Fareed Zakaria Underestimates Saudi Arabia

“Saudi Arabia isn’t going to build a nuclear weapon. Saudi Arabia can’t build a nuclear weapon. Saudi Arabia hasn’t even built a car.”
 
See Why Saudi Arabia can’t get a nuclear weapon
Fareed Zakaria is a very wise man but he makes a mistake asserting that Saudi Arabia can’t go nuclear. They already have gone nuclear. In the 1980s I worked there on the cyclotron at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh. They now have several similar accelerators. They had no problem recruiting technically competent people from elsewhere and training their own people to use nuclear technology. If they wanted to make a “dirty bomb” they could run a milliampere beam of protons into water-cooled copper for a few months, powder the result by electrolysis and disperse the product with bombs/shells/balloons/whatever. More production? They could build cyclotrons by the dozen per annum for as long as they needed. They already have a working model. Alpha-emitters? Just bombard something else… They have a bunch of nuclear reactors in the pipeline. Think about that… A delivery system? They have jet planes, pilots, rockets, robotics, artillery. Nothing holds them back. While Saudi Arabia may not have had the best educational system on Earth, they have for ages sent intelligent young people to learn all kinds of technologies. They don’t need millions of educated people to build big bombs, just a few and a lot of workers/robots. Money, material and energy are the real obstacles and the Saudis have them covered thanks to the world’s thirst for oil. The entire Manhatten project cost about $26billion in today’s money, a few weeks of oil production for Saudi Arabia.

Need more bang? Zakaria should be reminded that the Manhatten Project produced multiple bombs with a few thousand man-years of effort and a lot of energy and metal. There must be thousands of Saudis or foreigners working for them who could solve all the necessary problems and develop a plan within a few weeks using modern technology. In the 1940s folks did it with paper/pencil/chalk/slide-rules and a computer with the power of a pocket-calculator. The Saudis pump 10 million barrels of oil per day and generate gigawatts of electricity from natural gas. There’s no shortage of energy to run any enrichment programme. They have uranium. Everyone has it. It’s in the rock and it’s just a matter of mining and extracting to get it. They could have a nasty nuclear weapon within two years if they set their minds to it. They may have already started…

When I was in Saudi Arabia, I could feel the hatred of Iran. It was palpable. They hated the Iranians more than Israel. The only thing that has prevented them going nuclear years ago was promised support from USA. The Obama administration has cured them of that. Obama has not stood up to Assad or ISIL and is not standing up to Iran. As far as I know, no agreement will prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons sooner or later. It would be foolish for the Saudis not to head the Iranians off. MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) worked for USA/Russia/China. Why would the Saudis not think it could work for them? Given the short distance and the religious/political/national polarization of the two countries MAD is the only likely successful means of securing the region. Then there is the matter of Israel. As long as Israel remains at war with local Arabs/muslims, Saudi Arabia, as “protector of the faith” will remain under pressure to do something about Israel and the USA is not helping one bit by propping Israel up. Saudi Arabia has every reason to go nuclear and more than enough means.

Wake up, Fareed!

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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24 Responses to Fareed Zakaria Underestimates Saudi Arabia

  1. Me says:

    If you can’t even spell “Manhattan Project” properly, it’s hard to take your opinion on the matter seriously.

  2. ram says:

    ” In fact there is a list of over 50 examples of how using forced labor to design and make weapons turns out to be bad.”

    I am positively sure that is a true statement, but I would like the reference so I could use it 😉

  3. oiaohm says:

    Robert Pogson gun type. Tube with two blocks of uranium-235 or plutonium-239 if you don’t care about stability. USA gave up on thin man gun type with plutonium-239 because it was highly unstable.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thin_Man_%28nuclear_bomb%29 Yes lack of uranium-235 saw the nazis using plutonium-239 with uranium-235 in a gun type. So making a classic design nuke insanely unstable.

