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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 @08:10AM (#40827111) Homepage Journal

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

    • by Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:30AM (#40827225)
      Nuke it from orbit! It's the... oh wait.
    • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:52AM (#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.

      • "...monitor where technology and resources needed to reproduce it go."

        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?

        Perhaps you should do some research.
        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          You don't verify. Iran as a state is not a huge nuclear weapons threat. The real fear is someone selling these weapons to non-state actors.

          States fear MAD, non-state actors have no such concerns.

          • by Sarius64 (880298)
            Trying to fathom the statement, "Iran as a state is not a huge nuclear weapons threat". Can we get some milestones for a comparison of what is a recognized "huge nuclear weapons threats"? Can we make sure Iran kills you and yours first so we have a use case?
            • by durrr (1316311)

              Russia is huge.
              China is huge.
              India is huge.
              the US is huge.
              They are all recognized to have nuclear weapons.
              The nation most likely to kill me is probably the US through some intelligence failure combined with a drone strike.

              So the US is a huge nuclear-armed threat to my life.

              • by EdIII (1114411)

                So the US is a huge nuclear-armed threat to my life.

                Hardly .

                You might be struck with something non-nuclear. Maybe all the way up to a MOAB, but that is extremely doubtful. Whatever a drone strike could pull off.

                When the poster mentioned that state actors fear MAD, what he really means is that State actors are going to consider consequences a hell of lot more rationally, and thoroughly before acting. The US would have to be pushed severely before using nuclear anything. Especially, when nuclear has such severe long lasting consequences and there are so

            • by h4rr4r (612664)

              Comparisons would be people who have used them before, the USA, people lying about having them already, Israel, and those who are not state actors, terror groups.

              Iran like all state actors has MAD to keep them from doing anything to crazy. I was not suggesting Iran was a nice country, merely that like all state actors they are not the ones we should be worried about.

              Iran will not be killing any westerners soon, so no worries about making sure they get me first.

              • Just a small point, Israel doesn't lie. It explicitly does not comment on whether or not they have nuclear weapons and officially they do not inform the United States of whether or not they have nuclear weapons. They do it this way because it allows them to interact with the US without breaking our NPT duties while simultaneously not lying about whether they have nuclear weapons, which would break our NPT duties.

                So they don't lie. And, in fact, they don't even pretend not to have nukes. They just refuse

                • by Sarius64 (880298)
                  Well, TBF, Israel lied quite a bit about the USS Liberty.
                  • Sorry, let me clarify, "Israel does not lie about its nuclear capabilities." I thought the context was obvious but I was, of course, mistaken.

                • by h4rr4r (612664)

                  So fine, they refuse to comment on the state of their nuclear weapons program. Which still makes them more of threat to safety than countries that admit they have nukes. Unknowns are bad for peace.

                  • Except that they're not an unknown. Everyone knows they have nukes. In fact if they were to admit they had nukes outside the NPT I think that would cause more disruption than continuing their no-comment stance since the UN would be forced to start messing with them over the fact.

                    • Why would the UN have to get involved? Israel isn't a signatory of the NPT and isn't bound by its provisions. The major assistance it got happened prior to 1968 (when the NPT was signed) when the Dimona reactor was being built by the French. Israel might have helped South Africa with its program, but South Africa didn't sign the NPT until 1991.

                      I think the Israelis have been very careful to ensure technical compatibility with other nations' signing status. They've got plenty of bright people (and some of

                    • The UN would have to look very closely at the US if Israel admitted to having nuclear weapons.

                    • But why? The evidence available suggests that even the US was guessing about Israeli nuclear capabilities until the 1970s. Israel may also have detonated a crude nuclear bomb in 1963, again before the NPT was first signed. The UN only gets involved if Israel signs the NPT and the IAEA starts inspections.

                    • Okay, I'll spell it out for you. The USA is a signatory to the NPT so it's not supposed to help other countries obtain nuclear weapons technology. The US and Israel have very close connections. If Israel admits to having nuclear weapons technology then the IAEA should be asking where they got that technology . Even though it's feasible they developed it all independently they should still be investigating whether and to what extent the US helped. If Israel admits to having nuclear weapons capabilities t

                    • You went where I figured you were going, and where I already addressed. But if that assistance came before the signing of the NPT (as France's did), there's nothing to investigate (as I've said a couple of times before). Even if they do admit they have nuclear weapons (which I don't expect anytime in the foreseeable future), unless and until they sign the NPT (which is even less likely to happen), the IAEA has no official business on Israeli soil investigating them. Israel's not about to turn over its de

                    • Unless the US gave aid to the Israeli nuclear program after signing the NPT. Which they may have and I would suspect did. And which the IAEA would have to investigate. And it's conceivable that under both the disarmament and non-proliferation parts of the NPT that the US has a duty to inform the IAEA of its knowledge of the Israeli program.

