Iran Announces Fourfold Increase in Low-Enriched Uranium Production

Uranium will be enriched to 3.67 percent, as usual

In an announcement on Monday, an official at Iran’s Natanz enrichment facility said that Iran will ramp up their production of low-enriched uranium, aiming for a fourfold increase in their current rate of production.

At present, Iran is only enriching uranium to 3.67 percent, the level needed to fuel the Bushehr Power Plant. The uranium is generally sent on to Russia for the production of fuel rods. At previous production levels, Iran was producing only a fraction of the fuel they need, and this suggests that with increased sanctions they are looking for more self sufficiency.

Because of the improvement of centrifuge technology since the P5+1 deal began, Iran can increase this enrichment without violating the terms of the deal. The withdrawal of a member (the US) from the deal, also allowed Iran to withdraw from voluntary caps of uranium stockpile, which they did recently.

Iran’s voluntary limit was 300 kg of low-enriched uranium, and with higher production, along with US demands that Russia stop helping them process fuel, its likely they will run up on that limit. This suggests Iran’s announcement they were ending the voluntary stockpile cap was done in anticipation of this new move.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.