Jeffrey LewisWhen Did Pakistan Stop Theiving?

Yesterday, I blogged about a Mark Hibbs story in Nuclear Fuel about Pakistan’s P4 centrifuge. The P4, Hibbs wrote, was either called SLM or “was based on another centrifuge having that name …” Hibbs seemed a little confused because a URENCO official told him that URENCO’s files didn’t show any centrifuge named “SLM.”

Well, that was last week.

Now other senior URENCO officials “well placed sources” tell Hibbs that, yes, the SLM program existed and became the URENCO TC-10:

This was followed by another six-tube centrifuge called SLM. During its development, SLM became known as TC-10, well-placed sources said. According to one Western analyst, some attributes, including the separative power, of SLM/TC-10 and the Pakistani P-4 were similar.

URENCO developed the TC-10 between 1979-1983 after Khan left for Pakistan. The implication is clear:

If it is confirmed that the P-4 machine is based on TC-10, that would strongly suggest that Pakistan continued to steal design information from the Urenco centrifuge program after 1975.

That is a very interesting piece of information.

(Mark Hibbs, “P-4 centrifuge raised intelligence concerns about post-1975 data theft,” Nuclear Fuel 48:7, February 15, 2007, 1, 13.)

How Many Segments in the P1?

A commenter asked, yesterday, how many rotor segments has the P1?

I skipped over that because the answer isn’t super straightforward and didn’t seem material to me.

But, since you ask, the answer is in: Mark Hibbs, “Iran, Libya Centrifuge Probes Point to Extensive Know-how Theft,” Nuclear Fuel, January 3, 2005, 1.

The P1 is derived from the URENCO SNOR and CNOR centrifuges. SNOR comprises one segment with a total throughput under 1 SWU/yr; CNOR comprises six segements with a total throughput of about 3 SWU/year.

The P-1 in Iran turns out to be have four segments with a total throughput somewhere in between 1 and 3 SWU/year (For calculations on Iran’s P1 performance, see: More Fun With SWU and Iranian Centrifuge Developments).


  1. Mark Hibbs (History)

    The attribution in the blog, for information about the SLM centrifuge, which appeared in my two stories, needs to be corrected.

    Prior to publication of the first article in Nuclear Fuel on Jan. 29, I had been told by a senior Urenco official that the SLM centrifuge was not a Urenco centrifuge. That article reflects that information.

    After the publication of that article, I was informed by other sources—not by Urenco or its personnel—that SLM was in fact a Dutch Urenco centrifuge, otherwise known as TC-10. That new information, which I have independently verified to be correct, appeared in the second story which ran in Nucleonics Week on February 15.

    Mark Hibbs

  2. cenoxo

    “Theiving”? When did your spell checker stop working?