Report - Princeton University

Using Commercial Observation Satellites to Verify that Uranium Enrichment Gaseous Diffusion Plants are Not Operating

Abstract

This report examines the degree to which the shutdown of uranium-enrichment facilities, especially of large gaseous-diffusion uranium-enrichment plants (GDPs), could be confirmed using commercial observation satellite imagery. It is concluded that, in the absence of significant concealment efforts, whether or not a large GDP is operating can be determined using commercial observation satellite images at visible or thermal infrared wavelengths. Commercial satellites could therefore play a role in increasing confidence in declarations that enrichment plants have been shut down as part of a moratorium on the production of fissile material for weapons.

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For Academic Citation: Zhang, Hui, and Frank von Hippel. “Using Commercial Observation Satellites to Verify that Uranium Enrichment Gaseous Diffusion Plants are Not Operating.” Princeton University, April 30, 2000.