                    • This is the last post I'm making on the topic.

                      The US has to divulge information it has about NPT violations. If it never assisted, it doesn't have to provide any information. Even if it knows for sure that Israel has a nuclear weapons program, it doesn't have to confirm that fact since Israel isn't a signatory unless it knows that Israel got it from some other willing nation similar to how non-signatory Pakistan's weapons designs ended up in North Korea and Iran (both signatories at the time). Legally, n

                    • Fair enough. I'll agree with you that it's entirely possible the US has not, since signing the NPT, aided Israel at all with respect to nuclear weapons.

              • by bobbied (2522392)

                Iran will not be killing any westerners soon.

                Really? Who do you think was shooting at western troops in Iraq? Iran may not have uniformed troops in country pulling triggers, but they sure where supplying the means and knowledge (if not the people at times) doing it. The same is true in Afghanistan now.

                Perhaps it is just rhetoric, but Iran and other nations in the area has publicly *said* what they intend to do. Some these countries have previously tried to wipe Israel off the map before and failed. Why do you now think that MAD is going to stop Ir

            • by hairyfeet (841228)

              For someone like Iran to hit the USA with even a single nuke they are gonna need rockets a HELL of a lot better than what they have now, which are basically just upgrades to the old Soviet Scud. Now Iran could hit Israel with a nuke Scud possibly, not even 50/50 since a nuke is heavier than the typical payload on one of those, but since Israel has enough nukes that the single nuke scud would be met with 50 more advanced bombs that would pretty much wipe Iran completely off the map its not that big of a risk

        • by pla (258480) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @09:11AM (#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.
          • I was around Princeton in the late 1980s when this idea of using lasers to modify the rates of chemical reactions was being talked about. In general, I've been thinking about this nuclear proliferation issue for a long time (not just for that reason, a professor I had there, Frank von Hippel, who worked on non-proliferation issues, was upset/concerned when I raised the issue in a paper for his seminar that people would soon be able to make weapons at home or in small communities as technology proliferated,

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        If the concern is 'proliferation' and the specific area of concern is a technology that makes it cheaper, easier, and less obvious to enrich fissionables, how exactly does 'staying ahead' help us and how do we monitor where the technology and (minimal resources) go?

        In terms of nuclear arms, we already are ahead. Largely by brute-force large scale application of relatively primitive enrichment processes; but ahead nevertheless. That has its virtues in a MAD-style scenario; but doesn't really help us much in

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      That is pretty much the problem with WMD tech, isn't it? Once even the idea is out there others WILL figure out a way to implement it, you can't "undo" this anymore than you can unmake the atom bomb.

      Personally I'm less worried about this, because frankly building a bomb does at least require a nation state, than I am about biological weapons. There is a HELL of a lot of really fucking nasty bugs out there, plague, anthrax, ebola, that killer flu of 1917, the "scarlet death" that wiped out a dozen cities in

    • Ca 1969-70, Exxon developed laser isotope separation enough to claim over 90% reduction of separation energy expenditure on easily commercializable processes and began preparation for construction of commercial facilities. After the developers made statements about ease, like even in a garage, Exxon was slapped with a weapons proliferation impact statement, a shocking response then. We didn't hear too much about laser isotope separation after that.
  • You mean a plant here here in the USA? You realize that we already HAVE nuclear weapons, yes? Enough to destroy the entire world a couple times over. How much more proliferationey does it need to be in order to concern you?
    • Re:The NRC? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@hacki s h . o rg> on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:17AM (#40827151)

      I recall some of these debates around breeder reactors [wikipedia.org] (which also have significant dual-use possibilities), and the arguments there were that, although obviously the U.S. already has nuclear weapons, it should nonetheless not use a dual-use-prone technology for its civilian reactors, because doing so: 1) sets a precedent that this is normal civilian nuclear technology and makes it harder to argue against other countries also using it; and 2) may bring the cost down and improve the practicalities so that it's easier for other countries to get one.

      Not sure it's a good argument, but I think the arguments around SILEX would be basically the same.

      • And noticed how we eventually dealt with breeder reactors? The nuclear treaties surrounding the distribution and use of fissionable material pretty much state that everyone may have what they need but need to allow international supervision that it's only used in power plants and not in nukes. Where's the problem with that? I mean, aside of some being more equal than others...

