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NRC Accused of Ignoring Proliferation Risks With SILEX Enrichment

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the an-enrichment-facility-with-a-freaking-laser dept.

Power 128

Harperdog writes "Scott Kemp has a disturbing look at SILEX, a new technology that 'happens to be well suited for making nuclear weapons.' There are many disturbing aspects the this article, not least that the NRC, which is required to consider the critical question of proliferation, has so far punted when it comes to examining that question. 'The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has refused to consider the proliferation risk in its decision to issue a license for the first commercial SILEX facility, despite a statutory obligation to do so. Only a few weeks remain for Congress to intervene.'" Not everyone agrees that SILEX poses a real proliferation threat. Kind of a shame that its environmental benefits (lower power consumption and a smaller waste stream than existing processes) are what increase the proliferation risk.

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Put the Genie back in the bottle (4, Insightful)

AB3A (192265) | about 2 years ago | (#40827111)

So what are they supposed to do, make a law against using this technology? Yeah, that will work --NOT!

Re:Put the Genie back in the bottle (5, Funny)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | about 2 years ago | (#40827225)

Nuke it from orbit! It's the... oh wait.

Re:Put the Genie back in the bottle (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#40827335)

Dead on.

Technology, once discovered, will be used. Law or no law. As long as there is someone wanting it, someone will produce it and sell it. Welcome to the free market. Worked every time, even for communist states.

The only sensible thing to do now is to make sure we stay ahead, and monitor where technology and resources needed to reproduce it go.

Re:Put the Genie back in the bottle (2)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about 2 years ago | (#40827429)

"...monitor where technology and resources needed to reproduce it go."

That's the problem. This technology would not be easily tracked or monitored. Enriching uranium is the stepping stone to making bombs. The US is already up in arms over Iran's uranium enrichment program. US claims it's for bombs, Iran claims it's for energy. How do you verify?

Perhaps you should do some research.

Re:Put the Genie back in the bottle (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40827453)

You don't verify. Iran as a state is not a huge nuclear weapons threat. The real fear is someone selling these weapons to non-state actors.

States fear MAD, non-state actors have no such concerns.

Re:Put the Genie back in the bottle (1)

Sarius64 (880298) | about 2 years ago | (#40827873)

Trying to fathom the statement, "Iran as a state is not a huge nuclear weapons threat". Can we get some milestones for a comparison of what is a recognized "huge nuclear weapons threats"? Can we make sure Iran kills you and yours first so we have a use case?

Re:Put the Genie back in the bottle (1)

durrr (1316311) | about 2 years ago | (#40828051)

Russia is huge.
China is huge.
India is huge.
the US is huge.
They are all recognized to have nuclear weapons.
The nation most likely to kill me is probably the US through some intelligence failure combined with a drone strike.

So the US is a huge nuclear-armed threat to my life.

Re:Put the Genie back in the bottle (2)

EdIII (1114411) | about 2 years ago | (#40833653)

So the US is a huge nuclear-armed threat to my life.

Hardly .

You might be struck with something non-nuclear. Maybe all the way up to a MOAB, but that is extremely doubtful. Whatever a drone strike could pull off.

When the poster mentioned that state actors fear MAD, what he really means is that State actors are going to consider consequences a hell of lot more rationally, and thoroughly before acting. The US would have to be pushed severely before using nuclear anything. Especially, when nuclear has such severe long lasting consequences and there are so many other options.

Non-state actors have no such concerns beyond the present need. Most of the time we are talking about mentally unstable sociopaths that justify their actions in whatever way they want. If that Holmes guy had access to nuclear technology he would have used it. Terrorists are not so different because their primary interest is causing widespread fear and instability in societies to bully them into compliance with their demands. The group usually does not want to die, but they are far more tolerant of losses than state actors.

I was not worried about Iraq having nuclear weapons because, and we know this now, it would have been nigh impossible for Saddam to have ordered a strike. His government would not have complied with those wishes. His sons were true gangsters, but they would not have used nuclear either. Too many people in the chain.

North Korea was far more concerning because of the ideological indoctrination that everyone receives there. They could honestly believe that nuclear aggression might be their last option. However, because we know how much corruption there is over there with their incredibly faithful reenactment of The Animal Farm, it is not likely that the upper echelons would truly risk anything that would endanger their standards of living.

Iran is only slightly concerning because of their religious nature and ongoing war with Israel, but is just as doubtful that they would truly use nuclear weapons. Seriously, Iran is just way too close to Israel. Their own populations would be just as affected.

As for the US.... while it may be true the President can order a strike we all damn well know if we were not at Defcon 1 the chances of the order being followed are near zero. So many people in that chain are rational people. Unless they also felt threatened, or that there was an extremely good reason, they probably would not comply. There would need to be some consensus amongst thousands of individuals involved in that chain for any hope of a nuclear strike to commence.

Quickest way for the President to be removed from office and committed for psych eval? Order a nuclear strike out of nowhere, or specifically at "that durrr butthead on Slashdot".

You're not under any nuclear threat from the US. The biggest threat from the US is the Intellectual Property legislation and bullshit coming from our corporations. You need to be afraid of that threat to your liberty first.

Re:Put the Genie back in the bottle (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40828203)

Comparisons would be people who have used them before, the USA, people lying about having them already, Israel, and those who are not state actors, terror groups.

Iran like all state actors has MAD to keep them from doing anything to crazy. I was not suggesting Iran was a nice country, merely that like all state actors they are not the ones we should be worried about.

Iran will not be killing any westerners soon, so no worries about making sure they get me first.