    Yep all the pre-detonation problems the nazis where having so reducing there nukes form a good atomic to not much better than a dirty bomb. But its still a nuke as it nuke power that is the explosive that spreads the radio active material all over the place.

    –“Critical mass” means the thing had to be rather small to work at all.–

    Critical Mass and avoiding pre detonation. Even conventional weapons that are portable have safety pins. Lack of safety pins is a death wish.

    –How can you have a working but not portable nuke?–
    This is where it gets horible.

    –They would have done that even if all they had was a dirty bomb.–
    Number 1 what nazis had was not a dirty bomb. It was a nuke bomb due to design issues would pre detonation acted like a dirty bomb.

    –Just put it in a box and put it in a plane.–

    Now what ever you put in a box that you put in a plane has to be able to tolerate vibration. USA added locking pins to prevent the radioactive material from moving due to vibration until after drop so making weapon safe to transport.

    Robert Pogson think of the German nuke bomb like handling unstable nitroglycerin it is perfectly safe unless you move it. USA made nuke bombs like dynamite. So the German nuke was likely to self trigger before you could get it to target. Yes worse kind of friendly fire so not usable.

    When all it would have taken was a few pins to make the German nuke safe for transport you can say the people making the nuke were not interesting in making it work any more than to demo that it could possibly function to keep themselves alive. Now if the people making the bomb had been decanted to the cause World War II would have ended very differently. Yes the first V1 rockets could have been nuke tipped if pins had been added as that is how far the Nazi were ahead.

    Really Nazi examples of dud weapons why kidnapping people to develop weapons is most likely stupid. The Nukes are just another example of this. There was a weapons factory in Germany in world war II that did not make 1 single functional weapon. Yep completely staffed by jewish people plus one not jewish person. In fact there is a list of over 50 examples of how using forced labor to design and make weapons turns out to be bad.

  4. oiaohm wrote, “after the first underground nuke test…working but not portable or stable nuke weapons”.

    How can you have a working but not portable nuke? That’s just silly. “Critical mass” means the thing had to be rather small to work at all. There’s nothing the Germans could not have made portable that worked like a nuke. Just put it in a box and put it in a plane… They would have done that even if all they had was a dirty bomb.

  5. oiaohm says:

    Robert Pogson the collection of heavy water by the Nazis by the documentation comes after the first underground nuke test. Yes fairly early on in World War II did they Nazis have working but not portable or stable nuke weapons.

  6. oiaohm says:

    Robert Pogson no delivery system. I should have been more exact.

    USA in their gun assembly design added safety pins to prevent premature detonation. German version of gun assembly lacked this. Yes those two safety pins are all that is left of the one USA nuke dropped on japan.

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/World/Hitler-won-atomic-bomb-race-but-couldnt-drop-it/2005/03/04/1109700677446.html

    Basically 2005 the evidence of the Nazi/German atomic bomb turns up including the underground testing locations with evidence of nuke explosion(just not a good quality nuke) with documentation that it was intentional.

    .–The Germans had multiple delivery systems: long and short range bombers, V1 and V2 cruise and ballistic missiles, and even the Tiger tank. —
    Yep not one of these could transport gun assembly nuke missing safety pins as the german design was.

    Yes so so close but no cigar. Mind you the no cigar might be explained by the fact the lead scientist was Jewish in the Nazi/German atomic bomb program.

    Hitler talking about having a super weapon serous-ally was not kidding. The world would have been a lot different place if that super weapon had 2 extra bits in it design. This is the problem with making a nuke weapon so close is not good enough.

    Basically we don’t want to think we got lucky against Hitler. If Hitler had used a different group of people World war II would have had Hitler dropping nukes before the USA could have. Time, Resources and everything else was there.

    Poor yielding of the nuke was why heavy water was being collected to attempt to make a fison class bomb. Yes Nazi were working on a H bomb. Of course a H bomb was unlikely to work with low purity uranium but it was another method to buy more time.

