In our eagerness to clamp down on Iran’s uranium-enrichment and potential plutonium-production activities relating to its small heavy-water reactor, both those in favor and those opposed to the Iran deal have glossed over what prompted our worries in the first place: the possibility of military diversions from the light-water power reactor (LWR) at Bushehr.
If we want to close the door on possible nuclear Irans elsewhere, we’d be wise to turn our attention to the proliferation risks such power reactors pose. The good news is that what might help most in addressing these risks – remote automated surveillance that can be updated 24/7 – is something the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has already secured at Natanz and many of the other nuclear sites it inspects around the globe. The problem is that we haven’t yet insisted on such surveillance at Bushehr and apparently are not inclined to do so.
It’s difficult to understand why.