"Nuclear Iran" Allegations: The Scary "R265 generator" Is Just Old Stuff
Yesterday we looked at a The Washington Post piece on Iran's alleged nuclear activities and found that two pieces of alleged "evidence" for illegitimate nuclear work, the cooperation with the Ukrainian scientist Vyacheslav Danilenko and the reported pictures of a detonation tank in Iran fit much better with Iran's program to create nanodiamonds by detonation than with anything nuclear.
There is another scary bit of "evidence" mentioned in that WaPo article and I will show below that this is not only old information but also quite murky stuff:
According to Albright, one key breakthrough that has not been publicly described was Iran’s success in obtaining design information for a device known as an R265 generator. The device is a hemispherical aluminum shell with an intricate array of high explosives that detonate with split-second precision. These charges compress a small sphere of enriched uranium or plutonium to trigger a nuclear chain reaction.
Creating such a device is a formidable technical challenge, and Iran needed outside assistance in designing the generator and testing its performance, Albright said.
1. What is specifically an "R265 generator"? Can it kill me?
2. Iran "obtained design information" is one issue but did Iran actually build such a thing? From the second paragraph one might assume that because testing something would probably necessitate to have the object available. But why then is the first paragraph quoted then only about "obtained design information" not about producing it?
In a Guardian story Julian Borger today confirms at least some part of yesterdays analysis here and now points out the relation of nanodiamonds to Danilenko. Funny how that didn't occur in Borger's piece yesterday or any earlier pieces by him. He claims to have known Danielenko's name since 2009 but only today, after I published on it, he mentions nanodiamonds. Doesn't he know how to use Google or did he keep that information from his readers only to weasel it out now?
But today he also adds, like WaPo based on Albright, a bit about that scary "R265 generator":
One of the biggest areas of concern for the IAEA is evidence that Iranian scientists have conducted research on hemispherical arrays of explosives, of a type used in the construction of nuclear weapons to crush a spherical core of fissile material and thereby trigger a chain reaction.
The central evidence for the research is a five-page document outlining experiments with the device, codenamed the R265 because it has a 265mm radius, but the UN inspectors are said to have gathered other corroborating evidence.
1. The "R262" name seems to more of a joke than a specific type like the WaPo piece lets one assume. It simply has a radius of 265mm and that is what gives the name. Still we are left with the "generator" part and the question what it is supposed to "generate".
2. There is nothing about a "a hemispherical aluminum shell" in Borger's piece, just "hemispherical arrays of explosives". Where does that aluminum in the WaPo story come from? Is that the "corroborating evidence" Borger mentions?
3. Borger says the document is "outlining experiments with the device" and is not only "design information". Which is it?
In a 2009 piece (as we already said - nothing new here) Borger described the device about the same way he does today. He also points to an older IAEA report as the real description.
The IAEA described (pdf) the five-page document even earlier in its May 26 2008 report on Iran:
A. Documents shown to Iran in connection with the alleged studies
A.2. High Explosives Testing
Document 3: Five page document in English describing experimentation undertaken with a complex multipoint initiation system to detonate a substantial amount of high explosive in hemispherical geometry and to monitor the development of the detonation wave in that high explosive using a considerable number of diagnostic probes.
This is again mentioned in a September 2008 report by the agency:
 (d) With reference to the document describing experimentation in connection with symmetrical initiation of a hemispherical high explosive charge suitable for an implosion type nuclear device, Iran has stated that there have been no such activities in Iran. Since the Director General’s previous report, the Agency has obtained information indicating that the experimentation described in this document may have involved the assistance of foreign expertise. Iran has been informed of the details of this information and has been asked to clarify this matter.
So according to the IAEA Iran has not tested the hemispheric charge but the five-page document describes experimentation. The "corroborating evidence" mentioned in the second IAEA report is that it "may have involved the assistance of foreign expertise." Could that "assistance of foreign expertise"that "may" have been involved be a hint to the expert for detonation nanodiamonds Vyacheslav Danilenko?
In late September 2008 Iran responded (pdf) to the "Alleged Studies" documents it had been shown:
An Assessment of So-called “Alleged Studies”Islamic
Republic of Iran - September 2008
In spite of the fact that the so called alleged studies documents had not been delivered to Iran, the Islamic Republic of Iran carefully examined all the materials which have been prepared in power point presentations by the US and provided to the IAEA, and informed the Agency of its assessment.
The Agency has not delivered to Iran any official and authentic document which contained documentary evidence related to Iran with regard to the alleged studies.
The document which the Agency is considering it as an important document regarding alleged studies and referring to it in paragraph 17D of the September 2008 report, is document 18 [in the power point presentation].
There is no evidence or indication in this document regarding its linkage to Iran or its preparation by Iran.
It even does not contain one single word in Persian. The document does only contain some English words and 3 hand-drawn graphs drawn by the Agency.
The said document is shown in order to be judged by the public opinion whether it is fair to make accusation against a country merely on the basis of such a document?!
Iran requested the agency to publish the five-page document so it can be seen and judged by everyone. It may be Iran will get lucky tomorrow and the IAEA will publish it.
From the above I conclude:
There is nothing really knew in the recent allegations in WaPo and other media. They have been in IAEA reports all along and come from files on the dubious "laptop of death" which the U.S. got from somewhere, allegedly inside Iran, and showed the IAEA even back in 2005. Iran rejects the documents on that laptop as false which they probably are.
There is one question that is still open in the above: Where does that "aluminum shell" in the recent WaPo report come from? It is not in other report I am aware of.
Posted by b on November 8, 2011 at 08:43 AM | Permalink
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