Milan, 10 Oct. (AKI) - Iran may have the capacity to produce up to 60 nuclear bombs within two years, a leading US non -proliferation expert has told Adnkronos International.
Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Washington-based Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC), was taking part in a summit , "Preventing nuclear proliferation in the Middle East", organised by Italy's Institute for the Study of Foreign Policy (ISPI) and the Italian Foreign Ministry in Milan.
In an interview with AKI, Sokolski raised the alarm about Iran's intentions, claiming that it would have sufficient plutonium after the opening of the Bushehr plant to construct from 30 to 60 bombs.
The nuclear facility at Bushehr is being built under an agreement between the Russian and Iranian governments for 800 million dollars and is expected to begin production in early 2009.
Sokolski said Iran was putting in place the necessary technology and knowledge to recover the new plant's waste using a chemical process that does not need complex installation or specific structures.
"Plutonium that could be used to make atomic bombs," he told AKI. "The fuel for Bushehr will be supplied by the Russians who also said they would dispose of the waste products from it."
But he said few people know that this waste will remain in Iran for two years before being taken away.
"In this time frame the Iranians, with an excuse to analyse the waste, can transfer it to a chemical factory and extract the plutonium," he said.
He said in the first 18 months the plant would use between 22 to 25 tonnes of fuel, from which 300 kilogrammes of plutonium could be recovered from the waste to make from 30 to 60 bombs.
Henry Sokolski heads the nonprofit organisation founded in 1994 to promote a better understanding of strategic weapons proliferation issues among policy-makers, scholars and the media.
He also serves as an adjunct professor at the Institute of World Politics in Washington and is a member of the Congressional Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, to which he was appointed in May 2008
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