      • I for one support the continuous production of highly enriched nuclear material. Enriched nuclear material is not waste, and can be fed back into the reactor to make more energy. We should continue enriching the waste products until we've burned out most of it and have little waste left, though that might take 200,000 years or so. Considering the amount of nuclear material available, we may be able to add fresh material to the pile and have some 70% left over when it comes time for the sun to burn out.
        • by Shoten (260439)

          I for one support the continuous production of highly enriched nuclear material. Enriched nuclear material is not waste, and can be fed back into the reactor to make more energy. We should continue enriching the waste products until we've burned out most of it and have little waste left, though that might take 200,000 years or so. Considering the amount of nuclear material available, we may be able to add fresh material to the pile and have some 70% left over when it comes time for the sun to burn out.

          I think you're confusing things here. This is about enriching uranium past the point that is necessary for use in a reactor. You don't need (or want) weapons-grade uranium to go into a reactor for peaceful purposes. And in fact, it's WAY harder to get uranium to the point where you can get it to detonate (instead of just heat up and melt) at critical mass...so much so that you need to use entirely different means to get there. So there really isn't a benefit to what you're saying here.

          • In a reactor, uranium is kept critical. That means it experiences a chain reaction by which neutrons released at high speeds from radioactive decay strike other atoms, causing them to decay and release more neutrons.

            In a bomb, uranium is made super-critical. Highly enriched uranium is compressed uniformly by conventional explosives. Metal doesn't compress well, but 4 tons of C4 in an inward-facing spherical shape charge is hard to argue with. The slightest decrease in total volume (increase in density--

      • by hey! (33014)

        One of the most important things to know about a technological approach is that it *works*. Once you've demonstrated something works, it becomes much easier to copy the results, even if the specific details are forced to be different (e.g. by intellectual property restraints).

        I don't think anyone can say how much building a working, full scale Silex plant will help other to obtain the intelligence they need to develop their own laser enrichment technology. That depends on how much our success depends on se

    • by Nadaka (224565)

      The US doesn't have enough nukes to destroy an entire 1% of the land area of earth, much less the whole thing multiple times. The damage of nuclear war is vastly over hyped. The world and most of its species will be fine, even humanity won't be extinguished.

      • We can't destroy the /land area/ but we can make the /atmosphere/ inhospitable through fallout and nuclear winter.

        • by Nadaka (224565)

          No we can not.

          Fallout is a limited risk outside the immediate area of a strike, resulting in at most a few percent increase in death rates over the next few decades.

          Nuclear winter will not last centuries, or even decades, the worst realistic scenario is that we loose a summer, or far less likely, two summers. We have survived far worse.

  • Alternative (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jbeaupre (752124) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:19AM (#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 sycodon (149926)

      The anti-nuke activists, while at the same time decrying coal and gas power plants, will do everything in their power to stall or prevent the development of modern nuclear power technologies. In short, they won't be happy until everyone is sitting in the forest crying for the trees.

      • Re:Alternative (Score:5, Interesting)

        by denis-The-menace (471988) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @09:30AM (#40827793)

        The real solution is LFTR reactors.

        No more enrichment, ever.
        Cheap fuel (currently is a waste product of mining)
        No more 100+ Atmosphere pressure vessels to burst
        No more backup generators needed
        Accidental meltdowns are impossible
        Turn reactor on/off in hours/minutes not months
        Unable to weaponize any part of fuel or waste.
        Needs Uranium only to start the reactor
        Creates leukemia fighting medical isotopes
        Creates isotopes for space-grade batteries for NASA
        Creates very little waste

        Issue: Regulations set by existing Nuke industry.

        • by Sarius64 (880298)
          Sorry, the stupid people keep following Nimitz and Carter down the path of idiocy.
        • by mordjah (1088481)
          This. You made me curious so I had to go look at the wiki.. the lifter reactor is also 10 to 15 percent more efficent than the light water reactors we use today.
        • by sycodon (149926)

          THIS.

          This is the area where the Feds should spend money.

          A single design (2 at most) should be selected and certified.
          Existing laws should be changed to eliminate lawsuits and expedient site selection.
          Components should be mass produced, assembled, tested, and shipped (when feasible)
          On site tooling should be manufactured and reused (no custom builds of forms, etc.)

          Build one off nuke plants is stupid. A power company should be able to select an appropriate site and start construction within several months and

        • Another issue: the fact that no one has been able to build a full-scale model of it and have it operate within acceptable safety limits.

          Theoretically speaking, LFTR is a great technology. In practice, people haven't been able to make it work. I wouldn't advocate full-scale LFTRs until people are confident that they're small-scale models can actually be built-out to full scale.

