Tuesday 2 March 2021
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todayonline - 6 days ago

Iran producing highly enriched uranium faster than law requires

VIENNA - Iran is producing highly-enriched uranium faster than called for by the law under which it started the process of enriching to 20% fissile purity last month, diplomats and a report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog on Tuesday said. As part of a recent acceleration of its breaches of its 2015 nuclear deal with major powers, Iran has begun refining uranium to 20% at Fordow, a site that was built in secret inside a mountain where the deal says Iran cannot enrich at all. Until last month Iran had not enriched beyond 4.5% purity - above the deal s limit of 3.67% but still far below the 20% it achieved before the deal, or the 90% that is weapons-grade. Uranium is considered highly enriched as of 20%. They are producing 15 kg a month of uranium enriched to 20%. That is their production rate, a senior diplomat said. Recent legislation that required Iran to start enriching to 20% stipulated that at least 120 kg (265 pounds) of uranium refined to that level be produced each year, which amounts to 10 kg a month. A second diplomat said Iran was slightly above the target of 10 kg a month. A quarterly report on Iran s nuclear activities by the U.N. nuclear watchdog on Tuesday obtained by Reuters said that as of Feb. 16 Iran had produced 17.6 kg of uranium enriched up to 20%, with the next level down being enriched between 2%-5%. Iran s overall stockpile of enriched uranium grew by 524.9 kg to 2,967.8 kg in the quarter, far above the 2015 deal s 202.8 kg stockpile limit though still a fraction of the more than eight tonnes Iran had prior to the deal. REUTERS


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