Uranium enrichment: Iran has managed to master the technology, are difficult for the United States

In the present not so long ago, the next quarterly report of the IAEA on Iran's nuclear dilemma, it is reported that fortified underground enrichment plant at Fordow has two new cascade of centrifuges improved — from 174 in each. Total at this facility will mark the 3,000 centrifuges for enriching uranium. In the past, the IAEA report, posted in May, it was reported that the Fordow centrifuges have been installed in 1064, 696 of them at the time of publication of the document were working at full capacity. So pass Russian news agencies.

But zabugornye news agencies, namely Reuters, referring to the same IAEA report gives a heartbreaking quote: "The number of centrifuges to enrich uranium in the complex Ford, located deep in the mountains, increased from 1064 to 2140 pieces."

Uranium enrichment: Iran managed to master the technologies that are not available for the U.S.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a uranium enrichment plant in Natanz

Maybe IAEA experts themselves entangled in numbers. In any case, they do not interfere with the politicians and the media to scare the population of the various figures, allegedly showing the zeal of Iran to construct a nuclear bomb or missile warhead. And it went again counting how many tons of enriched uranium Iran and in how many months out of it let us make bombs. But all are silent, that centrifuge enrichment plants do not receive enriched uranium. At the exit there are uranium hexafluoride gas. And from the gas bomb does not do.

Uraniferous have to carry gas to another company. In Iran, the bars on the dekonversii production of uranium hexafluoride are available on the UCF plant in Isfahan. There have already successfully carried out dekonversiyu hexafluoride enriched to 5%. But again, the result obtained is not uranium and uranium dioxide UO2. Bomb out of it, too, can be done. But as time is used to manufacture fuel pellets, of which are gaining rods for nuclear reactors. Creating a piece of fuel is in the same factory in Isfahan FMP.

To obtain iron uranium to uranium dioxide at a temperature of 430 to 600 degrees are gaseous hydrogen fluoride. The result is, of course, uranium tetrafluoride and UF4. And it is of reduced iron with the uranium calcium or magnesium. Does Iran these technologies is unclear. Probably not.

But the main technology of obtaining nuclear weapons is particularly enriching uranium to 90%. Without this, all other technologies do not matter. But the performance is set to gas centrifuge process the loss of raw materials, equipment reliability, and a whole variety of reasons, which says nothing about Iran, the IAEA is silent, silent exploration of different states

Because it makes sense to find out more with the process of uranium enrichment. Look at the history of the issue. Try to understand where there centrifuges in Iran that they are like. And why Iran was able to make centrifuge enrichment, and the United States, spending billions of dollars, have not been able to achieve this. In the United States under state contracts enrich uranium for gaseous diffusion plants, which is many times more expensive.

Create untwisted

In natural uranium-238 contained only 0.7% of the radioactive isotope uranium-235, and to build an atomic bomb to uranium-235 content of 90%. That's why the technology of fissile materials are a major step in the development of atomic weapons.

What method can distinguish the lighter atoms of uranium-235 from the mass of uranium-238? After all, the difference between them a total of three "atomic unity". There are four main ways of separation (enrichment) magnetic separation, gas diffusion method, centrifuge and laser. The most optimum and a cheap — centrifuge. Per unit of product it needs 50 times less electricity than the gaseous diffusion method of enrichment.

Inside the centrifuge with indescribable speed spinning rotor — a glass, a piped gas. Centrifugal force pushes against the walls more languid fraction containing uranium-238. The lighter U-235 molecules are going closer to the axis. In addition, a special method inside of the rotor creates a counter. With this lighter molecules are going to fall, and languishing at the top. In the glass of the rotor at different depths omitted tube. According to a lighter fraction is pumped to follow centrifuge. On the other depleted uranium hexafluoride is pumped to the "tail" or "dumping", in other words, taken out of the process, is pumped into special containers and sails away for safekeeping. In fact, this waste radioactivity is lower than that of natural uranium.

One of the technological tricks — temperature conditions. Uranium hexafluoride is a gas at temperatures above 56.5 degrees. For the effective separation of isotopes in a centrifuge to maintain a certain temperature. What? Information is classified. As well as information on the pressure of the gas inside the centrifuge.

