Erlangen 2018 – wissenschaftliches Programm

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AGA: Arbeitsgruppe Physik und Abrüstung

AGA 3: Nuclear Nonproliferation

AGA 3.2: Hauptvortrag

Donnerstag, 8. März 2018, 11:00–12:00, B 0.014

SILEX Laser Enrichment Technology and Its Proliferation Implications — •Ryan Snyder — United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, Geneva, Switzerland

Efforts to develop a commercially viable laser-based process for uranium enrichment have been ongoing since the discovery of the laser in 1960. After limited success with various atomic and molecular laser isotope separation techniques, a new process that relies on the concept of condensation repression may yet prove commercially successful. One example of this technique is the SILEX (Separation of Isotopes by Laser Excitation) process being developed by the Global Laser Enrichment (GLE) project, which can enrich uranium to weapon-grade levels using less space and energy than almost all centrifuge designs. Research programs worldwide are also developing laser systems capable of enriching uranium using this concept. The basic dynamics of the SILEX process will be presented here, along with physical space constraints and energy efficiency estimates for clandestine nuclear weapons production. The proliferation implications of successful commercial demonstration and continued worldwide development of relevant laser systems will also be discussed.

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