Re:Put the Genie back in the bottle (2)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | about 2 years ago | (#40829295)

Just a small point, Israel doesn't lie. It explicitly does not comment on whether or not they have nuclear weapons and officially they do not inform the United States of whether or not they have nuclear weapons. They do it this way because it allows them to interact with the US without breaking our NPT duties while simultaneously not lying about whether they have nuclear weapons, which would break our NPT duties.

So they don't lie. And, in fact, they don't even pretend not to have nukes. They just refuse to comment.

Re:Put the Genie back in the bottle (1)

Sarius64 (880298) | about 2 years ago | (#40830459)

Well, TBF, Israel lied quite a bit about the USS Liberty.

Re:Put the Genie back in the bottle (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | about 2 years ago | (#40830635)

Sorry, let me clarify, "Israel does not lie about its nuclear capabilities." I thought the context was obvious but I was, of course, mistaken.

Re:Put the Genie back in the bottle (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40830597)

So fine, they refuse to comment on the state of their nuclear weapons program. Which still makes them more of threat to safety than countries that admit they have nukes. Unknowns are bad for peace.

Re:Put the Genie back in the bottle (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | about 2 years ago | (#40830655)

Except that they're not an unknown. Everyone knows they have nukes. In fact if they were to admit they had nukes outside the NPT I think that would cause more disruption than continuing their no-comment stance since the UN would be forced to start messing with them over the fact.

Re:Put the Genie back in the bottle (2)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 2 years ago | (#40832389)

Why would the UN have to get involved? Israel isn't a signatory of the NPT and isn't bound by its provisions. The major assistance it got happened prior to 1968 (when the NPT was signed) when the Dimona reactor was being built by the French. Israel might have helped South Africa with its program, but South Africa didn't sign the NPT until 1991.

I think the Israelis have been very careful to ensure technical compatibility with other nations' signing status. They've got plenty of bright people (and some of them are spies) so could very well have developed the technology more or less on their own.

Re:Put the Genie back in the bottle (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | about 2 years ago | (#40832751)

The UN would have to look very closely at the US if Israel admitted to having nuclear weapons.

Re:Put the Genie back in the bottle (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 years ago | (#40830943)

Iran will not be killing any westerners soon.

Really? Who do you think was shooting at western troops in Iraq? Iran may not have uniformed troops in country pulling triggers, but they sure where supplying the means and knowledge (if not the people at times) doing it. The same is true in Afghanistan now.

Perhaps it is just rhetoric, but Iran and other nations in the area has publicly *said* what they intend to do. Some these countries have previously tried to wipe Israel off the map before and failed. Why do you now think that MAD is going to stop Iran from using a nuclear device once it has one?

I suggest that it is stupid to ignore what they are saying they are going to do if we believe them capable of actually doing what they claim. If that means we take military action based on threats they didn't intend to follow though on, then the fools are the ones who made the empty threats.

Re:Put the Genie back in the bottle (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#40830899)

For someone like Iran to hit the USA with even a single nuke they are gonna need rockets a HELL of a lot better than what they have now, which are basically just upgrades to the old Soviet Scud. Now Iran could hit Israel with a nuke Scud possibly, not even 50/50 since a nuke is heavier than the typical payload on one of those, but since Israel has enough nukes that the single nuke scud would be met with 50 more advanced bombs that would pretty much wipe Iran completely off the map its not that big of a risk. Sure Imahdajerk likes to work up the crowds but he likes breathing and I seriously doubt he's in a hurry to punch his own ticket, those type of despots usually hang onto life and power like old Dear leader in NK did.

No your bigger threat is the "group with a cause" because frankly they have nothing to lose. they aren't really beholden to a single nation, won't care if building the weapon gives them all fatal doses as they are 'ready to die for the cause' anyway and since they are willing to die for the cause they can just stick the sucker in a Ryder truck and drive the thing to wear they want to go boom.

Look at it THIS way...India and Pakistan hate each others guts, right? Both have nukes, yet how many times have they nuked each other? That would be none, because like it or not MAD works Both know that neither side would "win" anything by an exchange so its simply in their best interest to keep their hatred contained in border exchanges and back and forth than to go nuke. Meanwhile there are religious extremists that believe it requires the start of a massive holy war to call forth the Mahdi who will then save them with magic. Kinda hard to threaten MAD when one side thinks they have a 1000 year old warrior with the magic of Allah on his side.

Re:Put the Genie back in the bottle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40831273)

Here's your milestone/metric, 'proven willingness to drop a nuclear weapon on humans'...

Re:Put the Genie back in the bottle (3, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about 2 years ago | (#40827555)

That's the problem. This technology would not be easily tracked or monitored. Enriching uranium is the stepping stone to making bombs. The US is already up in arms over Iran's uranium enrichment program. US claims it's for bombs, Iran claims it's for energy. How do you verify?

This technology already exists. Please Mr. Genie, go back in the bottle won't you?

Whether or not the NRC gives this tech its official stamp of approval has no bearing on whether or not Iran has already started working on their own SILEX facility. So why the hell shouldn't we benefit from it? The proliferation risk amounts to nothing but an "oops, should have thought of that 25 years ago" footnote to the entire issue.

Re:Put the Genie back in the bottle (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 2 years ago | (#40832397)

Enriching uranium is also used to make power reactor fuel. How do you verify? You inspect the tanks to see if there are traces of a high enough concentration of U-235. Reactor grade fuel has 5% U-235 while weapons grade fuel has 85% although you can make one with 20% concentration.

Re:Put the Genie back in the bottle (1, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#40827433)

If the concern is 'proliferation' and the specific area of concern is a technology that makes it cheaper, easier, and less obvious to enrich fissionables, how exactly does 'staying ahead' help us and how do we monitor where the technology and (minimal resources) go?