    Time line is Japan loses a factory. Nazi underground weapon test nukes of poor quality, USA drops nukes on japan with ok purity materials. Of course until 2005 the Nazi bit was missing. Yes Nazi have the first documented underground nuke weapons test.

    The fact USA comes second in the nuke race says how close everyone come to losing world war II.

  7. oiaohm wrote, “it was not much better than a conventional weapon mixed with radioactive material and lacked delivery system.”

    At no time were the Germans close to having a nuclear weapon. They had acquired heavy water and some material but bombing disrupted everything and Hitler did not invest much in it. If he had gone for the bomb and skipped invading Russia, history would have been quite different. The Germans had multiple delivery systems: long and short range bombers, V1 and V2 cruise and ballistic missiles, and even the Tiger tank. Even a tiny nuke could have stopped D-Day invaders. They could easily have scaled up any of those as necessary. Imagine one of their heavy bombers with 4 of their jet engines… No, delivery systems were not an issue. Support by Hitler was the one and only issue. He was deluded into invading Russia after his nut-case air-marshal failed to bomb Britain into submission. A nuclear bomber embedded in a few hundred conventional bombers could easily have reached London.

  8. oiaohm says:

    ram exploding plant is not what I call an atomic weapon. First example refinement gone wrong is the Japan factory that went bang that show us that it was explosive. Japanese nature they wanted to make 100 percent pure uranium-235 what is not a highly wise idea once you understand a bit more. But the Japan example of factory going bang is something anyone who decides to make nuke weapons risks.

    First example of atomic weapon built to be an atomic weapon was done by the nazi but their purity was off so it was not much better than a conventional weapon mixed with radioactive material and lacked delivery system.

    The first atomic weapons to tick all boxed of effective yield and delivery system is USA.

    The purity of radioactive material directly effects it stability.

  9. ram says:

    oiaohm said: “…the USA was second to get atomic weapons”

    Actually they were third, Japan was first. Unfortunately for them their nuclear processing plant in what is now North Korea exploded in a very big way. They inadvertently proved to the world that nuclear explosions were possible. The American, Russian, British, and German programs all picked up in a big way after that. This is why the strong force between protons and neutrons is called the “Yukawa Force”, after H. Yukawa’s work he did in 1935 in Japan’s nuclear laboratories.

  10. oiaohm says:

    cesium-137

    uranium-235 and plutonium-239 the two most common nuke weapons materials. Plutonium-239 is not used in the classic design. Please note classic design goes back to myths and legends and the design the Nazi was trying to make.
    http://www.smh.com.au/news/World/Hitler-won-atomic-bomb-race-but-couldnt-drop-it/2005/03/04/1109700677446.html
    Yes the USA was second to get atomic weapons. Nazis lacked delivery system and volume of material

    The first design nukes are Gun assembly design(yes this is the classic design of the first bomb dropped and tested). Plutonium-239 is not suitable for that. Yes the classic design is simple and lot simpler to construct.

    Implosion design of nuke weapons are later designs these can use Plutonium-239 yet due to the volume of explosives can be problematic. Implosion design will require weapon tests that can get unwanted attention. Yes the fat man used in japan required a weapon tests in the USA. The little boy weapon Gun assembly did not require weapon tests.

    The concept of critical mass has been well understood for decades. The chief hazard working with the stuff is not criticality, because that is easily prevented, but radiation poisoning from absorption of dust containing radioisotopes, especially alpha emitters.

    Yep in alpha emitters cesium-137 that happens to be produced very well by highly pure uranium-235 and plutonium-239. More pure the uranium or plutonium the higher the airborne cesium-137. The issue is even a very small amount of uranium or plutonium going over temp you have a lot more airborne toxicity to deal with.

    Simulated using a computer requires you to punch in the correct radio of reactive product you are dealing with. Robert Pogson this is the classic garbage in resulting in garbage out. Problem with a garbage out from computer simulation making a nuke it could be exactly the last thing you do.

