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Iran begins enriching uranium in new breach of nuclear deal

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Iran begins enriching uranium in new breach of nuclear deal:


Iran has resumed 20 percent uranium enrichment at its sensitive Fordow nuclear facility— a major step away from a 2015 nuclear deal struck with world powers.


  • Enriched uranium can be used to make reactor fuel but also nuclear bombs. Weapons-grade uranium is 90% purity.
  • The move could complicate the incoming Biden administration’s plans to restart nuclear talks with Tehran.

Iran’s changing attitude:

  • Iran, which insists that its nuclear programme is peaceful, has rolled back a number of commitments under the deal.
  • It has said it is retaliating for the US economic sanctions that were reinstated in 2018 by President Donald Trump when he abandoned the accord, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

What is enriched uranium?

  • Enriched uranium is produced by feeding uranium hexafluoride gas into centrifuges to separate out the most suitable isotope for nuclear fission, called U-235.
  • Low-enriched uranium, which typically has a 3-5% purity of U-235, can be used to produce fuel for commercial nuclear power plants.
  • Highly enriched uranium has a concentration of 20% or more and is used in research reactors.


Why is 20% purity significant?

  • Experts at the Arms Control Association said that 120kg of uranium enriched to 20% was about half the amount of uranium that, when enriched to weapons-grade (90% or more), was necessary for one bomb .
  • They also warned that the production of highly enriched uranium would pose a more serious near-term proliferation risk.


Prelims Link:

  1. What is JCPOA? Signatories.
  2. Iran and its neighbours.
  3. What is IAEA? Relation with the UN.
  4. Members of IAEA.
  5. Programs of IAEA.
  6. Board of Governors- composition, voting and functions.
  7. What is Uranium Enrichment?

Mains Link:

Write a note on JCPOA.

Sources: the Hindu.