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Iran has begun enriching uranium using one of three cascades or clusters of advanced IR-6 centrifuges recently installed at its Natanz underground enrichment plant, UN nuclear watchdog report says for Member States.
A confidential report states that Iran is using a cascade of 174 plants to enrich uranium to a purity of up to 5%. Of the other two IR-6 cascades at the underground plant, one is undergoing passivation, a process that precedes enrichment, and the other is not yet filled with nuclear material.
Earlier this month, Behruz Kamalvandi of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) ), announced that Iran will launch “hundreds” of new and improved IR6 and IR1 centrifuges for uranium enrichment, stating that 500 IR6 units will be activated within 10-15 days after the announcement.
The IAEO spokesman said the centrifuges were activated as part of the “Strategic Action Plan to Lift Sanctions and Protect the Interests of the Iranian People” and to achieve a minimum enrichment level of 190,000 working separation units (SWU) to meet “Iran's level of demand.”
Kamalvandi added that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been informed of the move. Soon after that, the Iranian newspaper Nour News reported that the new centrifuges had been installed in the underground halls of the nuclear complex in Natanz even before the announcement.
In the past, Iranian officials have stated that 190,000 SWU are needed to fuel the reactors at the Bushehr nuclear power plant and the nuclear plant in Tehran.
on a commercial scale, “the program, in terms of nuclear weapons, is huge for a country like Iran.” With sufficient stocks of low-enriched uranium, Iran at this capacity can produce weapons-grade uranium, which is enough to create five nuclear bombs per year.
The same report emphasized that about 650 IR-6 centrifuges would be enough to break through and producing enough enriched uranium for nuclear weapons in about one month. In June, Iran informed the IAEA that it had begun activating 166 IR-6 centrifuges. An IAEO announcement earlier this month said it would activate another 500 IR-6 centrifuges. bringing the total number of such centrifuges to at least 666.
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