Laser advance may increase spread of nuclear bomb, SMH, William Broad, August 22, 2011 In a little-known effort, General Electric has successfully tested laser enrichment for two years and is seeking permission from the US government to build a $US1 billion ($960 million) plant that would make reactor fuel by the tonne.
That might be good news for the nuclear industry, but critics fear that if the work succeeds and the secret gets out, rogue states and terrorists could make bomb fuel in much smaller plants that are difficult to detect……. critics want a detailed risk assessment. Recently, they petitioned Washington for a formal evaluation of whether the laser initiative could backfire and speed the global spread of nuclear arms.
”We’re on the verge of a new route to the bomb,” said Frank von Hippel, a nuclear physicist who teaches at Princeton University. ”We should have learnt enough by now to do an assessment before we let this kind of thing out.” New varieties of enrichment are considered dangerous because they simplify obtaining the fuel……http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/laser-advance-may-increase-spread-of-nuclear-bomb-20110821-1j4mm.html