In terms of nuclear arms, we already are ahead. Largely by brute-force large scale application of relatively primitive enrichment processes; but ahead nevertheless. That has its virtues in a MAD-style scenario; but doesn't really help us much in countering proliferation.

As for this specific technology, the entire concern is that it makes monitoring considerably more difficult, and the more it is used, the more likely it is that the necessary details of how it works will leak out or be worked out by undesirable parties.

This doesn't change the fact that trying to put it back in the bottle won't really work; but your suggested courses of action don't seem terribly relevant.

Re:Put the Genie back in the bottle (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#40829947)

That is pretty much the problem with WMD tech, isn't it? Once even the idea is out there others WILL figure out a way to implement it, you can't "undo" this anymore than you can unmake the atom bomb.

Personally I'm less worried about this, because frankly building a bomb does at least require a nation state, than I am about biological weapons. There is a HELL of a lot of really fucking nasty bugs out there, plague, anthrax, ebola, that killer flu of 1917, the "scarlet death" that wiped out a dozen cities in Europe in the middle ages and could have wiped the whole thing out if it hadn't been so fucking deadly it wiped out whole towns before the people could flee to the next village, etc. It would probably take a lot less work to get a sample of something nasty and start screwing with it than it would be to get tons of uranium, enrich it, build a working compression explosive, test it, and put the whole thing together. Think about how easy it would be with international air travel for some nut willing to die for his cause to pull a "12 monkeys" and spread something truly vicious halfway around the world?

In any case its a nasty world folks and as we've seen time and time again no matter how much we try to bottle it up all these countries like NK end up being able to get their hands on it. Not saying we shouldn't try but fuck people, if we couldn't stop NK when they were being obvious as hell and using the old tech that could be seen on sats what makes us think we'll have better luck with this?

Putting the Genie down (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about 2 years ago | (#40832763)

Ca 1969-70, Exxon developed laser isotope separation enough to claim over 90% reduction of separation energy expenditure on easily commercializable processes and began preparation for construction of commercial facilities. After the developers made statements about ease, like even in a garage, Exxon was slapped with a weapons proliferation impact statement, a shocking response then. We didn't hear too much about laser isotope separation after that.

The NRC? (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 2 years ago | (#40827113)

You mean a plant here here in the USA? You realize that we already HAVE nuclear weapons, yes? Enough to destroy the entire world a couple times over. How much more proliferationey does it need to be in order to concern you?

Re:The NRC? (5, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#40827151)

I recall some of these debates around breeder reactors [wikipedia.org] (which also have significant dual-use possibilities), and the arguments there were that, although obviously the U.S. already has nuclear weapons, it should nonetheless not use a dual-use-prone technology for its civilian reactors, because doing so: 1) sets a precedent that this is normal civilian nuclear technology and makes it harder to argue against other countries also using it; and 2) may bring the cost down and improve the practicalities so that it's easier for other countries to get one.

Not sure it's a good argument, but I think the arguments around SILEX would be basically the same.

Re:The NRC? (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#40827373)

And noticed how we eventually dealt with breeder reactors? The nuclear treaties surrounding the distribution and use of fissionable material pretty much state that everyone may have what they need but need to allow international supervision that it's only used in power plants and not in nukes. Where's the problem with that? I mean, aside of some being more equal than others...

Re:The NRC? (2)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#40827639)

I for one support the continuous production of highly enriched nuclear material. Enriched nuclear material is not waste, and can be fed back into the reactor to make more energy. We should continue enriching the waste products until we've burned out most of it and have little waste left, though that might take 200,000 years or so. Considering the amount of nuclear material available, we may be able to add fresh material to the pile and have some 70% left over when it comes time for the sun to burn out.

Re:The NRC? (1)

Shoten (260439) | about 2 years ago | (#40832587)

I for one support the continuous production of highly enriched nuclear material. Enriched nuclear material is not waste, and can be fed back into the reactor to make more energy. We should continue enriching the waste products until we've burned out most of it and have little waste left, though that might take 200,000 years or so. Considering the amount of nuclear material available, we may be able to add fresh material to the pile and have some 70% left over when it comes time for the sun to burn out.

I think you're confusing things here. This is about enriching uranium past the point that is necessary for use in a reactor. You don't need (or want) weapons-grade uranium to go into a reactor for peaceful purposes. And in fact, it's WAY harder to get uranium to the point where you can get it to detonate (instead of just heat up and melt) at critical mass...so much so that you need to use entirely different means to get there. So there really isn't a benefit to what you're saying here.

Re:The NRC? (2)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#40833071)

In a reactor, uranium is kept critical. That means it experiences a chain reaction by which neutrons released at high speeds from radioactive decay strike other atoms, causing them to decay and release more neutrons.

In a bomb, uranium is made super-critical. Highly enriched uranium is compressed uniformly by conventional explosives. Metal doesn't compress well, but 4 tons of C4 in an inward-facing spherical shape charge is hard to argue with. The slightest decrease in total volume (increase in density--in this case a UNIFORM increase in density) pushes the uranium (or plutonium) beyond the critical point. Rather than simply chaining, it chains FAST: The outer surface of radioactive material compresses and begins efficiently capturing neutrons. This causes the atoms to break and release neutrons, many of which are directed in ward toward more compressed uranium, which quickly vaporizes in the same way. This creates more and more force due to creating an inward-expanding shell of nuclear explosion event horizon, compressing the metal and blasting it with a large load of released neutrons. In a fraction of a millisecond, the entire mass vaporizes by fission, which is significantly different from any other form of vaporization (for example, being heated until it boils off into metallic gas).