    Robert just because critical mass is understood the problem is when you are at the knife edge of tech one minor mistake is fatality. Yes inconstant quality of uranium-235 and plutonium-239 is a possible death sentence when making a nuke.

  11. oiaohm wrote, “In fact Enriched uranium is a required part to make a classic nuke weapon.”

    Plutonium can also be used. That’s why the Iranians and Saudis want fission reactors despite huge petroleum resources. Plutonium is a byproduct of fission.

    The concept of critical mass has been well understood for decades. The chief hazard working with the stuff is not criticality, because that is easily prevented, but radiation poisoning from absorption of dust containing radioisotopes, especially alpha emitters. The guy who died promptly was from my alma mater. He was doing a crude experiment to estimate critical mass. Nowadays it can mostly be simulated using a computer, eliminating most of the risk: approach criticality from a distance and extrapolate. Once you’ve measured the response to an approach, you have all the data needed to simulate the real thing, implosions of various kinds bringing mass together.

  12. oiaohm says:

    Robert Pogson working with radioactivity at reactor or medical level is way different to working with radioactivity at weapons grade.

    –If the USA et al could do it in 1940, you can bet the Saudis can do it today.–
    In the 1940 the USA lost staff. They did not understand enough. Even today attempting to refine Enriched uranium is hazard.

    Ram
    –Enriched uranium just allows one to make them physically smaller. —
    No natural uranium out ground will not make anything more than a dirty bomb. To make a classic nuke bomb you have to refine. To generate power you can get away with large volume of natural(Australia is researching into running water into some natural stable uranium bodies to produce steam to make power)

    In fact Enriched uranium is a required part to make a classic nuke weapon. Nuke reactors melt down not explode because the ratio of lead to uranium and other radioactive parts. Why is this so is the grade in reactors is normally not weapons grade.

    There is a problem once you get to weapon grade uranium you are on a knife edge. Film badges are almost next to pointless. 1 second of exposure to weapons grade uranium will give you fatal dosage. So handling is absolutely zero mistake level on that point. What is basic Nuke bomb core. Two blocks of weapons grade uranium small enough not to self explode or melt down but will exceed explosive value when brought close to each other.

    Yes film badges and other monitoring tech is useful one the weapons are assembled and fairly much safe. But in the production of the blocks not that useful.

    What defines what size the two blocks have to be. How pure the uranium is. Higher the purity the smaller the blocks have to be or they will go into meltdown by self. Also if the blocks of uranium are under a particular purity all you will get is the same problem as a reactor melt down/dirty bomb when the bomb is used. Nuke weapons have to be refueled because they break down. So making a large volume of nukes in advance that you don’t end up using is a costly waste of time.

    — They have all the technology they need to protect workers and to separate isotopes.–
    Make a nuke weapon is 1 separating isotopes 2 making blocks of those isotopes at the right purity at the right size without causing a meltdown or explosion event. Laser refining gets you exactly the right purity over and over again. Other methods means due to the variation in purity you could be dead as soon as you make your blocks.

    Ram
    –Any country (or even a large company) with decent physicists, mathematicians, and engineers can do this.–
    Any country/large company with decent staff could attempt. But this is the big but without the test results of what works and what does not attempting to make a Nuke weapon might be the last thing your country does.

    You need the data on top of line refining to make Nuke weapons safely. Russia, China, USA… history of making nukes is checked boarded with disasters costing the lives of all staff working in the plants. Best safety gear on earth does not stop you killing your personal making nuke weapons.

    If you just want fuel rods for power generating reactors those can be done fairly safely. But again you do want 100 percent dependable ratio of Uranium to lead.

    Something to remember Saudi Arabia is not large place. 1 melt down with wind blowing in the right direction and most of their population areas could be contaminated.

  13. ram says:

    These days one doesn’t even need nuclear (naturally radioactive) material to make thermonuclear weapons. Enriched uranium just allows one to make them physically smaller. Any country (or even a large company) with decent physicists, mathematicians, and engineers can do this.

