OPINION & NEWS: Syria’s uranium mining capabilities pose little proliferation risk; Israel says can’t ignore regional efforts to acquire WMD

Extracting uranium from phosphates

Phosphate extraction is just another (uneconomical) form of uranium mining and milling. The resulting uranium would still need to be enriched, using a separation method such as gaseous diffusion or strong rotation. Doing so would require a facility such as the centrifuge plant that Iran is constructing near Natanz. That is, and always has been, the bottleneck that we worry about from a proliferation perspective. Otherwise countries like Kazakhstan, Niger, Naminbia and Uzbekistan would be major nuclear proliferation concerns. [complete article]

Israel says can’t ignore regional efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction

The deputy chairman of the board of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, Gideon Frank, warned delegates at the 51st International Atomic Energy Commission in Vienna Wednesday that Israel would not be able to ignore the efforts by various countries in the Middle East to develop weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them.

Even though Frank did not specify the countries in question, his statements hinted heavily at Iran and Syria.

Responding to the near permanent call by Arab states for Israel to agree to a nuclear weapons-free Middle East, Frank reiterated a series of preconditions for achieving what he described as “a noble goal,” stressing that this “cannot be advanced out of context.” Frank stressed that the manifestation of this “vision,” which is interpreted as a call on Israel to relinquish its nuclear capabilities, can only occur in stages. [complete article]

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