This doesn't happen just 'cause you pulled out the control rods. Trust me. A quick, efficient way to breed good, high-quality fissile material is a good thing; it won't blow up in your reactor. It might be a lot better quality than you really need, but we can always tone things down and just make better-than-good-enough refined nuclear material. If you can get to X, you can get to some point somewhat before X.

Re:The NRC? (1)

hey! (33014) | about 2 years ago | (#40832807)

One of the most important things to know about a technological approach is that it *works*. Once you've demonstrated something works, it becomes much easier to copy the results, even if the specific details are forced to be different (e.g. by intellectual property restraints).

I don't think anyone can say how much building a working, full scale Silex plant will help other to obtain the intelligence they need to develop their own laser enrichment technology. That depends on how much our success depends on secret research done for the project and how much was predicated on the advance of technology in general. However I have no doubt that the knowledge that laser enrichment is actually practical is in itself a heavy blow against non-proliferation. IIRC, once you figure out how to do it, laser enrichment doesn't require the kind of complex industrial infrastructure we've been targeting in Iran. Reduced enrichment costs also make simpler, less efficient weapon design more attractive (like the Hiroshima bomb's "gun-type" warhead).

It makes sense to at least do the analysis of the impact of Silex on proliferation, but I'm not optimistic. The last hope we have to reduce proliferation is political, not technological. That's what we're doing in Iran. We can't stop them from getting enough enriched uranium eventually; we're just kicking the can down the road hoping for a political change to happen before we have to use military force. If we could make this technology part of a solution to energy independence, it might help us in the political dimensions of the problem.

Re:The NRC? (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 2 years ago | (#40832813)

That did not stop other countries from pursuing centrifuge technology. Frankly the US is late to the game. They were so obsessed with that mentality that after the technology was developed by Germans in the Soviet Union and the Soviets released the main German developer back to the West it expanded to other countries without the US ever investing in it because of those so called proliferation concerns. The US only built their centrifuge cascades after Pakistan had theirs for years. The result was more expensive separation for the US than those states nothing else.

The fact is the US, Japan and South Korea worked on laser isotope separation. That line of research (AVLIS) was canceled in the US. Meanwhile in Australia a country which has large uranium reserves and is the leading exporter of uranium despite not having nuclear reactors or being a nuclear weapon state developed SILEX. SILEX is a working laser isotope separation technology which can separate uranium at a low cost. The Australian Government got cold feet and dumped this SILEX research which achieved results on a shoe string budget into the arms of the US Government. There it has been languishing for decades already. Meanwhile the original Australian research company applied the process to silicon separation to produce the high purity silicon wafers used in SOI silicon chip manufacturing and worked on entering other markets which require isotope separation of non-uranium materials.

Re:The NRC? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about 2 years ago | (#40828867)

The US doesn't have enough nukes to destroy an entire 1% of the land area of earth, much less the whole thing multiple times. The damage of nuclear war is vastly over hyped. The world and most of its species will be fine, even humanity won't be extinguished.

Re:The NRC? (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | about 2 years ago | (#40829325)

We can't destroy the /land area/ but we can make the /atmosphere/ inhospitable through fallout and nuclear winter.

Re:The NRC? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about 2 years ago | (#40829609)

No we can not.

Fallout is a limited risk outside the immediate area of a strike, resulting in at most a few percent increase in death rates over the next few decades.

Nuclear winter will not last centuries, or even decades, the worst realistic scenario is that we loose a summer, or far less likely, two summers. We have survived far worse.

Re:The NRC? (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 2 years ago | (#40832981)

You cannot destroy the whole area but you can destroy the majority of the world population. However modern weapons are thermonuclear using fission boosted fusion rather than pure fission devices.

Alternative (4, Insightful)

jbeaupre (752124) | about 2 years ago | (#40827161)

The alternative is to not build a SILEX plant in the US.

And what will the results be? Will no one else build them? If the technical hurdle, as the article claims, is the laser system, and if they are getting easier to produce, then it seems unlikely that no one else will produce a SILEX plant.

Therefore, the danger does not stem from the US building a SILEX plant. It stems from laser research. So why doesn't the article insist we stop researching lasers?

Re:Alternative (2)

sycodon (149926) | about 2 years ago | (#40827313)

The anti-nuke activists, while at the same time decrying coal and gas power plants, will do everything in their power to stall or prevent the development of modern nuclear power technologies. In short, they won't be happy until everyone is sitting in the forest crying for the trees.

Re:Alternative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40827459)

Nah, something else will be "wrong" and they will just ask us to quit breathing as it makes excessive amounts of CO2 until everyone dies.

Re:Alternative (4, Interesting)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about 2 years ago | (#40827793)

The real solution is LFTR reactors.

No more enrichment, ever.
Cheap fuel (currently is a waste product of mining)
No more 100+ Atmosphere pressure vessels to burst
No more backup generators needed
Accidental meltdowns are impossible
Turn reactor on/off in hours/minutes not months
Unable to weaponize any part of fuel or waste.
Needs Uranium only to start the reactor
Creates leukemia fighting medical isotopes
Creates isotopes for space-grade batteries for NASA
Creates very little waste

Issue: Regulations set by existing Nuke industry.

Re:Alternative (1)

Sarius64 (880298) | about 2 years ago | (#40827897)

Sorry, the stupid people keep following Nimitz and Carter down the path of idiocy.

Re:Alternative (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about 2 years ago | (#40828177)

Meanwhile they used charcoal in their barbecues and eat bananas.

Both are radioactive.

Re:Alternative (1)

mordjah (1088481) | about 2 years ago | (#40828185)

This. You made me curious so I had to go look at the wiki.. the lifter reactor is also 10 to 15 percent more efficent than the light water reactors we use today.

