IRAN HAS SIMULATED NUCLEAR EXPLOSIVES

Washington Times on November 27, 2012, published an AP report that Iranian scientists have run computer simulations for a nuclear weapon that would produce more than triple the explosive force of the World War II bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, according to a diagram obtained by The Associated Press. Excerpts below:

The diagram was leaked by officials from a country critical of Iran’s atomic program to bolster their arguments that Iran’s nuclear research must be halted before it produces a weapon. The officials provided the diagram only on condition that they and their country not be named.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) — the Vienna-based U.N. nuclear watchdog — reported last year that it had obtained diagrams indicating that Iran was calculating the “nuclear explosive yield” of potential weapons.

The diagram seen by the AP shows a bell curve with variables of time in micro-seconds, and power and energy in kilotons — the traditional measurement of the energy output, and hence the destructive power of nuclear weapons.

The curve peaks at just above 50 kilotons at around 2 microseconds, reflecting the full force of the weapon being modeled.

The bomb that the United States dropped on Hiroshima during World War II, in comparison, had a force of about 15 kilotons. Modern nuclear weapons have yields hundreds of times higher than that.

Iran’s critics fear it could use the enriched uranium for military purposes.

Such concerns grew this month when the IAEA said Iran is poised to double its output of higher-enriched uranium at its fortified underground facility — a development that could put Tehran within months of being able to make the core of a nuclear warhead.

In reporting on the existence of the diagrams last year, the IAEA said it had obtained them from two member nations that it did not identify.

Other diplomats have said that Israel and the United States — the countries most concerned about Iran’s nuclear program — have supplied the bulk of intelligence being used by the IAEA in its investigation.

“The application of such studies to anything other than a nuclear explosive is unclear to the agency,” the IAEA said at the time.

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