  14. oiaohm wrote, “using the worst tech its going to take you decades make 1 war head and most likely lose a lot of staff to radioactivity along the way”.

    Nonsense. The Saudis have been working with radiation for decades. When I was there, a proper radiation medicine unit monitored our film badges and sensors throughout the facility. On one occasion, sirens went off when a Halon fire-extinguisher went off and elements in the gas were activated by our fast neutrons. They have all the technology they need to protect workers and to separate isotopes. If the USA et al could do it in 1940, you can bet the Saudis can do it today. It’s not as if the US Congress has to make up its mind. The king decides based on advice from an inner circle. The decision to go ahead or not could be done overnight, any night.

  15. oiaohm says:

    Robert Pogson a total embargo on material and information puts Saudis in Irans position. It will take decades if outside interference is successful to make a nuke bomb.

    Australian tech being fast means you only have to fully protect a location for 8 to 9 months to make a nuke weapon for the Saudis materials. High grade ores like Australia has the time frame comes down to 1 month.

    Please note 8 to 9 and 1 month is to get into continuous production of weapon grade Uranium. Basically for a country like Australia to make as many nukes as every other country on earth has plus extras using the best tech would take a year. Saudis using the best tech 2 years. Now using the worst tech its going to take you decades make 1 war head and most likely lose a lot of staff to radioactivity along the way.

    Australia only does not have Nukes because we have no interest in them. Biggest issue Australia has is no locally made long range delivery system not the warhead.

    –What technology did USA need to import back in the 1940s? A few key people…–
    Lets be blunt here yes the USA did it back in the 1940 but the large equipment made a huge mess and the USA by the end of making the first weapons had lost most of the few key people to radioactivity. USA was able todo it in secret back in 1940 because no one knew what they were looking for. There are tell tail signs to Uranium refining using any other method than Laser.

    –Why do you think Iran needs nuclear power?–
    Iran has valid reasons not exactly about nuclear power.

    Australia will have to open up 4 Uranium Mines we do not have a choice. Why Mother-nature is going to mine those ore bodies out if we like it or not so contaminating rivers and land.

    So number 1 not all the Iran High grade Uranium ore is in good positions so is going to be a problem to the Iran population if its not mined. So Iran is in exactly the same position Australia was when Australia was considering building long range nuke weapons and reactors. Please note Iran is not allowed to sell their Uranium on the open market either. So Iran is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Do nothing watch their population get poisoned or attempt to make reactors to use the material do reduce the lethality and have massive outside interference. So Iran due to the problems they have with the ore bodies need at-least export rights.

    Iran really does not have huge coal and oil reserves. So using their Uranium to make power make sense. But Iran could get by with what they have for at least a century

    — Why do you think the Saudis need nuclear power? Why do you think Saudi Arabia needs so much more nuclear power than the Iranians?–

    Saudi Arabia has no environmental reason to be using Uranium so you cannot say Saudi Arabia is in a no choice position because of ore body toxicity like Iran is. But from the Golf war where their Oil fields were set alight the question becomes how badly were their Oil reserves really damaged. Historically Saudi Arabia power has come from burning oil/gas and if these reserves are more badly damaged than the Saudis are letting on they could be quite badly stuck. Saudis might only have 10 years power production without importing left.

    Remember your comment about money to burn that is dependent on oil sales. So the Saudis could be up the creek without a paddle with non oil based power tech as their only hope of survival. If the oil fields are badly damaged requiring 16 reactors would make sense since this would replace the oil power plants the Saudis are using.

    Robert Pogson I basically don’t have enough information on the Saudis to know why they are doing this but I have my suspected reasons. I do know Iran has absolutely no choice but to mine Uranium just like Australia. The problem for Iran is what to-do with the material after they have mined it.

