Iran supplies more highly enriched uranium machines to Natanz-IAEA

Iran is expanding uranium enrichment beyond the highly enriched 20% purity threshold at a Natanz plant where it is already enriching to 60%, but the new activity does not involve retaining the product, said Monday the UN nuclear watchdog.

This move is likely to help Iran hone its knowledge of the enrichment process – something Western powers generally condemn because it is irreversible – but since this time the product is not collected, it will not speed up. immediately Iranian production of enriched uranium as close as possible to weapons – class. This, however, prompted the International Atomic Energy Agency to “increase the frequency and intensity of its security screening activities” at the Natanz Surface Fuel Enrichment Pilot Plant (PFEP), said. IAEA in a report seen by Reuters. From around 90% uranium is considered military grade.

The IAEA said in a statement describing the report that Iran informed it last week about changes to the configuration of centrifuges, machines that enrich uranium, at the plant – Iran would supply uranium enriched up to 20% in a limited number of additional centrifuges without collecting the product.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi listens to Iranian Atomic Energy Organization chief Ali-Akbar Salehi deliver his speech at the opening of the IAEA General Conference at their headquarters in Vienna , Austria, September 21, 2020 (credit: REUTERS / LEONHARD FOEGER)

“On October 25, 2021, the Agency verified that Iran had started to feed (uranium hexafluoride gas) enriched up to 20% U-235 into a single IR-6 centrifuge in the line of R&D 2 at PFEP and the resulting products and residual streams were being recycled. -Combined, “says the IAEA report, which means that after separating the enriched product, it was mixed with the wastes from the centrifuge and has not been stored.

Iran had said it planned to also feed up to 20% enriched uranium to other simple centrifuges or small and medium-sized cascades, or groups, of machines on the same line, but these were not not powered at the time, according to the IAEA. noted.

Iran has yet to announce a date to resume talks in Vienna on reactivating the 2015 nuclear pact under which it limited its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions by the United States, the ‘EU and UN.

Then-US President Donald Trump abandoned the pact in 2018 and reimposed tough US sanctions. About a year later, Iran began to violate some of the limits of the uranium enrichment agreement.

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