Re:Alternative (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about 2 years ago | (#40829315)

Thermal to electrical efficiency:
Light water: 32-36%
LFTR: 45%
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_fluoride_thorium_reactor#Economy_and_efficiency [wikipedia.org]

Fuel Efficiency:
Light/Hard water: ~0.5% burned
LFTR: over 99% burned
Source: http://thorium.50webs.com/ [50webs.com]

Re:Alternative (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 2 years ago | (#40833013)

Sounds like something the Indians should be working on. They have large reserves of thorium but rather small reserves or uranium in their country.

Re:Alternative (1)

sycodon (149926) | about 2 years ago | (#40829471)

THIS.

This is the area where the Feds should spend money.

A single design (2 at most) should be selected and certified.
Existing laws should be changed to eliminate lawsuits and expedient site selection.
Components should be mass produced, assembled, tested, and shipped (when feasible)
On site tooling should be manufactured and reused (no custom builds of forms, etc.)

Build one off nuke plants is stupid. A power company should be able to select an appropriate site and start construction within several months and order components from a central facility.

Re:Alternative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40829921)

LFTR? /searches google
aha. Liquid fluoride thorium reactor. Well there you go. There's your problem. Liquid flouride? Sorry, we don't have any to spare. We need all we've got to put into the water for the mind control.

Re:Alternative (1)

gnick (1211984) | about 2 years ago | (#40828989)

...sitting in the forest crying for the trees.

And what's wrong with that? The Lorax agrees.

Re:Alternative (1)

sycodon (149926) | about 2 years ago | (#40829233)

For a good laugh, go to YouTube and search for "hippies crying for trees" or some variation on the that.

Good times. Laughing just remembering it.

Re:Alternative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40830809)

In short, they won't be happy until everyone is sitting in the forest crying for the trees.

This is a common misconception about hippies, but it is understandable. While a sane person sees a hippy crying for trees, a hippy sees theirself crying because the trees won't hug them back.

Re:Alternative (1)

sycodon (149926) | about 2 years ago | (#40832363)

Nice

Re:Alternative (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40830323)

SILEX was developed in Australia. Sorry the US is not the center of all cutting edge technology. The pilot plant is in the US, but nothing is stopping them from moving elsewhere when the US blocks the development. I bet China or Russia would line up to build the industrial scale plant.

GET IT OUT OF THE WAY NOW !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40827169)

Nuke the Axis of Evil

China
Iran
Pakistan
N. Korea

NOW !! We can all go on once we do that. You know I'm right !! If those regimes did not exist, we would be living on Mars. Next stop ??

Re:GET IT OUT OF THE WAY NOW !! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#40827439)

China has nukes, and officially so. They are "allowed" to according to the NPT.
Iran signed the NPT. Since 2006 it's a bit iffy, but so far they managed to play along.
NKor, sorry, but I can't take that tinpot dictator serious. He has nukes? Bloody unlikely. But even if, short of hurling them around by hand I fail to see a distribution system.
Pakistan (and India, while we're at it) could be much more of an issue.

But what about Israel, while we're listing potential nuke owners? I mean, they never even signed the NPT...

Re:GET IT OUT OF THE WAY NOW !! (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 2 years ago | (#40828779)

NKor, sorry, but I can't take that tinpot dictator serious. He has nukes? Bloody unlikely. But even if, short of hurling them around by hand I fail to see a distribution system.

Now that Tin Pot is married, he will need them, just to be sure.

Re:GET IT OUT OF THE WAY NOW !! (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 years ago | (#40831107)

NKor, sorry, but I can't take that tinpot dictator serious. He has nukes? Bloody unlikely. But even if, short of hurling them around by hand I fail to see a distribution system.

Thought they had a possible successful Nuclear test back in 2009. It was a small underground test.

Re:GET IT OUT OF THE WAY NOW !! (1)

jacknifetoaswan (2618987) | about 2 years ago | (#40827475)

Don't worry about North Korea. Once the US women's soccer team beats them in the Olympics today, Kim Jong Numero Uno will just collapse and North Korea will automatically become a capitalist's playground! /i kid /not about us beating North Korea /let's go USA women's soccer /hope solo is really hot

Yup (2)

ShooterNeo (555040) | about 2 years ago | (#40827175)

It will probably become easier to enrich uranium for anyone who has the resources to do it, whether or not this Silex technology is made commercial scale. It's not like the basics of the technology are a secret.

Do they realise...? (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#40827179)

Does the USA realize that all this "we're running the world" stuff just makes foreign extremists angry? Even more determined to have it?

Imagine it was the other way around with some other country telling the USA what to do...

Re:Do they realise...? (2)

OzPeter (195038) | about 2 years ago | (#40827843)

Does the USA realize that all this "we're running the world" stuff just makes foreign extremists angry?

What I never got was all those outcries along the lines of "We're not the worlds police" .. yet you have things like this happening more and more.

I don't buy your premise (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#40828041)

Foreign extremists will be angry. About something. Always. This is all they do.

People who bomb civilians by surprise, in their homelands mostly BTW, are not people you ever consider having a valid agenda you can somehow appease by changing your own behavior.

Because it's not about your behavior. It is about their behavior, and their agenda, which would violently exist no matter what you said or did.

At some point you have to realize you have to oppose people on the basis of their lame agenda and their lame tactics as a simple matter of principle. THEIR agenda. Which would exist no matter how peaceful or not the West is or ever was. And in opposing them, you do not piss them off. Because they are already pissed off and interested in bombing anyone who opposes them already. Come to them with flowers, or come to them with a drone, they are already engaged in the business of murder according to their own teachings and desires, completely independent of anything in the West's agenda. It is the height of arrogance to assume you are the source of their menace. The source of their menace is their own ideology, created completely on their own, completely having nothing to do with the West. You would know this, if you saw the obvious truth that the greatest victim of these a**holes are their own people, in their own homelands.