    Iran is a very had one due to the fact many countries don’t want them using Uranium but we have no choice but to let them mine it or else we will be killing a percentage of their population.

    Saudis it possible to say no to. Iran saying no is putting them in a no win position and will force them into hostile actions attempting to save their population.

  16. dougman says:

    Re: I can assure you there are plenty of hard-working and useful Saudis.

    Oh, I am not refuting that, but they would just hire the people they need.

  17. oiaohm wrote, “The two countries Saudis need tech from is Australia and the USA”.

    The Saudis don’t need any additional technology to make bombs. They’ve had it since I was there in the 1980s: electromagnets, cyclotrons, electrical power, all kinds of electronics and computers, an educated workforce large enough for the purpose and money to burn, literally. Even if there was a total embargo on people, material and information for the next decade, the Saudis could make bombs in a couple of years. All they need to do is make the decision. They may have done that already. What technology did USA need to import back in the 1940s? A few key people… The Saudis have them already. USA converted part of its stock in silver into electrical conductors for the project. The Saudis have millions of tons of silver and thousands of tons of gold if they needed to do that. They also have all the copper and steel they need. All anyone would need to do for a “Manhattan Project” in Saudi Arabia would be to recycle all the scrap automobiles piled up over the decades. Why do you think Iran needs nuclear power? Why do you think the Saudis need nuclear power? Why do you think Saudi Arabia needs so much more nuclear power than the Iranians?

  18. oiaohm says:

    Robert Pogson really you don’t know the situation that well. Saudi Arabia a long time ago mined out their best Uranium ores for glassware and other things before we knew what splitting the atom was.

    So the Saudis had a Uranium reverses of good enough quality to mine to make weapons without refining but they don’t have any reserves like that anymore more. Iran still has reserves good enough straight out the ground to be used to kill people.

    Not all granite contains Uranium. Australian has some highly interesting coal. Yes Uranium coal that would be kinda evil to burn and it does exist.

    Please note yellow cake Uranium is exactly how you mine it out the ground it is not special treatment. Low percentage Uranium in granite can take more power to extract it than the power it will generate. Some of the Uranium in granite in Australia is crystalline in ways that is make it almost impossible to chemical dissolve.

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Nuclear-Fuel-Cycle/Uranium-Resources/Uranium-from-Phosphates/

    Robert Pogson to cost effectively extract Uranium for weapons or power-plants from phosphate fertilizer you are also talking Australian/USA tech again. Please note Uranium in phosphate is not weapon grade without processing.

    Yes 1 process to extract the Uranium from the phosphate then the Australian laser process to sort it. Refining Uranium can be a very dangerous activity if you don’t know exactly what you are doing.

    The isotopic separation has several proven methods: magnetic, laser and diffusion/centrifuge, well known.
    Magnetic and diffusion/centrifuge are both highly power costly and don’t give quality results all the time and worst of all are huge. Remember anything used to refine Uranium will become radioactive and will have to be disposed of at some point in the future when it breaks. Laser separation is very effective in power usage and at getting pure as well as being compact. The downside to getting highly pure Uranium is that if the plant designed only with a minor error you just built a self triggering nuke weapon instead of a refining plant.

    Robert you are right that Saudis have enough Uranium to make weapons the problem is all the Uranium Saudis have require refinement tech. Uranium refining tech you don’t want to be starting from scratch experimenting with either in a small country like Saudi Arabia. You have to remember Australia has a section of desert where nuke weapons were tested that is far enough away from populations to test out new refining tech that could turn into a disaster without being a major problem.

    Yes there are two reasons why new Uranium refining techs are developed in Australia. Number 1 we have need for highly power effective refining 2 we have the testing site.

    –The Iranians are using UF6 gas centrifuges.–
    Yes the usage of UF6 gas centrifuges are slowing down Iran refining their ores to even just power plant grades let alone weapons grades.

