WS: SOVIET SCIENTIST PROBABLY HAS INVESTIGATED LASER METHODS OF URANIUM ISOTOPE

Created: 1/28/1974

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This publication la Intended to furnish the Intelligence communityimely survey of significant current scientific Intelligence. The Items herein are baaed on selected Incoming reports of all kinds received during the previous week. Therepresent the views of the Office of Scientific Intelligence and the Office of Weapons Intelligence and are coordinated to the extent possible in the time available within CIA but, being based on the material at hand, are subject to change on receipt of further Information or analysis. We caution against action taken solely on the basis of the preliminary evaluations herein. Substantive questions concern* ing Items In this publication may be addressed directly to the Surveyor Staff. OSI. CIA Headquarters,pjpj Questions concerningshould be forwar-ted through appropriate departmental channels.

CONTENTS

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NUCLEAR ENERGY

Soviet Soientlst Probably Has Investigated Laser1 Methods of Uranium Isotope

Soviet Scientist Probably Hag Investigated Laser Methods of Uranium Isotope Separation: V. S. Letokhov, thelaser scientist known for his work on photodissocia-tion and laser isotope separationiscussed his

On being questioned he usually denied he was working on uranium LIS, or he hedged the question. fVpH^H

ysicist asked Letokhov his opinion on the mostpproaches to uranium isotope separation, suggesting two laser methods involving atomic uranium. Letokhov did not favor either of these approaches. He said he believes the use of uranium hexafluoride (UFg) is best because its chemistry is understood. Also, his recently described two photon standing wave pumping technique can be used selectively to exoite5 atom. Letokhov was aware that the UFg gas is first hit by an IR laser tuned toontaining molecule and then dissociatedV source. He was also aware of the need to operateow temperature. |

Comment:comments indicate that he has at least investigated theoretioal uranium LIS and possibly has even conducted some experiments. This reinforces our belief that the USSR is attempting to develop uraniumprocesses by laser techniques. In spite ofdenials, Letokhov revealed oonsiderabla interest in and knowledge of uranium LIS and is aware of the existance

Weekly Surveyor

of technical problems such as those encountered by US scientists. His comments indicate that he is more likely to pursue the molecular dissociaticjwpproac^ than the atomic photoionization

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