Iran with Uranium Enrichment Technology = No Deal
Note: Eric Rockett is a student at the Koinonia Institute working on his Silver Medallion. This paper was part of his coursework in his I620 class.
Frequent news reports discussing the Iranian nuclear program and the negotiations between Iran and the United Nations try to ensure that Iran is keeping their international commitments. The United Nations has a valid stake in ensuring that Iran’s nuclear program is purely peaceful because Iran committed to it when they signed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 1974. (International Atomic Energy Agency, 1974)
In 2002, the Vice‐President of Iran, H.E. Reza Aghazadeh, stated, “Complete transparency of my country’s nuclear activities is a serious commitment endorsed by my government”. (Aghazadeh, 2002) However, Iran has failed to keep that commitment as they have secretly developed uranium enrichment technology without notifying to the IAEA and thus circumventing the requirements of the Treaty. (International Atomic Energy Agency, 1974, p. 3)
According to the June 2003 IAEA report, prior to February 2003 there was information in “open sources” talking about an Iranian enrichment program with the report further stating that Iran did disclose to the IAEA during a meeting in February 2003 that they possessed uranium enrichment technology at two sites. (International Atomic Energy Agency, 2003, p. 4)
Even to this day it still cannot be confirmed that the Iranian nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes. (ISIS Nuclear Iran, International Atomic Agency, 2015, p. 14) Therefore, should Iran be allowed to continue to possess uranium enrichment technology?
The nation of Persia is identified as one of a group of peoples who come against Israel in a future battle spoken of by the Prophet Ezekiel. (Ezekiel 38:5) But who is Persia today? The map below shows that Persia of the Bible occupies what is today Iran.
Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to the United States Congress stated “I’ve come here today because, as prime minister of Israel, I feel a profound obligation to speak to you about an issue that could well threaten the survival of my country and the future of my people: Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons.” (Washington Post, 03 Mar 2015) Only the power of nuclear weapons would provide Iran the means to threaten the very existence of the modern nation of Israel.
Ezekiel goes on to describe the significant process that Israel is to go through just to bury the dead and cleanse the land following the battle. (Ezekiel 39:14–15) This must have seemed very unusual to Ezekiel to go through all of this effort for burial, but to the modern ear it sounds like a cleanup after the use of nuclear weapons. Table 1 below shows the comparison between what cleanup process that Ezekiel described and what the U.S. Department of Homeland Security describes as the process used in dealing with the aftermath of a nuclear weapon detonation.
Table 1: Actions Required for Cleanup after Nuclear Weapon Detonation
For Iran to directly fulfill this prophecy they would have to be able to produce nuclear weapons and one way to produce them is using uranium enrichment technology. Uranium enrichment is the process that adjusts the ratio of uranium‐235 (U–235) to uranium–238 (U–238), two naturally occurring uranium isotopes. Uranium, when it comes out of the earth is approximately 0.72 percent U–235 and 99.27 percent U–238. (Walker, 1989, p. 48) When uranium hexafluoride gas is added to a machine, called a centrifuge, that rotates rapidly, the lighter U–235 molecules will concentrate to the center and the heavier U–238 molecules concentrate to the outside of the machine due to centrifugal force. However, the amount of concentration done by each machine is very small as the masses of the molecules are very close to each other. The unit of measure used for uranium enrichment is a separative work unit (SWU). (Cochran & Tsoulfanidis, 1990) To produce energy in a nuclear power station or a weapon the U–235 is split or fissioned. According to the World Nuclear Association, a typical light-water reactor is fueled with a concentration of three to five percent U–235 by weight compared to weapons grade uranium where the U–235 concentration is 90 percent or greater. It is easy now to understand why the negotiations are focused on this critical technology and how it is used. Currently Iran has more than 19,000 centrifuges installed with more than 10,000 of those in current operation and has produced enrichments up to 20 percent. (ISIS Nuclear Iran, International Atomic Agency, 2015, pp. 5–7)
The real question comes down to how many of these machines are necessary to produce fuel for a commercial power station, as Iran claims its intended purpose is, compared to making nuclear weapons, which is the concern of the world? Cochran & Tsoulfandis provide the necessary equations used to calculate the SWUs for a given set of input and output parameters. (Cochran & Tsoulfanidis, 1990, pp. 62–63) According to the Federation of American Scientists, fifteen kilograms of U–235 is enough for a “thick tamper design” nuclear weapon.
Table 2: SWU Requirements for Different Nuclear Applications
Table 3 below shows the production data on the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant, which is operating 9,156 machines in 54 cascades. (International Atomic Energy Agency, 2014, p. 6) (ISIS Nuclear Iran, International Atomic Agency, 2015, p. 5). From this data the calculations were performed to determine the how many SWUs the Iranian centrifuges are currently producing on average for two different enrichment levels since the IAEA reports did not specify the exact output enrichment level.
Table 3: Natanz Production Data
As shown in Table 4 below, the Iranian centrifuges are producing on the order of 1–2 SWUs per machine per year. This is compared to standard commercial centrifuge that produces on the order of ninety SWUs per machine per year. (Cochran & Tsoulfanidis, 1990, pp. 67–68) From the production rate it can be calculated how long it would take to enrich the uranium necessary for a weapon for a given number of Iranian centrifuges.
Table 4: Determination of Average SWUs Produced
Figure 2 below shows the number of centrifuges as a function of operating days required to produce 15 kilograms of U–235 assuming a production capacity of one SWU per machine per year.
The critical variable in determining how long it would take to produce weapons grade material is the assumed starting point from which the technology is switched from a peaceful to weapons purpose. For example, assume that Iran is allowed to keep 8,000 centrifuges that are allowed produce uranium enriched up to 5% U–235. In one year Iran could produce about 1,000 kilograms of 5% enriched uranium if it is assumed that each machine is producing 1 SWU per year. Now assume that the facility is switched from peaceful to weapons purposes. If Iran started from 0.7% U–235 it would require about 3,200 SWU or 146 days to produce the 15 kilograms of U–235 required for a weapon. Should Iran reintroduce the 1,000 kilograms of 5% U–235, they could produce 40 kilograms of 99.9% U–235 in 85 days. The media is reporting that the current negotiations have a range between 6,500 and 8,000 centrifuges that Iran would be allowed to operate. (Jahn, 03 Jan. 2015) (The Jerusalem Post, 03 Feb. 2015) As can be seen from Figure 2 above, both of these proposals would allow Iran to produce nuclear weapons in less than 180 days starting from 0.7% U–235 and less than 60 days if starting from 5% U–235. As shown in Table 2 above, Iran would need 140,000 SWUs for one commercial power station, requiring 70,000 to 140,000 machines. Thus it is completely unreasonable to believe that this program is for anything other than nuclear weapons production.
The current negotiations between the United Nations and Iran, that allow for any Iranian uranium enrichment technology are fatally flawed and will not prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons. Furthermore, if Iran is allowed to continue to possess enrichment technology, they will clearly have the necessary means to produce weapons-grade uranium, and this could lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East or worse, a nuclear war. The Lord God speaking to Abraham said “I will bless those who bless thee and curse those who curse thee”. The United Nations negotiates with Iran, who is trying to develop nuclear weapons and has vowed to destroy Israel, yet they exclude Israel from the negotiations, they are bringing a curse upon themselves by strengthening the enemies of Israel.
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- FROM KHouse.Org