Foreign Policy Blogs

The Laser Haze: More Non-Pro Worries about Laser Enrichment


Readers of my blog will know that I have written several times about proliferation concerns related to using lasers to enrich uranium. Its my hobbyhorse because I think it is the very kind of crucible test which will indicate if we are serious about nonproliferation or not. The Cliff Notes version is that such a facility would be harder to detect because it can be smaller and less energy-intensive than a centrifuge facility. Moreover, the very existence of the facility would indicate that, at long last, someone made laser enrichment happen. The Iranians tried and failed, as did other countries. Such a development could spur others to begin anew or, worse, try and get components for such a facility on the black market. You know, the one that A.Q. Khan says doesn't exist?

In any event, Bill Broad once again stirred the pot this Sunday with a front page piece on the subject. Full disclosure: my boss at APS is quoted. Cause he’s really smart and he is willing to take on GE-Hitachi. And he’s a physicist. Broad also quotes Frank Von Hippel, a former Clinton Administration nuke adviser and also a physicist.

In another shameless plug for my employers, my brethren over at Physics Buzz have written a nice little blog post on Broad’s article which explains a bit more about enrichment methods.

 

Author

Jodi Lieberman
Jodi Lieberman

Jodi Lieberman is a veteran of the arms control, nonproliferation, nuclear terrorism and nuclear safety trenches, having worked at the Departments of State, Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She has also served in an advisory capacity and as professional staff for several members of Congress in both the House and Senate as well as the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Jodi currently spends her time advocating for science issues and funding as the Senior Government Affairs Specialist at the American Physical Society. The views expressed in her posts are her views based on her professional experience but in way should be construed to represent those of her employer.

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