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NRC Accused of Ignoring Proliferation Risks With SILEX Enrichment 128

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the an-enrichment-facility-with-a-freaking-laser dept.
Harperdog writes "Scott Kemp has a disturbing look at SILEX, a new technology that 'happens to be well suited for making nuclear weapons.' There are many disturbing aspects the this article, not least that the NRC, which is required to consider the critical question of proliferation, has so far punted when it comes to examining that question. 'The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has refused to consider the proliferation risk in its decision to issue a license for the first commercial SILEX facility, despite a statutory obligation to do so. Only a few weeks remain for Congress to intervene.'" Not everyone agrees that SILEX poses a real proliferation threat. Kind of a shame that its environmental benefits (lower power consumption and a smaller waste stream than existing processes) are what increase the proliferation risk.
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NRC Accused of Ignoring Proliferation Risks With SILEX Enrichment

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  • by AB3A (192265) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @07:10AM (#40827111) Homepage Journal

    So what are they supposed to do, make a law against using this technology? Yeah, that will work --NOT!

  • Alternative (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jbeaupre (752124) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @07:19AM (#40827161)

    The alternative is to not build a SILEX plant in the US.

    And what will the results be? Will no one else build them? If the technical hurdle, as the article claims, is the laser system, and if they are getting easier to produce, then it seems unlikely that no one else will produce a SILEX plant.

    Therefore, the danger does not stem from the US building a SILEX plant. It stems from laser research. So why doesn't the article insist we stop researching lasers?

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @07:21AM (#40827179) Homepage

    Does the USA realize that all this "we're running the world" stuff just makes foreign extremists angry? Even more determined to have it?

    Imagine it was the other way around with some other country telling the USA what to do...

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @07:52AM (#40827335)

    Dead on.

    Technology, once discovered, will be used. Law or no law. As long as there is someone wanting it, someone will produce it and sell it. Welcome to the free market. Worked every time, even for communist states.

    The only sensible thing to do now is to make sure we stay ahead, and monitor where technology and resources needed to reproduce it go.

  • by pla (258480) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:11AM (#40827555) Journal
    That's the problem. This technology would not be easily tracked or monitored. Enriching uranium is the stepping stone to making bombs. The US is already up in arms over Iran's uranium enrichment program. US claims it's for bombs, Iran claims it's for energy. How do you verify?

    This technology already exists. Please Mr. Genie, go back in the bottle won't you?

    Whether or not the NRC gives this tech its official stamp of approval has no bearing on whether or not Iran has already started working on their own SILEX facility. So why the hell shouldn't we benefit from it? The proliferation risk amounts to nothing but an "oops, should have thought of that 25 years ago" footnote to the entire issue.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:18AM (#40827633)

    Dude, I know it's hard when you didn't grow up in a country where you knew from the start that your media is lying, but at least spot propaganda when it hits you right in the face, will ya?

    No, I'm not talking about Fox News and how they try to picture Ahmadingbats as a ravaging lunatic. I mean him himself. He is not a ravaging lunatic or a islamist madman, he's just a populist. That's all there is.

    Now, don't get me wrong, I won't call the Iran a democracy. Hell, even the US is more of a democracy than that theocracy (because that's what the Iran actually is, under its thin blanket of show elections and whatnot). But even there elections exist, and even though the choices are pretty much akin to having the choice between an ultra-right wing idiot and a right wing loonie (i.e. pretty much as it is in the US, just with Allah instead of Economy+Jesus as the savior), Ahmadinejad wants to get reelected. So he tells the people what they want to hear. That he's a tough guy, that he'll smite their enemies and that he will not allow any outside force to change their way of life.

    You'll hear something like that soon too, afaik prez elections are coming in the US.

    And just like the US prez needs terrorists as an enemy element, Ahmi has Israel as a pet boogeyman.

    Notice how his rants went dry lately? Well, duh, he can't be reelected, and the next elections are only due in about 2 years. You don't hear Obama rant about the threats of terror constantly either, do you?

    And why does this appeal to the average Iranian? Because they're all islamistic madmen who want to wipe the Earth clean of everything that doesn't bow towards Mecca? Well. Let's take a look at the world map. For the average US American, try finding Russia and then look south of it, you might find Iran. To the left of it, Iraq. To the right, Afghanistan. Both countries that have been invaded (with so-so success) by the US.

    Now imagine the Iran (or if you prefer some other boogeyman, try Russia or the UN) took over control of Mexico and Canada, and then ponder for a moment how you'd feel about the Iran, even if Fox News didn't bombard you constantly with the message how they're Teh Evilz and how they want to kill the lot of you.

    This is how the average Iranian feels, I guess...

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