        • by MtViewGuy (197597)

          Or to be more specific:

          1. An LFTR uses thorium-232, which is far more common than uranium--the USA has a huge stockpile of the stuff, so does India, and China has a lot of it from its rare-earth mining operations.
          2. LFTR's use thorium-232 dissolved in molten sodium fluoride salts, far cheaper to make than uranium pellets assembled into fuel rods.
          3. LFTR's can even use spent uranium fuel rods and plutonium dissolved in sodium fluoride salts as fuel, which means we can eliminate a major radioactive waste disp

        • by delt0r (999393)
          You know that you can write the *same* list for Uranium reactors as well. In fact molten salt reactors work just fine with Uranium with the same benefits.

          The waste from a reprocessing fuel cycle for Th and U is the same (to first order). You do in fact have the same "turn off" problems with both as well, because decay heat is something that happens in both cases. Th fuel cycle *has* been used to make not one, but 2 bombs. So it can be weaponized. It has been weaponized. Accidental core breach is totally
          • There is "decay heat" but unlike traditional reactors, you can shut LFTRs down fairly quickly.

            In fact, when they built the LFTR reactor in the 70s, nobody wanted to monitor them during the weekend. So they turned it off on Friday and turned it back on on Monday.

            As far as Thorium bombs thing:

            Where is all this crap coming from?: "Thorium Remix 2011"

            • by delt0r (999393)
              The decay heat is the same and you must deal with it. A 1GW thermal reactor even after 1 hour may only give .5% or so decay heat (don't recall the exact numbers), but that is still 5MW of heat and that melts a lot of stuff fast without cooling. The fast turn on/turn off is a feature of liquid Fluorine salt reactor and works fine with Uranium fuel cycles. In fact its a property of a wider class of reactors called homogenous reactors, where the fuel is in the primary coolant. Again has nothing to do with tho
      • by gnick (1211984)

        ...sitting in the forest crying for the trees.

        And what's wrong with that? The Lorax agrees.

        • by sycodon (149926)

          For a good laugh, go to YouTube and search for "hippies crying for trees" or some variation on the that.

          Good times. Laughing just remembering it.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      SILEX was developed in Australia. Sorry the US is not the center of all cutting edge technology. The pilot plant is in the US, but nothing is stopping them from moving elsewhere when the US blocks the development. I bet China or Russia would line up to build the industrial scale plant.
  • by ShooterNeo (555040) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:21AM (#40827175)

    It will probably become easier to enrich uranium for anyone who has the resources to do it, whether or not this Silex technology is made commercial scale. It's not like the basics of the technology are a secret.

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:21AM (#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 OzPeter (195038)

      Does the USA realize that all this "we're running the world" stuff just makes foreign extremists angry?

      What I never got was all those outcries along the lines of "We're not the worlds police" .. yet you have things like this happening more and more.

    • Foreign extremists will be angry. About something. Always. This is all they do.

      People who bomb civilians by surprise, in their homelands mostly BTW, are not people you ever consider having a valid agenda you can somehow appease by changing your own behavior.

      Because it's not about your behavior. It is about their behavior, and their agenda, which would violently exist no matter what you said or did.

      At some point you have to realize you have to oppose people on the basis of their lame agenda and their lame ta

      • People who bomb civilians by surprise, in their homelands mostly BTW, are not people you ever consider having a valid agenda you can somehow appease by changing your own behavior.

        Because it's not about your behavior. It is about their behavior, and their agenda, which would violently exist no matter what you said or did.

        At some point you have to realize you have to oppose people on the basis of their lame agenda and their lame tactics as a simple matter of principle. THEIR agenda.

        Up until this point, I couldn't tell whether you were talking about iran or terrorists or the people behind the US army.

    • Imagine you are the government of Iran. Putting religious and cultural issues aside for a moment, you have seen two of your neighbors occupied by a superpower - and in the case of Iraq, done on the backs of blatant lies that nearly everyone now acknowledges.

      Wouldn't *you* want the ultimate defensive weapon (nukes) to keep the crazy Westerners from invading, ala North Korea? Put in that light, the choice appears rather rational.
  • The development of this technology for commercial power generation uses must not be stopped, rather if it has benefits, encouraged. Just becasue there are issues that it can be used to make a bomb, should not stop countries such as the US developing it for its nuclear power plants. I would agree that the facilities to process it should be licenced and monitored and we should keep it out of the hands of rogue states such as Iran.

    • ... we should keep it out of the hands of rogue states such as Iran.

      How do you think we will do this? The whole point of SILEX is that is much more compact and energy efficient than alternative enrichment technologies, so much harder to detect. Lasers are much easier to acquire or build than good centrifuges.

