Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 08, 2011

"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:

[17] (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 13:43 UTC | Permalink


I think there's something more fundamental and more sinister to all of this.
Think cultural genocide in Iraq. Think arabs and muslims are retarded and always need 'outside help' for any kind of technological advancement. it was hinted at in both articles.

the white man in the 3-piece suit wants us 'backward' arabs and muslims to rely on him for anything. he wants to ride the wave of islamic awakening to liberalize our markets for his corporations and his big tech companies and his bechtels and KBRs and balfour beatty. not iranian construction companies, or south american companies, or african companies.

how often do you see iranian scientific achievements published in news papers? does the world even know we're the most advanced middle eastern (if not asian) nation in nanotechnology and stem cell research? we're sending our OWN satellites to space? robotics? all home-grown and educated IRANIAN scientists. exchange of ideas and knowhow happens of course, that's the whole point of a brotherly advancement for the benefit of humanity.

Posted by: aka | Nov 8 2011 15:17 utc | 1

@aka you have raised very good points. You forgot one which is the amount of women nuclear scientists. Iran has the highest I believe working full time in this field. Now if it was not for some religious mullahs bigotry the women should be head of the projects.

Posted by: hans | Nov 8 2011 20:11 utc | 2

religious mullah bigotry? this is another typical racist bigoted comment regurgitated from the MSM. what religious bigotry are you talking about? you think our religious scholars are power hungry corrupt idiots? have you seen how the supreme Leader Khamenai lives? have you bothered to read even one published book by one of the 'religious mullah bigots'? they are scholars of the most respected seminaries in the muslim world. they are students of Ibn Sina, Al Farabi, Mulla Sadra, Imam Khomeini and many more.

we have women members of parliament. we have women religious scholars. there are no restrictions on women aiming for high positions in any field. women have more rights in the Islamic Republic than most western countries.

Posted by: aka | Nov 8 2011 22:36 utc | 3

Very interesting article.

Posted by: V18 | Nov 9 2011 15:11 utc | 4

How often do you see iranian scientific achievements published in news papers?

Whatever they do or achieve is not (generally, and by now, at all) published in academic or so called mainstream, reputed journals, which are mostly in English.

The US threatens to prosecute both journals and translators as well as co-authors, of course, for collaborating with Iran. (1) The academic plus engineering etc. community has given up its few small efforts towards inclusiveness as they are not armed to deal with ruination or worse for one or another of their members. None have taken any kind of principled stance. Translators ‘from the Persian’ have knocked it from their qualifications and struggle to get another B-language on their CVs.

Journalists reports of scientific achievement are for 97% dependent on scientific articles in the mainstream journals, and they pick their ‘news’ from aggregate sites and blogs.

1. There have been a few cases that can be found on the internet.

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 9 2011 15:56 utc | 5

Mullaha and IRI killing Iranians (many students and Scientists among them), is NOT a racist statement, quit using this IRI/Islamist victim mentality. Maybe some people (mostly the left) fall for it, but they they should come and talk to people in Iran. Many were killed in 2009 and many many more are still in jail, for opposing barbaric IRI and the Mullahs you are defending. Yes there are many smart scientists and engineers here in Iran, including many women, DESPITE the wishes of the your Mullahs. Iran could be one of the most advanced countries in the Middle East, but unfortunately except for number of Executions (Iran has the highest per capita executions in the world) Iran is much more backwards (economically and freedom wise) compared to even smaller countries in the region. Save the IRI propaganda about scientific advances for the IRI TV news. Big deal about the satellite and other junk chinese-copied weapons IRI shows off. Bangladesh send its own Satellite. Iran is much more behind countries such as South Korea and Turkey, which 30 years ago (before Terrorist IRI and barbaric Islam comes to power) were about the same level of advancement

Posted by: yek Irani | Nov 11 2011 16:42 utc | 6

South Korea and Turkey are helped technologically by The USA While Iran is self reliant and yet very advanced in all fields.

For the mullahs at least they do not go for little kids, since these are highly ethical people.

for the opposition in Iran,this comes mostly from homosexual lobbies in the world and western media influence on the youth to follow their wrong path of sexual freedom (sinful in religion and shameful in secularism) in the name of liberty. It doesn't work in the west (look at the divorce rates) and they want to export it which is irrational.

Posted by: DB | Nov 28 2011 15:39 utc | 7

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