Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Iranian Nuclear Program Explained

Check out the MEMRI transcript of an interview with Iranian Nuclear Chief Mohammad Sa'idi as he explains the peaceful uses for his country's reactor program:
Interviewer: "You just said that in some cases, heavy water can even be used for drinking."
Mohammad Sa'idi: "Yes."
Interviewer: "Could you elaborate on this?"
Mohammad Sa'idi: "One of the products of heavy water is depleted deuterium. As you know, in an environment with depleted deuterium, the reception of cancer cells and of the AIDS viruses is disrupted. Since this reception is disrupted, the cells are gradually expelled from the body. Obviously, one glass of depleted deuterium will not expel or cure the cancer or eliminate the AIDS. We are talking about a certain period of time. In many countries that deal with these diseases, patients use this kind of water instead of regular water, and consume it daily in order to heal their diseases.
"In other words, the issue of heavy water has to do with matters of life and death, in many cases. One of the reasons that led us to produce heavy water was to use it for agricultural... medical purposes, and especially for industrial purposes in our country."
[Emphasis mine] Wow... "depleted deuterium". I guess that proves to everyone who says that Islamic science hasn't created anything new since algebra over 1,000 year ago is wrong. What exactly is "depleted deuterium", though? A quick Google search shows that, in addition to articles about this interview, some hits describing it as water from which the deuterium has been removed... in other words, water. (Natural water has about 0.015% of its hydrogen in the form of deuterium -- normal hydrogen with a neutron in the nucleus. "Depleted deuterium" would be, apparently, that water with less than 0.0015% deuterium -- chemically indistinguishable from normal water.)

In Sa'idi's defense, he apparently believes that "many countries" use this treatment, so it could be a matter of ignorance on his part rather than malice. The part later in the interview, though, he's flat out lying about something that he should know about:
You may ask why we pursued a heavy-water research reactor, rather than a light-water reactor. This is a [legitimate] question, which deserves an answer. [It is] because this involves simpler technology. The heavy-water research reactors have slightly simpler technology. In what way are they simpler? Light-water research reactors require fuel that is 20% enriched...
In actuality, light water reactors only require uranium enrichment up to about 3.5%, so his claim that they need to go to 20% is complete crap, and evidence that they're trying to hide the reasons for their plans for enriching uranium more highly than needed if they're not planning on making nuclear weapons.

Which, of course, everyone who's not completely brain dead already knows.

Note: The American Thinker and the Infidel Blogger's Alliance, among others, cover the "depleted deuterium" story from different angles.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's deuterium?

Sigh. We chemists get no slack.

It's an isotope of hydrogen. Protium is normal hydrogen. Deuterium(one positron and a neutron) and tritium(a positron and two neutrons) have differing numbers of neutrons in the core.

'Heavy water' largely isn't any different than 'normal water' in a chemical sense---it's all wet. Though there is a difference in how they stop neutrons and how they behave in a magnetic field(nmr spectroscopy(MRI, same thing)).

But chemically? Nope. Radioactive maybe, but water's water.

Denizen Ry

9/06/2006 6:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@chemist Denizen Ry

You must mean 'proton' everywhere that you said 'positron'.

Positrons are 'anti-electrons (spin 1/2 fermions with a mass equal to an electron's mass). Protons are a particle found in an atom's nucleus.


3/15/2008 8:39 PM


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