Uranium enriched to six per cent less than required to make nuclear weapons found at nuclear plant in Iran

Uranium enriched to 84 per cent reportedly found at nuclear plant in Iran

Image of the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant in Iran. Credit: Google maps - Luiz Paulo

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reportedly found uranium enriched to 84 per cent at a nuclear plant in Iran.

Citing two anonymous high-ranking diplomats, Bloomberg reported on Sunday, February 19, that international nuclear inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency found uranium enriched to 84 per cent in Iran last week.

According to the news outlet, this is just 6 per cent lower than the level required to create nuclear weapons. They noted that this is the highest level ever detected by inspectors in the republic to date. The IAEA will now investigate to determine exactly how Iran managed to accumulate uranium enriched to such a high purity they added.

It is believed that the IAEA had previously been informed by officials in Iran that its centrifuges were configured to enrich uranium to no more than a 60 per cent level of purity. The inspectors are thought to have made the discovery at the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran.

However, this is the second time in one month that suspicious enrichment-related activities have been detected. Iranian officials were reportedly quick to label the IAEA claim as ‘a smear and a distortion of the facts’, and denied that uranium above 60 per cent purity had been produced.

IAEA inspectors must now decide whether this high purity of material was produced intentionally. Hundreds of fast-spinning centrifuges used to separate the isotopes are connected by a vast network of pipes. As a result, there is a remote possibility that a high concentration of material could be produced unintentionally as a result.

Speaking with the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency, Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, told them: “The existence of uranium particles above 60 per cent does not mean the same thing as enrichment above 60 per cent”.

A tweet today from Rafael Mariano Grossi, the IAEA Director General, said that the recent verification activities reported by its inspectors would be discussed with Iran. Its board of directors will be informed accordingly he added.


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com