    –Money is no object to the Saudis. Further, there will always be someone in the world willing to sell some stuff: North Korea, Pakistan, India, Russia, Africa…–
    None of those parties have the tech Saudis need. The two countries Saudis need tech from is Australia and the USA. Australia with DECO is a pain in the but because Money does not work. All the money in the world does not change a DECO ruling not to export.

    If Saudis can get the approval to import the Australian and USA techs in 8 months time they could have enough processed Uranium to make 2 multi head warheads or fuel a full power-plant complex(ie 4 reactors). Yes it will take more time to make the power plants than it will to acquire the fuel.

    Using UF6 gas centrifuges with multi passes required this end up costing 8 to 9 years to get the same amount if no one sabotages it.

    –Physicists and engineers have been doing that since the 1940s, for pity’s sake.–
    Yes just because people in 1940 did something does not mean its a highly good idea.

    The problem here is slow is problematic when working with making radioactive materials as well. Why almost everything you use will become radioactive and have to be disposed of at some point. So laser processing that is fast, compact results in longer operation of processing plant and less contaminated wasted to deal with when the plant has to be decommissioned.

    Big question exactly how are the Saudis dispose of their reactors and processing plants when they go end of life.

  19. dougman wrote, “Saudis are lazy and not very useful”.

    I can assure you there are plenty of hard-working and useful Saudis. You don’t need a lot of people to make a nuke. The Manhattan Project involved ~30K but it was working on several technologies at once. SA could make a plan and replace a lot of people with computers/robots/control-systems and do the job with fewer than 1K. The part requiring the most people is in the acquisition and refining of uranium isotopes. They already have a fertilizer industry with uranium contamination. Just purifying the fertilizer chain could give them a decent supply. The isotopic separation has several proven methods: magnetic, laser and diffusion/centrifuge, well known. They don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just build it. The Iranians are using UF6 gas centrifuges. Neither the centrifuges nor the magnetic separators are very high tech by modern standards. Physicists and engineers have been doing that since the 1940s, for pity’s sake. It takes steel, copper and electricity. The Saudis have plenty of that.

  20. oiaohm wrote, “Iran has a Uranium deposit. Saudi Arabia does not.”

    Irrelevant. If the Saudis are going to run 16 nuclear reactors they will have plenty with which to play. Also, there is rock under Saudi Arabia. There will be uranium there for the taking if they invest sufficient funds to the task. You can find uranium in any granite. It’s everywhere, just not economically mined. Money is no object to the Saudis. Further, there will always be someone in the world willing to sell some stuff: North Korea, Pakistan, India, Russia, Africa…

    Saudi Arabia is very likely to have sandstone and granite deposits containing a useful concentration of uranium. Even phosphate fertilizer used in Saudi Arabia has 180 ppm Uranium.

  21. oiaohm says:

    –Why not? The Iranians managed to push their way into getting a bomb in 10 years. —

    There is a difference Iran has a Uranium deposit. Saudi Arabia does not.

    Its like Australia we don’t make Nuke bombs but you don’t need to make Nuke bombs to exploit Uranium. Yellow cake the Uranium ore out the earth mixed with conventional warheads makes one nasty dirty bomb. Also to be nasty Yellow cake can be put in the core of bullets to give 1 enhanced penetration 2 radioactively poison the person shot.

    So a country with the ability to mine Uranium you really cannot prevent them from using the most basic classes of Uranium bombs and bullets being the dirty kind.

    So the only way remove Iran from being able to make any form of Uranium class weapons is provide them with means to use up their Uranium or sell their Uranium. The problem here with Uranium is giving a Country means to use up their Uranium in power plants means giving that country the means to refine Uranium what is required to make the mid to upper end Nuke weapons.

    Saudi Arabia has no Uranium mines or ore bodies. So it is possible to prevent Saudi Arabia from having any class of nuke weapons by controlling the supply of the core mineral. Also nightmare for Saudi Arabia is that the USA mil is looking at doing deals with Australia to get there fuel from our sugarcane and if this goes through the Oil in Saudi Arabia will become worthless to the USA Mil. Yes USA ships will be either Uranium powered or biofuel powered as long term plan.