As the temperature decreases hexafluoride is liquefied and then completely "dry up" — goes into the hard state. Because the barrels of the "tails" are stored in the open air. After all, there are never warmed up to 56.5 degrees. And even if you punch a hole in the barrel, the gas out of it evaporates. In the worst case vysypletsya little yellowish powder, if anyone strong enough to overturn the capacity of 2.5 cu. m

The height of the Russian centrifuge approximately 1 meter. They are collected in stages of 20 pieces. The shop located in three tiers. A total of 700,000 centrifuges shop. The duty engineer rides a bike along the tiers. Uranium hexafluoride is in the process of separation, which politicians and the media refer to enrichment, runs the entire chain of hundreds of thousands of centrifuges. The rotors of centrifuges spinning at 1500 revolutions per second. Yes, yes, fifteen hundred revolutions per second, not a minute. For comparison: the speed of modern dental drills — 500, a maximum of 600 revolutions per second. With all this at Russian factories rotors revolve without annoying 30 years. Record — over 32 years. Reliability mind-boggling! Mean time between failures — 0.1%. One failure per 1 thousand centrifuges a year.

Because of the ultra-reliable, we only started in 2012, the substitution of centrifuges fifth and sixth generations of the ninth-generation devices. Because let well seek out. But they have already fulfilled three decades, it's time to give way to a more productive. An old centrifuges spinning at subcritical speeds, in other words, lower than the rate at which they can go racing. But the ninth-generation devices operate at speeds supercriticality — are terrible line and further work regularly. No disk imaging on new centrifuges not allowed to photograph them, so as not decipher size. One can only assume that they have a common meter size and speed of about 2000 revolutions per second.

Neither bearing such rate not survive. Because the rotor ends with a needle, which is based on corundum pad. A higher part spinning in a constant magnetic field, generally with what is not in contact. And even in the earthquake did not happen with the destruction of the rotor runout. Tested.

Tip: Russian low-enriched uranium to fuel nuclear reactors parts three times cheaper than that produced by zabugornyh gaseous diffusion plants. It is about price, not the co

600 MWe per kilogram

When, during the second World War, the United States launched the creation of the atomic bomb program there, centrifugal isotope separation method was chosen as a promising method of making success of highly enriched uranium. But technological difficulties could not be overcome. And the Americans irritably declared unenforceable centrifugation. And the world thought so, until you have known that the Russian Union of centrifuges revolve, and how revolve.

In the U.S., when abandoned centrifuges, it was decided to use for uranium-235, the gas diffusion. It is based on the property of gas molecules with different specific gravities different diffuse (seep) through the porous walls (filters). Uranium hexafluoride Gonet turn over very long stage of diffusion steps. Smaller molecules of uranium-235 is easily penetrated through the filters, their concentration in the total weight of the gas increases uniformly. It is clear that to obtain a 90% concentration of the number of steps should be in the tens or hundreds of thousands.

For the average of the process gas is required to heat the entire chain, maintaining a certain level of pressure. And at each step of the pump must work. All it asks for large energy costs. How big? On the first Russian production of the separation to produce 1 kg of enriched uranium suitable concentration required to spend 600,000 kWh of electricity. I draw your attention — Apt.

Even at the moment in France gaseous diffusion plant is almost completely consumes the production of 3 blocks built near nuclear power plants. The Yankees have any personal Tipo entire industry, had to specially build a municipal electric power station, that at a special rate to feed gaseous diffusion plant. This power plant so far by the state, and as before spetstarif uses.

In the Russian Union in 1945, it was decided to build a plant for the production of highly enriched uranium. And immediately expand the development of the gas diffusion process for the separation of isotopes. Parallel to begin designing and manufacturing of industrial plants. Besides all this should have been done which had no analogue system automation, control and instrumentation of a new type, resistant to brutal Wednesdays materials, bearings, lubricants, vacuum systems and much more. All Comrade Stalin gave two years.

