Rock solid

From the March 3rd-9th 2012 print edition of The Economist:

“A dual-use technology is one that has both civilian and military applications. Enriching uranium is a good example. A country may legitimately do so to fuel power stations. Or it may do so illegitimately to arm undeclared nuclear weapons. few, however, would think of concrete as a dual-use technology. But it can be. And one country – as it happens, one that is very interested in enriching uranium – is also good at making what is known as “ultra-high performance concrete” (UHPC).”

Which country might that be?

“Iran is an earthquake zone, so its engineers have developed some of the toughest building materials in the world. Such materials could also be used to protect hidden nuclear installations from the artificial equivalent of small earthquakes, namely bunker-busting bombs.”

The problem of Iran and its nuclear intentions is a thorny one; there are no easy answers. This type of solid (sic) factual background shows the challenges to be overcome if a military solution is attempted.