Nuclear expert details challenges of confirming Iran deal compliance

November 26, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A former U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration researcher is available to describe the technical challenges international inspectors face when trying to determine if declared energy programs are, in fact, attempts to develop nuclear weapons.

Purdue University nuclear engineer Robert Bean helped the NNSA develop technologies and protocols for the Department of Energy watchdog group to monitor nuclear programs.

Bean says the two main challenges are determining if what the inspector is seeing and detecting matches the host's stated activities and goals and if the inspector is being allowed to see the totality of the program's activities.

Bean says the international community knows that aspiring nuclear powers, such as North Korea, often lie to inspectors, but deals that allowed inspection of North Korean sites did and do slow nuclear programs.

"I do not know yet whether we can trust Iran to comply with the terms of the new deal," says Bean. "But this deal, even if it were flawed, is a necessary first step to keep nuclear arms from Iran via diplomatic means and not warfare."

Iran has agreed to cap for six months its uranium stockpiles and enrichment capacity at their current levels

Bean says short of Iran test detonating a warhead, it may be impossible to determine in advance if its program is aiming for nuclear weapons because an energy program's technology so closely overlaps with a weapons program.

Writer: Jim Schenke, 765-237-7296 

Source: Robert Bean, 

Related Website:

Purdue University Nuclear Engineering

Note to Journalists: Robert Bean and other Purdue nuclear experts are available in person and via telephone, ISDN, in-studio satellite and Vyvx connection, and Skype. For more information, contact Jim Schenke, Purdue News Service, at 765-237-7296,

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