13 April 2006

A Nuclear Iran When?!?

How’s this for confusing -

Compare this analysis:
Western nuclear analysts said yesterday that Tehran lacked the skills, materials and equipment to make good on its immediate nuclear ambitions

To this one (h/t GVH):
Iran ... may be capable of making a nuclear bomb within 16 days, a U.S. State Department official said.

Confused?  How could two learned bodies disagree so completely?  For a thourough explanation, look no further than the Captain’s Quarters.  However for a quick and dirty (how I like it) rundown, I will sum up.

It all has to do with centrifuges.  Currently, Iran has a few, which they obtained very secretly, to enrich uranium.  However, they claim they will immediately increase the number they have by at least twenty-fold, and soon have more than 330 TIMES the number of centrifuges than they currently have.  How can they do that if it was so much trouble just to obtain a few?  Well, now that they have them, they have learned to make them on their own.  Whoops, good way to control dangerous, dual-use technology, folks.

The first estimate is based largely on the small number of centrifuges Iran currently has.  The second estimate is assuming they already have the 330 fold increase.  So, PBS’s bet?  They can probably jump to the intermediate number of centrifuges pretty quickly, and that means they could be pumping out nuclear weapons, a few a month, in 9 or ten months.  And if they keep working on their industrial base while they do so, that number will continue to go down as the manufacture weapons.  So, next Valentine’s Day, then?  Until then, maybe CDR Salamander can pour us all a few drinks.


At 4/17/2006, Blogger Vigilis said...

Reading you loud and clear.


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