      I am not so sure than an Iranian bomb will be such a bad thing. If past history is any guide, nukes will have a stabilizing influence on the region. They probably prevented a war between NATO and the USSR, and India and Pakistan get along much better now that they h

    • by necro81 (917438)

      Just becasue there are issues that it can be used to make a bomb, should not stop countries such as the US developing it for its nuclear power plants. I would agree that the facilities to process it should be licenced and monitored and we should keep it out of the hands of rogue states such as Iran

      Gosh, with platitudes like that, you should run for office! It is very easy for politicians, who don't actually live in the same reality as the rest of us, to make such simplistic statements without offering an

    • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @09:18AM (#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...

      • by Minwee (522556)

        Stop that. If you're going to start treating foreigners as though they were people with feelings, then who knows where this could lead?

        You know who else liked foreigners? Hitler.

        Why do you hate America?

        Won't somebody please think of the children?

        If speaking English and hating people from the Middle East was good enough for Jesus, it should be good enough for the rest of us.

        • by Sarius64 (880298)
          You know that because our President is part Arab that your entire post is inherently racist.
        • If speaking English and hating people from the Middle East was good enough for Jesus, it should be good enough for the rest of us.

          That's...I mean...it's a joke...it's a joke...*brain asplode*

      • by Hatta (162192)

        He is not a ravaging lunatic or a islamist madman, he's just a populist. That's all there is.

        Those are not mutually exclusive characterizations.

        • If he was a total Islamist nutbag, rockets would have been flying towards Israel already. Yes, that would have caused an invasion to Iran by the US, but what does a religious lunatic care? Kill the infidel, to hell with personal fate or the cost of lives since if they kill then they'll all go to paradise and be much better off that way.

          The whole show how he tries to look like he's playing hardball but always caves in before someone would strike out at him tells me that he's simply playing the populist game.

      • Economy+Jesus as the savior

        Ah, I always wondered who the Invisible Hand belonged to.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Why doesn't Iran have the right to generate their own nuclear power? What makes Iran any more a "rogue state" than the US?

      • Why doesn't Iran have the right to generate their own nuclear power?

        Many countries have nuclear power plants without doing their own enrichment. It is far less expensive to just buy already enriched fuel. The USA, France and Russia have all offered to sell Iran enriched fuel, and to guarantee the supply, on the condition that they shut down their own enrichment activities. What they are doing only makes sense if they are building a bomb. Not that I blame them: they are surrounded by powerful enemies, and the USA has been threatening to attack them for the last three de

  • Even if their power grid hadn't collapsed they're having trouble meeting demand because of the weak monsoon lowering reservoirs. Fission power should last a several hundred years.
  • If the technology has been proven I think it will get out there eventually regardless of whether it's deployed commercially in the west or not. Even if it's through a fresh development effort which would not have been undertaken had the technology not been previously proven. It seems to me that the best chance we have at detecting any future clandestine SILEX lab would be to use the technology now under a well established regulatory system and gain experience which may be valuable in detecting labs in the f
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:51AM (#40827333)

    ...in case you were wondering. An energy-efficient means of enriching uranium, worrisome because it would be harder to detect its use than older methods.

    • ...in case you were wondering. An energy-efficient means of enriching uranium, worrisome because it would be harder to detect its use than older methods.

      Too bad they can't do it with Erotic EXcitation... then we could power the world with internet porn.

  • If Iran got their hands on this technology, it'd be a lot more fun to make it run incorrectly than some dumb centrifuge. We could blow a hole right through their building with the laser lol.
    • by vlm (69642)

      If Iran got their hands on this technology, it'd be a lot more fun to make it run incorrectly than some dumb centrifuge. We could blow a hole right through their building with the laser lol.

      Boring. Not enough power anyway. Much funnier to PWM the computer controlled water cooling pump to create hot spots in the laser tube and let the laser blow itself to pieces while the pump "appears to be working" so they replace the expensive tube a couple times, then the expensive pump, then replace the controller which promptly gets reinfected, etc etc. Its absolutely inevitable that we'll see warfare like that as 3-d printing and laser cutters get cheaper, some chinese mfgr or american retailer will r

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @09:36AM (#40827855)

    What are they going to do, pass a law making it illegal to ignore a statutory requirement?

  • Given that Nukes are the only peacekeeping weapons the world has ever known [slashdot.org] I fail to see how proliferation is a serious problem. A nuclear armed global society is a poilte global society.

  • Liquid salt reactors weren't built because they can't be used to enrich Uranium. We know how to build them. Why aren't we building them.

Testing can show the presense of bugs, but not their absence. -- Dijkstra

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