Mitutoyo raided for selling "banned" nuclear items

Not fresh off the wires, about a week old
I am surprised no one here jumped on this story...
Frank
TOKYO, Japan (AP) -- Japanese police on Monday raided a precision
instrument maker, a company official said, amid media reports it allegedly exported machinery to China and Thailand that could be used in uranium enrichment.
Investigators raided the headquarters of Mitutoyo Corp. on Monday morning, according to a company official who refused to be named, citing internal regulations. The official said she could not provide further details, but said the company was "cooperating fully" with investigations.
Mitutoyo Corp. is suspected of exporting two three-dimensional measurement machines that can be used for uranium enrichment -- a technology that can produce nuclear fuel or bombs -- to subsidiaries of Japanese firms in China and Thailand in 2001, according to a report carried Sunday by the Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan's largest daily.
The International Atomic Energy Agency also discovered Mitutoyo machinery at nuclear-related sites in Libya during inspections in December 2003 and January 2004, the Yomiuri also said, citing unidentified sources. The Mainichi and Sankei dailies carried a similar report Sunday.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police could not disclose any information on ongoing investigations.
The three-dimensional measurement device is generally used to spot deformations on a range of equipment. It cannot be exported without special government permission because it can also be used to determine centrifugal distances in the process of uranium enrichment, according to Mikio Aoki, an official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Aoki, however, said he was not authorized to speak on the allegations against Mitutoyo, or on the IAEA findings. He said he was unaware of previous cases of alleged illegal export by the company.
Police suspect machinery exported by Mitutoyo may have also reached North Korea via the international black market in nuclear-related technology, the Sankei said.
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
http://www.forbes.com/home/feeds/afx/2006/02/12/afx2519862.html
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200602160149.html
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,18139922%255E31477,00.html
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Frank Fallen wrote:

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,18139922%255E31477,00.html
Shaublin, the Swiss tool maker was raided in a related issue several years back. AFAIK it has to do with the ability to measure, and machine, to very close tolerances for the making of enrichment centrifuges. Kinda ho-hum as news stories go. There is a lot of tooling out there that can hold to the specs required, as I understand it. That some of it gets brought in the back door to countries that other countries don't want to have it, no real surprise either.
Cheers Trevor Jones
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On Mon, 27 Feb 2006 17:39:05 -0500, Frank Fallen

=======================================Hammers and screwdrivers *ARE* used in uranium enrichment.
More anti-terror BS. FWIW -- the PRC has had nukes for like 30 years.
Japan, Inc. has many financial problems and is an aging society with no immigration. Their politicians need something [anything] external to blame their troubles on and occupy public attention.
Uncle George
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It was a high end CMM, so a bit different than a screwdriver. Actually three of them IIRC. Anyway they got pinched a few years back for the same thing with North Korea. As I recall the original purchaser of the CMM was legit, but it ended up on the black market. I don't know how they expect the manufacturer to keep tabs on the equipment after it leaves their factory.
As an aside, the Japanese government tracks every sale of every Japanese built machine tool. They have forms to fill out and they want to know who bought it, where it was installed, and what type of industry it's being used in.
--

Dan

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wrote:

=======================I am sure this keeps many people employed.
Consider that the U.S. was able to make quite serviceable nukes in 1943/44/45 with totally manual machine tools and a great deal of care, and it should be clear why this is simply a feel good measure.
The genie is out of the bottle and he ain't going back. Closest historical analog I see is the introduction of the firearm. In large sizes it rendered the castles obsolete and in the small sizes it rendered the knight-in-armor obsolete, directly leading to the demise of manorialism and the rise of royal nationalism/mercantielism. The bigger the country or the bigger the city, the bigger the target.
To be sure there will be the new Korean Sea or the Iranian Ocean that glows at night, but this will be small comfort to the people that participated in the non eminent domain [instant] urban renewal in the U.S.
Uncle George
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True, but that was a fission bomb. It took a lot of skill and the very best machine tools and minds available. To make a small high yield bomb (the kind that can fly) you need to make a hydrogen bomb. The yield is limitless, providing you can get enough tritium into it. (Near where I live the power company has dumped a considerable amount of tritium into the water shed.)
Anyway, to build that sort of device a good five axis mill and a means to measure accurately are required. Surely those tools can be easily bought here in the US. But to sell them to Iran or N. Korea is pure folly. I'm sure they could, through trial and error, produce a working bomb. To give them high end machine tools and the means to measure the work just reduces the amount of time it will take them to get it right. Then they will have the means to mass produce as well.
--

Dan

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On 28 Feb 2006 07:31:38 -0800, "Too_Many_Tools"

