Nuclear watchdog says Iran enriching up to 60% at underground Fordow nuclear facility

Nuclear watchdog says Iran enriching up to 60% at underground Fordow nuclear facility

Iran has begun producing uranium enriched up to 60% in its underground Fordow nuclear facility, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi said on Tuesday, bringing the country closer to weapons grade material.

“Iran had started producing high enriched uranium – UF6 enriched up to 60% – using the existing two cascades of IR-6 centrifuges in the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP), in addition to such production that has taken place at Natanz since April 2021,” the IAEA said in a statement.

The statement added that Iran has installed more “cascades of advanced IR-6 centrifuges” and plans a “significant expansion of low enriched uranium production – UF6 enriched up to 5% or up to 20% – at Fordow,” which is near the north-central city of Qom, through those advanced centrifuges.

This comes hours after Iranian state media Press TV reported that Iran had informed the IAEA it had started boosting its enrichment of uranium to the purity level of 60% in retaliation to the IAEA’S board of governors calling on Iran to cooperate with an investigation into unexplained traces of uranium found at undisclosed Iranian sites.

Tehran “described the move as a strong message to the recent anti-Iran resolution passed by the IAEA’s Board of Governors,” Press TV said.

The IAEA statement went on to add: “Director General Grossi said the Agency will inform Iran of its intention to increase the frequency and intensity of its verification activities at FFEP in accordance with the Safeguards Agreement.”

Grossi also said “Iran continues to advance its enrichment activities at the Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) in Natanz and now plans to install a second production building, capable of housing over 100 centrifuge cascades.”

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