Beyond the Cusp

October 7, 2014

Explosion at Iran’s Parchin Nuclear Plant and What We Might Learn

There is a very good reason why the Iranians continue to refuse to allow International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect the Parchin Military Compound and the areas they suspect is the research facility for nuclear triggers, but that is just the half of it. Today the Iranian semi-official ISNA news agency reported there were two fatalities resulting from a fire which swept through an “explosive materials production unit” which produced a “loud explosion” which was audible several kilometers away. Further reports from opposition Sahamnews outlet claimed the explosion was so powerful it shattered windows some fifteen kilometers away from the site. Any way you slice through the conflicting information, the one thing which is unavoidable is that Iran had a very bad accident in the facilities where their research for a working nuclear trigger is presumed by numerous intelligence sources to be carried out. This should get any thinking person to wondering what the Iranians would want with a complicated, sophisticated high explosive trigger which might require sufficient high explosives stored on sight which might cause an explosion even remotely close to what was reported if they are not producing nuclear weapons from their completely peaceful civilian nuclear research program. But such thinking should raise further questions such as what type of weapon would produce the need for such amounts of explosives.

If it had not been established before, it should now be evident that the Iranians are working towards a nuclear weapons arsenal and not just electrical generation for future needs and medical research and treatments. What remains is to discern is the most likely type of nuclear weapon the Iranian scientists have been ordered to research and produce for their arsenal. If one were to look back in history to the Manhattan Project we would discover that there were two completely different types of nuclear devices dropped on Japan. The program climaxed with the dropping of the two bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” in that order. The bomb dropped on Hiroshima by parachute at 8:15 in the morning was called Little Boy, and it exploded 2,000 feet above the city with a yield equal to approximately 12-15,000 tons of TNT as calculated by the top scientists of the project. The Little Boy bomb was not even tested before being deployed as the physicists were so completely certain of the design that they figured that it did not need to have a demonstration for proof of validity of concept. Little Boy used the Uranium-235 in a gun-style bomb where a machined bullet, projectile or plug which sits at one end of the length of the device with high explosives behind it set to explode when the detonator activates. The projectile travels at high speed into the target which is a block or sphere also made from Uranium-235. The impact speed is set at a sufficient velocity to begin a super-critical mass, initiating a nuclear chain reactive explosion. The design of a bomb of the style and engineering is considered to be so primitive in this the twenty-first century that it can be readily downloaded or found in your local library, assuming there is still a public library in your town in this Internet age. Developing a bomb such as Little Boy would not require any amount of explosives sufficient to shatter windows fifteen kilometers away or be heard over an even greater distance.

So, could the Iranians be working on another design, say the same as the bomb dropped on Nagasaki which was named Fat Man which was an entirely different design which had required a test device before it was approved for use by the military forces in the Pacific to force an end to World War II. Fat Man was an implosion-type nuclear weapon with a plutonium core. Fat Man was detonated at an altitude of approximately 1,800 feet over the city and had a yield of approximately 20,000 tons of TNT. In order to bring the plutonium-240 isotope to critical mass and initiate the chain reaction the surrounding high explosives needed to be designed carefully, crafted with care and near perfection and then detonated in an exacting sequence which places equal and seamlessly even pressure compacting the core until the bomb explodes with greater force than the entire bomb weight in high explosives could ever produce. This type of bomb requires a sufficient mass of high explosives in order to produce the device, but probably not a store of high, medium and slow explosives to have produced the explosions described occurring at the Parchin Military Base. The design for a Fat Man type device is also relatively easy to find though some of the finer points of the device are usually left out or are vaguely defined. There is a very good reason that the design for a Fat Man device are not given anywhere near as completely as the Little Boy device, though neither device’s complete design is given, is that there is another level of nuclear device which requires an implosions fission device similar but more advanced than Fat Man as the precursor in order to attain the force to attain the fusion of a hydrogen bomb, a thermo-nuclear device, a far more destructive device than any fission device by a factor anywhere from ten to a thousand times.

The making of either the gun style or the implosion type device could be developed, even given the sketchy designs available, by any physicist of any repute. Developing a thermo-nuclear device would be considerably more difficult. Such a device starts with an implosion device of sufficient yield that it can compress the entirety of the core device to force the fusion of hydrogen atoms in the core device. Even after developing a large and energetic enough to provide the compressive force, one still has to develop the inner core of the thermo-nuclear device which is never revealed with any accuracy or even imaginary measurements. This is likely wise and makes the development of such weapons of mass destruction that much more difficult which will hopefully handicap those much of the rest of the world prays never get possession of such devices. Iran has been working towards developing such a device for close to two decades. Developing a thermo-nuclear device would require more high explosives as the triggering mechanism would have to be far more sophisticated and thus more experimentation. Perhaps the suspicions of Netanyahu are more valid than the excuses from other locales where all the Israeli protestations are dismissed out of hand. Perhaps we should all simply soothe our suspicions and fears with the fact and hopes that the explosion set the Iranian nuclear weapons program back some relatively large amount. Still, we can also prove our humanity and regret the loss of life and give our sympathy to their families and pray that the Iranian nuclear research and programs never take an additional life, Iranian or anybody from anywhere on our ever shrinking planet.

Below are pictures depicting before and after the explosion:


Picture explosion at Parchin Military Base in Iran

Before/After Parching Military Base explosions


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