This whole premise of appeasing radical hotheads is a complete nonstarter. You don't appease them. You oppose them. They are already committed to violence according to their own self-realized agenda. Their agenda has nothing to do with, and will never have anything to do with, anything the West ever did or is doing.

You oppose them on principle, and you oppose them in the name of helping the moderates in their homelands retain control of their homelands. You don't try to appease them. Because you can't ever appease them. You have to understand what kind of a**holes you are really dealing with here. Currently, you do not. You believe this arrogant lie that these monsters are created by the West, somehow, by magic, even as these monsters cite their own ideological beliefs in their inspiration, and even as they have an agenda which has nothing to do with the West, and has to do with transforming their own societies into medieval hellholes.

Re:I don't buy your premise (1)

schroedingers_hat (2449186) | about 2 years ago | (#40829789)

People who bomb civilians by surprise, in their homelands mostly BTW, are not people you ever consider having a valid agenda you can somehow appease by changing your own behavior.

Because it's not about your behavior. It is about their behavior, and their agenda, which would violently exist no matter what you said or did.

At some point you have to realize you have to oppose people on the basis of their lame agenda and their lame tactics as a simple matter of principle. THEIR agenda.

Up until this point, I couldn't tell whether you were talking about iran or terrorists or the people behind the US army.

Exactly (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 2 years ago | (#40830795)

Imagine you are the government of Iran. Putting religious and cultural issues aside for a moment, you have seen two of your neighbors occupied by a superpower - and in the case of Iraq, done on the backs of blatant lies that nearly everyone now acknowledges.

Wouldn't *you* want the ultimate defensive weapon (nukes) to keep the crazy Westerners from invading, ala North Korea? Put in that light, the choice appears rather rational.

The Golden Girls wish you a great day! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40827213)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you ever knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say thank you for being a friend.

Re:The Golden Girls wish you a great day! (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40827277)

You're unusually on topic today. Really!

Thank you for being a friend

As GWB said, if your not with us, you're against us, axis of evil and all that stuff. Since they're already doing laser enrichment I don't think us doing it is going to have much effect on them...

Traveled down the road and back again

Obviously a reference to laser enrichment requiring fewer stages to reach the same enrichment

Your heart is true you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

Some of the research was sent to .ru by "fellow travelers". BTW I think its confidant, but cosmonaut sounds cooler so we'll stick with that.

And if you threw a party

Aka an enrichment plant

Invited everyone you ever knew

Aka a really Fing big enrichment plant, after all nothing ever goes wrong when you put all your eggs in one optimized basket. Stuxnet? Whats that?

You would see the biggest gift would be from me

20KT in a standard shipping container, no problemo. Only need 1 way shipping on this one, obviously. Um, try not to drop it enroute, ok?

And the card attached would say thank you for being a friend.

The usual "obvious" sarcasm where if we didn't expend amazing resources fighting the world, we wouldn't need to fight the world. But that would reduce wartime profits so thats never gonna happen. If only there were a way to make "wartime profits" in peacetime. I don't think facebook IPOs are going to do it.

Should be used by the US, kept away from Iran (1)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | about 2 years ago | (#40827243)

The development of this technology for commercial power generation uses must not be stopped, rather if it has benefits, encouraged. Just becasue there are issues that it can be used to make a bomb, should not stop countries such as the US developing it for its nuclear power plants. I would agree that the facilities to process it should be licenced and monitored and we should keep it out of the hands of rogue states such as Iran.

Re:Should be used by the US, kept away from Iran (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#40827533)

... we should keep it out of the hands of rogue states such as Iran.

How do you think we will do this? The whole point of SILEX is that is much more compact and energy efficient than alternative enrichment technologies, so much harder to detect. Lasers are much easier to acquire or build than good centrifuges.

I am not so sure than an Iranian bomb will be such a bad thing. If past history is any guide, nukes will have a stabilizing influence on the region. They probably prevented a war between NATO and the USSR, and India and Pakistan get along much better now that they have the ability to obliterate each other. It is easy for
Ahmadinejad is say he will "wipe Israel off the map" when it is just rhetoric. It will be harder when they actually have the means to do it, and will be wiped out themselves in retaliation.

 

Re:Should be used by the US, kept away from Iran (2)

necro81 (917438) | about 2 years ago | (#40827535)

Just becasue there are issues that it can be used to make a bomb, should not stop countries such as the US developing it for its nuclear power plants. I would agree that the facilities to process it should be licenced and monitored and we should keep it out of the hands of rogue states such as Iran

Gosh, with platitudes like that, you should run for office! It is very easy for politicians, who don't actually live in the same reality as the rest of us, to make such simplistic statements without offering any concrete or realistic suggestion as to how they would accomplish those ends.

Gov. Romney: If we re-elect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon. And if we elect Mitt Romney, they will not have a nuclear weapon. [Nov 12, 2011 [google.com] , GOP Debate in Spartanburg, S.C. [cbsnews.com] ]

Inquiring Media, fellow candidates, anyone with half a brain: How will you accomplish that, exactly?

Gov. Romney: [crickets]

Re:Should be used by the US, kept away from Iran (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#40827633)

Dude, I know it's hard when you didn't grow up in a country where you knew from the start that your media is lying, but at least spot propaganda when it hits you right in the face, will ya?

No, I'm not talking about Fox News and how they try to picture Ahmadingbats as a ravaging lunatic. I mean him himself. He is not a ravaging lunatic or a islamist madman, he's just a populist. That's all there is.

