For over 30 years, politicians from Israel and the US have said that "Iran will have a nuclear weapon in less than a year". [Christian Science Monitor timeline of these warnings]

Some more examples:

I do not have a nuclear engineering degree, but the timelines seem to based on the time taken to produced highly enriched uranium. It's hard for me to know how much time enriching this uranium takes. IranWatch (see above) claims 3-12 months.

My question is twofold:

  1. Could Iran enrich their 20% uranium to 90% in under 12 months?

  2. Alternatively, could they make a nuclear weapen with 20% uranium in under 12 months?

Note: I am in no way suggesting that Iran is seeking to build a nuclear bomb. The question is whether the hypothetical estimates provided are feasible.

  • 3
    What kind of empirical proof would you find acceptable?
    – Sklivvz
    May 26, 2012 at 17:04
  • Hard question, something related to nuclear engineering I guess, I really don't know much about nuclear bombs and engineering
    – Alex Mor
    May 26, 2012 at 17:29
  • 1
    Also I know in this website you have sources which you deem more reliable than others, I myself do not know which sources are more reliable than others.
    – Alex Mor
    May 26, 2012 at 17:31
  • There are several difficult problems in building a nuclear explosive, all of which are rendered easier by the steady advance of technology (and some of them trade off against each other: more material allows a simpler but less efficient design). For the most part they can be worked on in parallel so the longest one rules the schedule. I suspect the limiting factor for Iran is the large scale industrial problem of enrichment and they are very coy about exactly where they stand on that part of the problem. May 26, 2012 at 17:45
  • 3
    There's a concept of a country being able to build a nuclear weapon quickly but choosing not to do so: Nuclear latency or the "Japan option". May 26, 2012 at 22:16


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