IAEA reports advancing uranium enrichment at Iran’s Fordow facility

Advanced IR-6 centrifuges will allow Iran to easily switch between enrichment levels at the underground facility. 

By World Israel News Staff

Iran is preparing advanced IR-6 centrifuges to further enrich uranium in its Fordow nuclear facility, Reuters reported Monday, citing a new report by by the UN nuclear watchdog.

The centrifuges will allow Iran to easily switch between enrichment levels, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in its report.

The move comes amid threats from Iran to use a second cascade of the advanced IR-6 centrifuges.

Earlier this month, 30 of the 35 countries represented by the IAEA Board of Governors backed a condemnation of Iran for “systematic insufficient cooperation,” especially its failure to disclose information relating to undeclared uranium traces found at three sites.

Iran responded by removing dozens of of UN surveillance cameras from its nuclear sites.

On Monday, Iran told the IAEA on Monday that it began to take steps towards further enrichment, including the passivation of the centrifuge cascade. The process feeds uranium hexafluoride gas into the second of two cascades, or clusters, of IR-6 centrifuges installed at the underground site.

According to the confidential report, two IR-6 cascades can enrich to 5-20 percent purity. Iran did not inform the watchdog about exactly how pure the IR-6 centrifuges will enrich the uranium.

While uranium needs to be only 3.67 % pure to generate nuclear power, Iran has enriched its uranium stockpile to 60%, a degree of purity that no country without an atomic weapon has pursued. A nuclear bomb requires uranium to be enriched to 90% purity.

“The Agency has yet to receive clarification from Iran as to which mode of production it intends to implement for the aforementioned cascade, following the completion of passivation,” Reuters cited the report as saying.

Earlier this month, the IAEA published a report that found that Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium had surged to more than 18 times the limit in the 2015 nuclear deal.