Iran can make fissile material for nuclear bomb ‘in about 12 days’: US official

The United States Department of Defence has said that Iran could produce enough fissile material to create one nuclear bomb in around 12 days. Colin Kahl, the Undersecretary for policy, made the statement during a hearing with the House of Representatives, explaining that Iran’s nuclear progress since the US left the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018 has been remarkable.

Before the US abandoned the JCPOA, it was estimated that Iran would have needed a year to produce enough material for one nuclear bomb. However, according to Kahl, it now would only take around 12 days to produce a nuclear bomb.

The JCPOA, which the Trump administration left in 2018, had limited Iran’s uranium stockpile to 300 kilograms (661 pounds) and enrichment to 3.67%, which is enough to fuel a nuclear power plant. However, following the US’s departure from the deal, Iran has started producing uranium enriched to 60% purity, which nonproliferation experts say has no civilian use.

Moreover, uranium enriched to nearly 84% is almost at weapons-grade levels of 90%. Iran, however, said that “unintended fluctuations” during the enrichment process “may have occurred” when asked about the presence of the particles.

It is important to note that while Iran has enough uranium to produce several nuclear bombs, building and miniaturizing a weapon to put it on a missile would take months. The US intelligence community has maintained its assessment that Iran isn’t pursuing an atomic bomb.

What is a nuclear bomb?

A nuclear bomb, also known as an atomic bomb or a nuclear weapon, is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions. The explosion of a nuclear bomb can release vast amounts of energy in the form of heat, light, and radiation, causing massive destruction and loss of life. Nuclear bombs work by initiating a chain reaction of nuclear fission, in which atomic nuclei are split apart, releasing energy and more neutrons, which in turn split other nuclei.

This creates a runaway chain reaction that rapidly releases an enormous amount of energy. The destructive power of a nuclear bomb is typically measured in kilotons or megatons, indicating the equivalent amount of TNT required to produce the same explosion.

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