The Doomsday Clock is an internationally recognized design that conveys how close we are to destroying our civilization with dangerous technologies of our own making. First and foremost among these are nuclear weapons, but the dangers include climate-changing technologies, emerging... Read More
Do you think the hands of the Doomsday Clock should be closer to or farther from midnight?
Piani is a consultant who has spent more than 45 years in science and nuclear engineering. From 1993 to 1998, he was senior manager of South Africa's SAFARI-1 research reactor; there, he was involved in converting the reactor to low-enriched uranium, both for fuel and for targets in the production of molybdenum 99. Currently, through the International Atomic Energy Agency, he helps nations engage in strategic planning for the utilization of research reactors and assists nuclear newcomers in adopting strategies for nuclear power programs. He received a PhD in material science from the University of South Africa in 1981.
The author argues that any international strategy for minimization of highly enriched uranium is unlikely to succeed if it aims to make all research reactors completely safe from a proliferation perspective.
The author suggests that developed countries could contribute more to nonproliferation by focusing efforts and funding on adequately controlling highly enriched uranium than by attempting to eliminate all uranium enriched above a particular threshold.
The author writes that managers of research reactors debating whether to convert to low-enriched uranium must decide, among other things, whether conversion is feasible and whether it can be carried out in an efficient, economical way.