Now, don't get me wrong, I won't call the Iran a democracy. Hell, even the US is more of a democracy than that theocracy (because that's what the Iran actually is, under its thin blanket of show elections and whatnot). But even there elections exist, and even though the choices are pretty much akin to having the choice between an ultra-right wing idiot and a right wing loonie (i.e. pretty much as it is in the US, just with Allah instead of Economy+Jesus as the savior), Ahmadinejad wants to get reelected. So he tells the people what they want to hear. That he's a tough guy, that he'll smite their enemies and that he will not allow any outside force to change their way of life.

You'll hear something like that soon too, afaik prez elections are coming in the US.

And just like the US prez needs terrorists as an enemy element, Ahmi has Israel as a pet boogeyman.

Notice how his rants went dry lately? Well, duh, he can't be reelected, and the next elections are only due in about 2 years. You don't hear Obama rant about the threats of terror constantly either, do you?

And why does this appeal to the average Iranian? Because they're all islamistic madmen who want to wipe the Earth clean of everything that doesn't bow towards Mecca? Well. Let's take a look at the world map. For the average US American, try finding Russia and then look south of it, you might find Iran. To the left of it, Iraq. To the right, Afghanistan. Both countries that have been invaded (with so-so success) by the US.

Now imagine the Iran (or if you prefer some other boogeyman, try Russia or the UN) took over control of Mexico and Canada, and then ponder for a moment how you'd feel about the Iran, even if Fox News didn't bombard you constantly with the message how they're Teh Evilz and how they want to kill the lot of you.

This is how the average Iranian feels, I guess...

Re:Should be used by the US, kept away from Iran (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 2 years ago | (#40827801)

Stop that. If you're going to start treating foreigners as though they were people with feelings, then who knows where this could lead?

You know who else liked foreigners? Hitler.

Why do you hate America?

Won't somebody please think of the children?

If speaking English and hating people from the Middle East was good enough for Jesus, it should be good enough for the rest of us.

Re:Should be used by the US, kept away from Iran (1)

Sarius64 (880298) | about 2 years ago | (#40827981)

You know that because our President is part Arab that your entire post is inherently racist.

Re:Should be used by the US, kept away from Iran (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#40827865)

He is not a ravaging lunatic or a islamist madman, he's just a populist. That's all there is.

Those are not mutually exclusive characterizations.

Re:Should be used by the US, kept away from Iran (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#40827969)

Economy+Jesus as the savior

Ah, I always wondered who the Invisible Hand belonged to.

Re:Should be used by the US, kept away from Iran (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#40829455)

Ahmadinejad is just a figurehead with little real power. The Guardian Council rules the country.

You know, it's funny how the leftists have no problem with the Islamic Republic of Iran, a functional fascist theocracy, getting nukes. Remember CND, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament? They were against all nuclear weapons, anywhere, by anybody. Now, religious fanatics want them, and suddenly we have articles in The Atlantic saying that it's not a big deal, after all Iran needs them to resist invasion by Israel. Go figure, huh? 180 degree about-face, with no recognition whatsoever of the old point of view. We have always been friends with Oceania.

Nuclear deterrence is based on the fact that your adversary is as rational as you are. Islamists, Sunni or Shiite, believe that life is just a long test and the afterlife is what really matters. What do you do when your adversary loves death more than you love life?

"Allah did not create man so that he could have fun. The aim of creation was for mankind to be put to the test through hardship and prayer. An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious."
-- Ayatollah Khomeini, 1979

Re:Should be used by the US, kept away from Iran (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#40827835)

Why doesn't Iran have the right to generate their own nuclear power? What makes Iran any more a "rogue state" than the US?

Re:Should be used by the US, kept away from Iran (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#40828387)

Why doesn't Iran have the right to generate their own nuclear power?

Many countries have nuclear power plants without doing their own enrichment. It is far less expensive to just buy already enriched fuel. The USA, France and Russia have all offered to sell Iran enriched fuel, and to guarantee the supply, on the condition that they shut down their own enrichment activities. What they are doing only makes sense if they are building a bomb. Not that I blame them: they are surrounded by powerful enemies, and the USA has been threatening to attack them for the last three decades. Building a bomb is a logical thing for them to do.

Re:Should be used by the US, kept away from Iran (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#40828451)

And, so? Doesn't Iran have the right to enrich its own fuel? Even if it's just a matter of national pride?

India could use this today (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#40827273)

Even if their power grid hadn't collapsed they're having trouble meeting demand because of the weak monsoon lowering reservoirs. Fission power should last a several hundred years.

Proven technology will be built by someone (1)

abelb (1365345) | about 2 years ago | (#40827295)

If the technology has been proven I think it will get out there eventually regardless of whether it's deployed commercially in the west or not. Even if it's through a fresh development effort which would not have been undertaken had the technology not been previously proven. It seems to me that the best chance we have at detecting any future clandestine SILEX lab would be to use the technology now under a well established regulatory system and gain experience which may be valuable in detecting labs in the future. Do we really want to let someone else be first to build these things?

SILEX = Separation of Isotopes by Laser EXcitation (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40827333)

...in case you were wondering. An energy-efficient means of enriching uranium, worrisome because it would be harder to detect its use than older methods.

Re:SILEX = Separation of Isotopes by Laser EXcitat (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#40827879)

...in case you were wondering. An energy-efficient means of enriching uranium, worrisome because it would be harder to detect its use than older methods.

Too bad they can't do it with Erotic EXcitation... then we could power the world with internet porn.