    Australia does not do enriched uranium for export and also does not export to countries without own enrichment means with conditions that the final product goes into power plans. So for Saudi Arabia to buy their power plant reactor fuel from more sources they need the means to enrich uranium. Please note Australia is not the only country to only export uranium as yellow cake. Why yellow cake due to being lower radioactive than enriched uranium ore is simpler to handle.

    So this is the most highly funny one Iran no matter what can use uranium in war. Then Saudi Arabia has to buy their uranium.

    Robert you have also missed this difference. It does not matter how many skilled people in Nuke tech you have if you don’t have the raw materials. Raw materials you can always use one way or another.

    Something to remember
    http://www.mit.edu/people/dpolicar/writing/netsam/revisionist_history.html
    No. There was no testing whatsoever of a uranium bomb in Alamogordo or anywhere else before Hiroshima.
    This is something people forget. The first time you might find out a country has a functional Nuke is after they drop it. Their is really no requirement todo weapon tests on nukes before usage unless you are wanting to know area of damage.

    Turns out energy is not a major problem to enrich Uranium in the Saudi Arabia case. Something people are not aware of http://www.silex.com.au has a 1MW solar power in Saudi Arabia add on Silex laser uranium processing plant that fits in a 40 foot shipping container assembled and you can make much enriched Uranium as you have ore to convert to what ever grade as you like. So 8 months after Saudi Arabia is approved they could be in production.

    Be thankful that Australia is not is not a Weapon exporting country who does not care who they export to. Yes Australia with a USA style constitution could be a very big problem. Why a production plant for nuke warheads with everything to make warheads by Australian tech is 5x40ft shipping containers.
    Container 1 solar power plant
    Container 2 Uranium laser refinement and this include product molding.
    Container 3 conventional explosive production.
    Container 4 metal refinement and milling and warhead assembly.
    Container 5 raw ore materials required.(please note note even the steel has to be refined)
    The 6 container could be a shipping container based pair ICBM. So a small convey of trucks could be the worst nightmare.

    So fairly much any sandy desert on earth you can manufacture nuke weapons. Heck technically you can do it at sea on the deck of a cargo ship. Combined that with cargo ship deck launch ICBM you have a big problem. So a country without nuke weapons the first you could know about it is when they are fired from a deck of a cargo ship they were produced on.

    Before laser refinement Uranium refinement took at least 20 shipping containers to have the required equipment and then assembly. Yes Uranium refinement has been reduced from 20 containers to 1. Before the year 2013 you required 20 containers after 2013 the tech to only require 1 entered the market.

    The scary part is with laser refinement is most cargo ships these days have big enough generators built into them to process the Uranium.

    The reason why Australia has developed such power effective refinement is that Australia has 1 small reactor for producing medical items that still need to have its rods reprocessed. The reactor is that small that it cannot even power these highly effective laser refinement methods let alone the highly power ineffective methods USA, China and Russia has used. So Australia need something many times more effective than what the USA, China or Russia with there own Nuclear power plants required due to lack of excess power in the Australian power grid.

    Yes it turned out many times more power effective Uranium refinement is many times smaller and makes higher grades.

  22. kurkosdr says:

    They also treat their women horribly.

    Among other things. But, in this “modern” world, there are no bad cultures, even if they involve sheer misogyny and deprivation of basic human freedoms. Everyone is a trade partner, yay!

  23. kurkosdr says:

    Hmm… Why not? The Iranians managed to push their way into getting a bomb in 10 years.

    If Saudi Arabia can face the inevitable “economic countermeasures”, like the ones Iran had to face, they might as well do it.

    Nukes are not a black art anymore.

  24. dougman says:

    Saudis are lazy and not very useful, 100 years ago they all lived in tents and rode camels. They also treat their women horribly.

    Eh.

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