Iran claims Bushehr nuclear power station is "logistically complete"
That means it is ready to be loaded with fuel and ought to be just a turn-key from being operational.
Russia is reportedly holding back fuel for 2 months, pending UN process.
Iran claims it has paid Russia in full and wants the fuel delivered now.
Iran is also noting that Russia's delay validated its push to do its own uranium enrichment, with some justification, although it is a bit of a catch-22.
Further, Iran announced its intent to tender for another power station, 2GW this time.
There are conflicting reports about whether some (or most?) of the Russian contractors at Bushehr have left the site, and possibly Iran.
It is variously reported that they have, have not, or that they have but it is just normal crew shift rotation.
It is an interesting path: Iran does have the right to pursue nuclear power, and if the proliferation treaty partners won't supply fuel, then they have the right to make their own; but if they pre-emptively cross a proliferation line, then they lose the treaty entitlement to buy fuel.
The Iranian fuel cycle development is way more than needed for minimal open loop power production, they are clearly pushing for complete self-sufficiency, but they also have at least three options to jump to bomb production.
Personally I think the idea that they'd go with bomb grade highly enriched uranium is misguided, as I've said before. The easy way to do it remains going to fuel grade enriched uranium and doing a quick burn to extract plutonium.
That is one reason why some people are really nervous about Bushehr and it going operational; if the Iranians have done their homework and have good scientists and a process free from micromanagement they can get bombs within just over six months from when the fuel is loaded into Bushehr.
It would be bloody obvious when they extracted the fuel early for reprocessing, but very little time or opportunity to do anything about it if they have distributed extraction facilities.
Which is why these are dangerous times, especially combined with the other internal political pressures about both sides, and the opportunities in terms of assets being available.
Well, that was depressing.
> the idea that they'd go with bomb grade highly enriched uranium is misguided, as I've said before
I disagree. A HEU bomb does not need an implosion mechanism and Iran could use a simple design, which they do not need to test (immediately). Thus a HEU bomb would give them the needed political flexibility to produce a bomb while staying within the NPT as long as possible and avoiding US attack.
The failed test of a Pu implosion bomb (a la North Korea) would almost certainly trigger a US/Israel response.
true, but HEU is hard to get, requires very large high power consumption facilities and is a dead end in terms of a long term infrastructure.
Really the only gain is that the device design is straightforward.
So, if you want a full cycle, compact distributed facilities and if you trust you have good scientists, then enriching to fuel grade and burning to plutonium is the way to go.
My reading is that the Iranians are covering all the angles but their primary goal is to have production facilities for plutonium devices.
I'd also be they have ambitions to make boosted and possibly thermonuclear devices.