Re:SILEX = Separation of Isotopes by Laser EXcitat (1)

eliphalet (1222732) | about 2 years ago | (#40833661)

In ancient times, Silex was a brand of vacuum coffee maker, a glass contraption that my parents used.

No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40827413)

Just another U.S. government agency ignoring the law. Nothing to see here folks ... move along.

ITS GODZILLA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40827419)

History shows again and again how Nature points out the folly of Man!
Whats a Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor? 35x less waste with mostly useful byproducts for medical and space industry? WHATEV, THIS MDMA IS GREAT!!! SKRILLEX SUCKS!!!!

Hey it went up...I wonder what happens now...

But then there's this (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#40827479)

If Iran got their hands on this technology, it'd be a lot more fun to make it run incorrectly than some dumb centrifuge. We could blow a hole right through their building with the laser lol.

Re:But then there's this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40827651)

KENT! THIS IS GOD! STOP PLAYING WITH YOURSELF!

Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.... yes... yes it is. Just like yelling. Well, except it isn't yelling. Other than that, yes, just like it.

Re:But then there's this (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40827769)

If Iran got their hands on this technology, it'd be a lot more fun to make it run incorrectly than some dumb centrifuge. We could blow a hole right through their building with the laser lol.

Boring. Not enough power anyway. Much funnier to PWM the computer controlled water cooling pump to create hot spots in the laser tube and let the laser blow itself to pieces while the pump "appears to be working" so they replace the expensive tube a couple times, then the expensive pump, then replace the controller which promptly gets reinfected, etc etc. Its absolutely inevitable that we'll see warfare like that as 3-d printing and laser cutters get cheaper, some chinese mfgr or american retailer will release a virus that sets 3d printheads on fire or burns out laser cutter tubes. Maybe .gov will release it as a "war on copyright infringement" weapon.

WRT to this laser, an absolutely Fing hilarious virus/worm would mess with the system to de-enrich the supposedly enriched product. Assuming they're stupid enough not to analyze each batch, you can just picture some dude just like the famous Iraqi Information Minister of a decade or so ago holding a press conference explaining how they're about to wipe Israel off the map ... and cut to the webcam from a suburb in .il pointing downtown ... and absolutely nothing happens. Hilarious.

Another funny would be to mess with the laser such that it encodes "something" into each batch. So the precise ratio of 235/238 to a zillion decimal places or maybe the ratios of some weird contaminant encodes the mac address of the laser's microcontroller's ethernet interface or the first public ip addrs it sees on a traceroute back to cia.gov such that you can simply look up who enriched what chunk, etc.

Congress intervene? (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#40827855)

What are they going to do, pass a law making it illegal to ignore a statutory requirement?

SILEX (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40827935)

What I never got was all those outcries along the lines of "We're not the worlds police" .. yet you have things like this happening more and more English [blogspot.com]

nice post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40828017)

like Jeffrey implied I am amazed that you able to make $7696 in a few weeks on the internet. did you read this site link http://goo.gl/TyIY9

look it up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40828683)

if you look up "nuclear" in any good encyclopedia, you'll see a photos straight up satans a$$.

Contradicts earlier stories on slashdot (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 2 years ago | (#40829067)

Given that Nukes are the only peacekeeping weapons the world has ever known [slashdot.org] I fail to see how proliferation is a serious problem. A nuclear armed global society is a poilte global society.

Re:Contradicts earlier stories on slashdot (1)

schroedingers_hat (2449186) | about 2 years ago | (#40829839)

Only if the guy holding the trigger isn't crazy enough to actually pull it and has a lot to lose.

Re:Contradicts earlier stories on slashdot (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 2 years ago | (#40829931)

Game theory helps.

Re:Contradicts earlier stories on slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40831423)

"Proliferation" is an absurd argument if you ask me.
If nuclear weapons are bad enough to stop nuclear reactors from being produced then why aren't we stopping any use or production of chemicals or biotechnology? Bio weapons and chemical weapons are just as lethal as a nuclear bomb after all. Oh wait, did I forget something? Like the fact that we are moving bags of chemicals and what could be classed as extremely advanced biotechnology? Would the chemical/biotech anti-proliferation movement be anti-babies? Think of the children! Also, any movement that would ban sex would have many enemies.

One last thing. You don't need a bomb to build a nuclear power plant and you don't need a nuclear power plant to build a bomb.

Re:Contradicts earlier stories on slashdot (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 2 years ago | (#40831683)

Bio weapons and chemical weapons are just as lethal as a nuclear bomb after all.

That's not true in any meaningful sense.

Then build more salt reactors. (1)

InvisibleClergy (1430277) | about 2 years ago | (#40830231)

Liquid salt reactors weren't built because they can't be used to enrich Uranium. We know how to build them. Why aren't we building them.

Re:Then build more salt reactors. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40831521)

Here I thought it was because keeping liquid salt liquid throughout the entire system so it didn't clog was difficult and that and something about graphite burning.

No big surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40831283)

Its not big surprise that the US has kept reactor technology that is half to two thirds crappy for producing electricity, but has the benefits of making really stuff that makes really big holes in the ground. Molten salt reactors were suggested as being much cheaper to build, much safer, and wildly more efficient in 1974, but the US government killed it, threatening to end the careers of the scientists who proposed it. The big problem for them was that you can't make stuff that blows up with the new technology. We've had 38 years of nuclear technology that is highly dangerous, highly radioactive, extremely expensive to: build, maintain, decommission because of this. Yet we still have them. Marvin the Martian wasn't the only one: "Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth-shattering Kaboom!?!?"

Solar and Wind (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40833261)

Really, there are ways to live life without nukes. They're not perfect, either, but I'm less worried about a solar bomb, and the only wind bombs around here come out of the dogs.

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