Terms mystical, and, of course, two years later the result was close to zero. How can you build a factory, if you have no matter how technical documentation? How to develop technical documentation, even if it is not clear what kind of equipment will be there? How to design a gaseous diffusion plant, it is not clear if the pressure, the temperature of uranium hexafluoride? So how will behave this brutal substance in contact with various metals, is also not known.

To all these questions the answers were already in use. In April 1948, in one of the cities in the Urals nuclear earned the first phase of the plant from 256 separating machines. With the increase of the chain of machines increased and prepyadstviya. Namely, hundreds of wedges bearing grease flowed. A special department has disorganized the work and their volunteer assistants intensively seeking pests.

Brutal uranium hexafluoride, coming into contact with metal equipment, decayed, the compounds of uranium deposits on the interior surface of the unit. For this reason, it was not possible to obtain the desired concentration of 90 percent uranium-235. Significant losses in a multi-separation system was not allowed to have a concentration higher than 40-55%. New devices were designed in 1949 to begin work. But to reach a level equal to 90% of all failed by only 75%. First Russian atomic bomb was a plutonium because, like the Yankees.

Uranium hexafluoride-235 sent out to another company, where he was brought up to the required 90% of the way to magnetic separation. In a magnetic field, and the lighter particles are deflected languid differently. Because of this separation occurs. Unhurried and expensive process. Exceptionally in 1951 was tested first Russian bomb with a composite plutonium-uranium charge.

Meanwhile, a new plant was built with better equipment. Corrosion loss was reduced to such an extent that from November 1953 to combine continuous began to produce 90% of the product. At this time, was assimilated commercial development in the processing of uranium hexafluoride oxide uranium. She then separated from the iron uranium.

Especially for the power plant was built by the Upper Tagil state district power station with capacity of 600 MW. A common difficulty in plant consumes 3% of the total produced in 1958 at the Russian Union of Electricity.

In 1966, the Russian gas diffusion plant began to dismantle, and in 1971, eliminated altogether. His replacement filters come centrifuge.


In the Russian Union of centrifuges were built back in the 1930s. And here they are, as in the United States, were declared hopeless. Appropriate studies have closed. But here's to you one of the paradoxes of Stalinist Russia. In the fertile Sukhumi weaving German prisoners of engineers working on different neuvvyazkami, including worked to develop the centrifuge. He headed this direction is one of the managing company "Siemens" Dr. Max Steenbeck, the group stopped by the Luftwaffe engineer and a graduate of the Vienna Institute Gernot Zippe.

Uranium enrichment: Iran managed to master the technologies that are not available for the U.S.
Students in Isfahan running cleric prayers express their support for Iran's nuclear programs from

But the work came to a standstill. Found a way out of the impasse Russian engineer Victor Sergeev — 31-year-old designer of the Kirov factory, engaged in centrifuges. Since a party meeting assured the audience that centrifuge — Is promising. And the decision of the party meeting, not CC or Stalin himself had begun the development of a proper KB plant. Sergeyev has collaborated with the Germans captured and shared with them his own thought. Steenbeck later wrote: "The idea is worthy to come from us! But to me, it had not occurred. " A Russian designer to come — relying on the needle and the magnetic field.

In 1958, the first industrial centrifuge creation came for the design capacity. A few months later, it was decided to gradually change to this method of separating uranium. Already the first generation of centrifuges consumed electricity is 17 times smaller than the gaseous diffusion machine.

But for all that was found severe disadvantage — the fluidity of the metal at tremendous speeds. Joseph decided the problem of academic Fridlyander under management was created a unique fusion of V96ts which is several times stronger than steel weapons. Currently, the production of centrifuges used more composite materials.

Max Steenbeck returned to East Germany and became vice-president of the Academy. A Gernot Zippe in 1956, went to the West. There, he was surprised to find that no one is using the centrifugal method. He patented the centrifuge and the Yankees offered. But they have already decided that the utopian idea. Only 15 years later, when it became clear that the Soviet Union is all uranium enrichment centrifuges in Europe have implemented a patent Zippe.

In 1971 he was created concern URENCO, owned by the three European countries — Britain, the Netherlands and Germ
any. Shares the concern is equally divided between countries.

