Friday, December 28, 2012
Weapons of Mass Destruction
RSIS Report: The AP Graphs: A Preliminary Discussion
Dec 19, 2012 – David Albright
Despite the AP’s error, some of public attacks on the AP were excessive and unfair, and apparently motivated by ideological reasons rather than scientific analysis.
•In particular, assertions made in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists that “This diagram does nothing more than indicate either slipshod analysis or an amateurish hoax,” seem particularly unsupported by any facts or analysis, even accounting for the mistake in the units.
•Determining the truth in leaks like this is usually very complicated and rushing to judgment often results in mistaken analysis.
•Moreover, the IAEA has a substantial amount of information to support its suspicions about nuclear explosive yield calculations by Iran, much more than just the AP graphs. Thus, using this AP graph to try to judge the quality or quantity of all the IAEA’s information is unwarranted.
•For example, a mistake by some in the public debate has been to assume that if the AP graph has this error then all the IAEA information, and hence its assessments, must also be wrong. Likewise, efforts to find a similar graph in the open literature and assert it was copied by the leaking country and leaked to the AP (and given to the IAEA earlier) also seem far-fetched, given the length and care exercised by the IAEA in its investigations of information relevant to the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program. Such claims are likely wrong and are misleading about IAEA’s information on this important topic. Mostly what these assessments accomplish is to confirm that indeed the AP graph represents a calculation of a nuclear explosion without providing any credible analysis of its source or insight into the information possessed by the IAEA.