices, which itself raises questions which the IAEA has a right to ask Iran as Iran is a signatory to the NPT, and Israel is not. If you want to claim double standards, perhaps, but Israel isn't a signatory. Also, thus far you're trying to redirect and dodge the conversation, and I will not let that happen. We can talk about the other issues you want in other threads. This isn't the Israel thread. oldjar07, you're welcome to make one.

Did the Iranians or not do computer modeling of implosion devices? Did the Iranians or not do actual physical testing of implosion devices? Is this against the NPT which they willingly signed? Does or does not the IAEA have a responsibility to follow up on these claims? Is it or is it not true that Iran has failed to meaningfully respond to these claims? Is this not good cause for other nations to think that they're pursuing a nuclear weapons program, contrary to the NPT? I can't think of another good reason for testing implosion devices - in fact there aren't any for testing an implosion device of that sort.


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 Post subject: Re: LFTR and Iran?
PostPosted: Sep 06, 2012 5:15 pm 
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Joshua Maurice wrote:
In addition to what the others have said, you have still failed to address my other concern about the computer modeling, and apparently the actual physical testing, of implosion devices, which itself raises questions which the IAEA has a right to ask Iran as Iran is a signatory to the NPT, and Israel is not. If you want to claim double standards, perhaps, but Israel isn't a signatory. Also, thus far you're trying to redirect and dodge the conversation, and I will not let that happen. We can talk about the other issues you want in other threads. This isn't the Israel thread. oldjar07, you're welcome to make one.

Did the Iranians or not do computer modeling of implosion devices? Did the Iranians or not do actual physical testing of implosion devices? Is this against the NPT which they willingly signed? Does or does not the IAEA have a responsibility to follow up on these claims? Is it or is it not true that Iran has failed to meaningfully respond to these claims? Is this not good cause for other nations to think that they're pursuing a nuclear weapons program, contrary to the NPT? I can't think of another good reason for testing implosion devices - in fact there aren't any for testing an implosion device of that sort.

The Iranians haven't broken the NPT.


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