Destruction of three key Iran nuclear facilities would stop program
[ Page 15 ]
Iran's nuclear program contains many more elements, but the three facilities discussed above are critical for nuclear weapons development. Destruction of these facilities would have the greatest impact on Tehran's ability to manufacture nuclear weapons--the UCF by denying Iran the ability to make UF6 for enrichment, the Natanz facility for enriching uranium, and the Arak heavy water plant for use in plutonium production system. Of the three, the Arak heavy water facility is the least important--the plutonium production reactors at the site are not scheduled for completion for years, and thus the heavy water produced by the Arak facility will not be necessary until the reactors are completed-- while Natanz is the most important site for Iranian production of fissile material. The destruction of the Natanz facility is critical to impeding Iran's progress toward nuclearization.
Iranian nuclear targets would not be buildings as such but rather processes, and, given the aiming information now available, they could indeed be interrupted in lasting ways by a single night of bombing. An air attack could succeed while inflicting relatively little physical damage and no offsite casualties, barring gross mechanical errors that occur only rarely in these days of routine precision.