Centrifuge Glitch Fuels Latest Iran Scare Stories

Trace Amounts of 27 Percent Enriched Uranium Produced

A new round of scare stories about Iran getting “closer” to producing weapons-grade uranium have been sparked today after a glitch in one of the Fordo centrifuges accidentally over-enriched some of the uranium being processed, making traces of 27 percent enrichment instead of the 20 percent target level.

The IAEA report said Iran explained the small amount as a “technical glitch” and officials said that it was a reasonable explanation. It didn’t stop others from reporting Iran producing the “highest-known enrichment” yet, even if it was a small accidental batch.

The vast majority of Iran’s uranium is enriched to 3.5 percent, the level needed to power the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant. A smaller amount has been enriched to 20 percent, aimed at producing fuel rods for the aging US-built Tehran Research Reactor, which produces medical isotopes.

Officials have repeatedly railed at Iran for being able to enrich uranium at all, and particularly over the 20 percent enrichment, which is technically “highly enriched uranium,” though dramatically short of the 90%-plus level needed for actual weapons grade uranium.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.