Reports that Iran is running out of the raw material used to make weapons grade uranium, a product called yellow cake, has galvanized the international community into action in an attempt to close off possible sources of supply. Suggestions that we would sell nuclear materials to Iran are ridiculous says the Pakistan Atomic Energy commission. Representatives from the Iranian buying office were here just last week having tea with us a spokesman said. The subject of yellow cake did not even come up.
Interviewed on the BBC News at Ten program Sir Humphrey Appleby private secretary in British Foreign Office expressed mild concern that although their contacts in Kazakstan and Uzbekistan, two of the world’s largest producers of yellow cake, had given them assurances no materials would be sold to Iran they appeared unsure of where the material was stored and who was responsible for sales. Mining and refining rights having been recently sold to ex KGB officer Vladimir Ripemoff, Mr Ripemoff was unavailable for comment as his yacht was said to be temporarily out of radio contact.
Iran’s stockpile of yellow cake, the concentrate made from uranium ore, was first acquired from South Africa in the 1970’s as part of the Shah’s civil nuclear program but is reported to be nearly run out. Iran has two civil reactors, the Arak Heavy water reactor and a new Russian built reactor at Bushehr for which the Russians have undertaken to supply low enriched prefabricated fuel rods. Some 20 countries around the world mine uranium ore and most enrich it locally to the concentrate grade called yellow cake. The International Atomic Energy Authority has said 200 kgs of yellow cake are needed to make 1 kg of weapons grade uranium. About 20 kgs of highly enriched weapons grade material are required to make a bomb.
More worrying was the outcome of a combined US/Georgian sting operation in 2006 where they arrested a bald headed sickly looking Russian man in possession of 100kgs of highly enriched uranium which he said was for sale. 200 miles of Armenia separates the borders of Georgia and Iran.
Meanwhile Iran’s president Ahmadinejad has claimed Iran’s oil is fast running out and the country urgently needs to develop an alternative energy source. Of course our need for uranium is purely peaceful he said in a recent interview we only have 95 years of oil reserves left.
Editor’s Note: This story is based on facts, with satirical elements added for effect.