The British government is in control of a third of its shares means the office Enrichment Holdings Limited. The Government of the Netherlands — a means of Ultra-Centrifuge Nederland Limited. German fraction of shares owned by the company Uranit UK Limited, shares of which are, in turn, are divided equally between the companies RWE and E.ON. The central office is located URENCO in England. At the current time, concern owns more than 12% of the commercial supply of nuclear fuel for nuclear power plants.

But the identity of the method acts URENCO centrifuge design are fundamentally different. This is explained by the fact that Herr Zippe was familiar only with an experienced prototype manufactured in Sukhumi. If the Russian centrifuge just a meter in height, the European company started with a two-meter, and machines of the latest generation grew up in a column of 10 meters. And this is not the limit.

Americans, in which all the hugest in the world, built a machine height of 12 meters and 15 meters. Only their factory closed down, unable to open, in 1991. The reasons they timidly silent, but they are known — the tragedy and imperfect technology. In general, the U.S. is working centrifuge plant, owned by URENCO. Implements fuel the South American plant.

Centrifuges whose better? Longish machine to order more productive malehankih Russian. Longish run on supercriticality speeds. In the 10-meter-high column going across the bottom of the molecule containing uranium-235, and above — uranium-238. Hexafluoride is pumped from the bottom of a subsequent centrifuge. Longish centrifuges in the process chain requires many times less. But, when it comes to the price of production, maintenance and repair, the numbers are reversed.


Russian uranium to fuel nuclear reactors cheaper parts zabugornogo. So it takes 40% of the world market. Half of U.S. nuclear power plants running on Russian uranium. Export orders bring the Russian Federation for more than 3 billion. dollars in year.

But back to Iran. Judging from the photos, there's enrichment centrifuge manufacture the two-meter URENCO first generation. Where did Iran? From Pakistan. And where did Pakistan? From URENKO, vestimo.

History popular. Moderate Pakistani national, Abdul Qadeer Khan had learned in Europe on a metallurgical engineer, he defended his doctorate and took enough highest post in URENCO. In 1974, India tested a nuclear device in 1975, Dr. Khan has returned home with a bag of secrets, and became a father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb.

According to some reports, three thousand centrifuges, Pakistan was able to acquire in the concern URENCO through front office. Later they began to buy accessories. A Dutch companion Khan knew all suppliers and contributed URENCO procurement. Purchased valves, pumps, motors and other parts of which were going to the centrifuge. Something began to establish themselves evenly, buying the proper materials of construction.

Since Pakistan is not rich enough to squander 10s billion dollars to the production cycle of nuclear weapons, equipment began to create and sell. The first buyer was the DPRK. Then he started to arrive and the petrodollars of Iran. There is reason to believe that there was also implicated in China, supplying Iran with uranium hexafluoride and technology of its production and dekonversii.

In 2004, Dr. Khan after a meeting with President Musharraf went on television and publicly repented of selling nuclear technology over the limit. So Makarov took control of Pakistan to blame for illegal export to Iran and North Korea. Since then, he is in a comfortable house arrest criteria. And Iran and North Korea continue to increase the separation of power.

On what I would like to direct attention. Reports IAEA constantly refers to the number of working and non-working centrifuges in Iran. From what we can assume that the machines are made in Iran, even with the use of imported devices have a lot of technical problems. Maybe most of them never work.

In the URENCO first generation centrifuges also presented a nasty surprise to their creators. Could not manage to obtain the concentration of uranium-235 is higher than 60%. To overcome the difficulties in handy a couple of years. What neuvvyazkami faced in Pakistan, Dr. Khan, we do not know. But having begun the study and creation in 1975, the first uranium bomb Pakistan tested only in 1998. Iran is almost exclusively at the beginning of this arduous journey.

Highly enriched uranium is considered that the content of the isotope-235 exceeds 20%. Iran has blamed what he produces highly specific 20-percent uranium. But this is not true. Iran receives uranium hexafluoride containing uranium-235 to 19.75%, so even though in the case of a percent does not cross the forbidden line. Particularly that of uranium enrichment is used for the research reactor, built the Yankees still under the Shah's regime. But for 30 years they have finished feeding him fuel.

