Does Iran have nuclear bomb 'Plan B' using plutonium?
Daily Telegraph claims satellite images indicate that heavy water processing plant at Arak is operational
IRAN has begun making heavy water at a heavily-guarded nuclear facility and is now a step closer to producing a nuclear bomb using plutonium, the Daily Telegraph reports.
The paper has published specially commissioned satellite images that show steam coming from the Arak plant, which has been closed to international inspectors since August 2011. It says the pictures prove that the heavy-water production facility is now operational and that the regime has “crossed the first hurdle” towards making weapons using plutonium.
As the Telegraph explains, “Heavy water is needed to operate a nuclear reactor that can produce plutonium, which could then be used to make a bomb.”
It goes on: "The striking image of steam over the Arak heavy-water complex is a vivid demonstration that the regime has more than one pathway to a potential nuclear weapon."
Until now, international efforts at curtailing Iran’s nuclear programme have been concentrated on the Islamic Republic's attempts to enrich uranium; the evidence from Arak suggests the regime has a "Plan B".
The revelation comes as leading world powers including Britain hold talks with Iran in Kazakhstan to try to "break the deadlock" over the country's nuclear drive.
The Telegraph notes that another rogue state, North Korea, which has recently held nuclear and long-range missile tests, was able to develop similar technology despite its international isolation.
The plant at Arak is said to be heavily protected by "numerous anti-aircraft missile and artillery sites... more than are deployed around any other known nuclear site in the country".
The West has been accused to trying to sabotage Iran's nuclear ambitions, which it insists are peacefully motivated, and the BBC notes that the talks in Kazakhstan "took place against a background of Israeli warnings that it will stop Iran's programme militarily if other means fail".