LETTERS: by G.A. McNamaraNews Weekly
Nuclear menace (letter)
, November 1, 2003
In the matter of nuclear arms control, while North Korea is an obvious menace, Iran's existing and proposed nuclear facilities point to an intention to possess nuclear weapons.
One of the most compelling indications is the current construction of a heavy water production plant at Arak and a uranium enrichment complex at Natanz.
Heavy water as a moderator in a power reactor allows the use of natural uranium fuel.
If power generation is the sole objective, one plant makes the other redundant.
Enrichment can provide fuel with 5 per cent uranium-235 for power generation or 50% for nuclear explosives. Low-enriched uranium is already available from Russia.
In addition, the heavy water reactor allows the early removal, without shutdown of fuel elements for the extraction of uncontaminated plutonium.
Since there is no evident intention to build a fast breeder power reactor, Iran must intend to have a choice of nuclear explosives.G.A. McNamara