Here, in general, there is also the problem. In Isfahan, built on the production line dekonversii hexafluoride of uranium enriched to 19.75% in uranium oxide. But while it is tested only for a fraction of 5%. Although installed back in 2011. One can only imagine the difficulties that will be expected of Iranian engineers, if it comes to a 90-percent grade uranium.

In May 2012, an anonymous employee of the IAEA shared with reporters information that concentrating production in Iran, IAEA inspectors found traces of uranium enriched to 27%. But in the quarterly report of the international organization is not a word on the subject. It is also unclear what is meant by the word "traces". It is possible that it was just stuffing negative disk imaging as part of the information war. Perhaps trace — is scraped particles of uranium, which upon contact of the metal hexafluoride turned into tetrafluoride and donkey as a greenish powder. And turned into production loss.

Even in the best production URENCO loss can reach 10% of the total. With all this light 235 enters into the corrosion reaction by their own rather less mobile fellow-238. How much uranium hexafluoride lost at enrichment on Iranian centrifuges, we can only guess. But you can bet that there are a lot of loss.


Industrial division (enrichment) of uranium is in a good 10-ke States. The reason is the same as declared by Iran: independence of imported supplies of fuel for nuclear reactors. The issue of strategic importance, as it is about energy security of the country. With the cost in such areas is not listed.

In the main, these companies are owned by URENCO or buy from the same group centrifuge. Russian Machines fifth and sixth generation equipped enterprises built in the 1990s in China. Naturally inquisitive Chinese dismantled standards on the cog and made entirely the same. But there is in some of these centrifuges Russian secret that is not something that is played back, even realize what it is, no one can. Do not operate the absolute copy, however hard you try.

All those tons of enriched uranium to Iran, which scare zabugornye tradesman, and of the Russian media, in fact are tons of uranium hexafluoride. Based on available data, Iran has not even come close to the production of iron uranium. And, it seems, is not going to deal with this issue in the coming future. For all calculations, as bombs are able to make Tehran from the existing uranium stupid. You can not make a nuclear explosive device from the hexafluoride, even if it will be able to bring up to 90% uranium-235.

A couple of years back the two Russian physicist inspected Iran's nuclear facilities. Secret mission at the request of the Russian side. But, judging by the fact that the management and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation is not af
filiated with the address allegations of Iran, the danger of the creation of nuclear weapons Tehran was not found.

Meanwhile, the U.S. and Israel are constantly threatened by bombing Iran, a country with economic sanctions hassle trying this method to delay its development. A total return. For 30 years, the Islamic Republic of sanctions turned into an industrial raw material. Then make their fighter jets, submarines and a host of other modern weapons. And well aware that only holds back the potential of armed aggressor.

When North Korea conducted an underground nuclear explosion, the tone of the negotiations it has changed dramatically. It is unclear what device blew up. And if it was a real nuclear explosion or charge "burnt out" as a chain reaction would continue milliseconds, and it is suspected that she had lingering. In other words, there was a release of radioactive products, and the explosion itself was not.

Same story with the North Korean intercontinental missiles. Twice they ran, and both times all ended in tragedy. Of course, that they can not fly and are unlikely when they could. Not a poor DPRK respective technologies, industries, training, scientific laboratories. But most of the war and the bombing of Pyongyang does not threaten. And it sees the world. And make reasonable conclusions.

Brazil has announced that he wants to build a nuclear submarine. Just like that, just in case. If tomorrow someone will not like a Brazilian manager and he wants to change it?

Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi wants to come back to the question of the development of its programs from Egypt, the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Mursi made the announcement in Beijing, speaking to the favorites of living in China Egyptian community. With all this Egyptian President referred to nuclear energy "clean energy." West to this effect has remained silent.

In the Russian Federation have the chance to do a joint venture with Egypt for the enrichment of uranium. Then sharply increase the chances that nuclear power plants will be built here by Russian projects. A discussion of the likely Tipo nuclear bombs leave the conscience of mercenaries information warfare.

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