=================and most likely shipped C.O.D. at that.....
Uncle George
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Or driven from Mexico labelled pot ;)
--
Free men own guns, slaves don't
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I believe it was the crossbow that ended feudal times not the firearm. Once the average Joe could make an armour piercing weapon in his hovel, it was all over for the knights.
The trick with nukes isn't just figuring out how to make one that will go off. It's making one that you can deliver. Think of the device as a precice and finicky scientific instrument. It's one thing to build it in place and detonate it. It's all together another thing to build one that will withstand multiple g-loads at launch, fly a huge distance, and hit the target. A fission bomb is heavy relative to its yield. Manufacturing a working hydrogen bomb is a very complex undertaking. Either one would be difficult to deliver.
The suitcase bomb scenario is possible, but only at a very small yield, say 70 tons. The effect would be more psychological than it would "mass destruction" wise. Though it would certainly make a mess and irradiate a fairly large area.
There are few countries that could pull off the manufacture of such a device. Then they would have to get it here undetected, and it would have to work. In theory it's possible, but is it plausible? Every year that goes by brings the technology closer to those who want it but can't put it together. Helping them along with advanced machine tool technology isn't very smart IMO. But it's probably unavoidable.
--

Dan

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Actually some ADMs run from 3-5 Kt in yield. There is speculation that the Soviet units (some 50 or more unaccounted for) were as much as 7-10, using some unique technology and I belive Tritium. Which means they could well be beyond their shelf life and an attempt to detonate them might result in a fizzle.
http://www.rotten.com/library/crime/terrorism/terror-tactics/suitcase-nukes /
One source of information. YMMV
Another
http://www.tinyvital.com/Misc/nukes.htm
Gunner
"A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences." - Proverbs 22:3
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I think a longbow could do as well as a crossbow. The weal link for the knights was the horse, it's not hard to take a horse down.
--
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On Tue, 28 Feb 2006 22:26:33 GMT, Nick Hull

=============The problem is practicing/training. Both crossbows and esp. long bows require both skill and considerable strength. With a firearm a serf, with no particular practice, skill or strength could take out Sir BigB***s after a few minutes practice, esp. if he was standing sholder to sholder with 20 other serfs.
Perfect case of asymetric warfare. Base citizens with almost no skill or training took out the equivilant of an Abrams M1 tank manned by a knight with years of training and with equipment costing hundres or possibly thousands of times what even a bunch of serfs had. Horses and esp. armor was worth a king's ransom.
Unka George
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And yet it didn't prevent Toshiba from selling prohibited high end milling machines to the USSR a few years ago.
D Murphy wrote:

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The paperwork amped up after that episode. What Toshiba did at the time was illegal but the oversight wasn't strict, so they almost got away with it.
--

Dan

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D Murphy wrote:

A company in the US bought a machine tool that was not supposed to be in the US. Somehow the machine tool mfgr. got charged for the import of the machine, probably on its quota limit. Anyway, when they came to put the machine together the serial number of the machine was sent back to the home office in Japan. The technicians all walked off the job and would not touch the machine. It took them a couple of years to find someone to assemble the machine. They still have problems getting factory parts for the machine.
John
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It could also be that the machine violates some other company's patent. The patent may not apply in Japan or they just ignore it, never intending for the machine to leave the country. Then some Japanese company moves it to a US plant or just plain sells it used and it gets exported. Uh oh, could be big trouble for the company that built it.
Also many US companies licensed their designs to Japanese builders with the condition that the machines would only be sold in Japan. But some still ended up here one way or another. Which creates a legal problem for the Japanese builder.
--

Dan

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D Murphy wrote:

Never thought of that. Its a real nice machne though, and belive it or not the mechanical and electrical manuals are pretty good, even thought they are in Japanese with a separate manual for translating the words. Its an O-M vertical cnc live tooling lathe with pallet changer. I forget the model.
John
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    --Well we taught 'em how to be Ferengis back in the '40s; whaddya expect??
--
"Steamboat Ed" Haas : Are you prepared to
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : obey the Noodly Master??
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=====================Japanese always were sharp traders/merchants. They were among the first to create conglomerate trading companies called KEIRETSU see: http://www.witiger.com/internationalbusiness/sogoshosha.htm
The United States has no one to blame but our selves for our current and rapidly increasing economic problems. We have continually (and in too many cases deliberately) mistaken appearance for reality. The only way to have more [in the long term] is to make more. Anything else is simply bourgeoise b***s***
General Motors, Ford and the stock/bond markets [actually the owners of their so-called securities) are about to learn the hard way, the same lesson that Orange County [California] did about the reality of the "magical perpetual motion money machine."
Unka George
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