Topics Covered: Developments in science and technology.
Iran says it has started enriching uranium to 60%:
Iran has started enriching its uranium supply to 60 percent purity — the closest the country has ever come to the level needed for a weapon — in response to the sabotage of an Iranian nuclear site last weekend linked to Israel.
What is the goal of uranium enrichment?
Uranium contains a rare radioactive isotope, called U-235, that can be used to power nuclear reactors at low enrichment levels and to fuel nuclear bombs at much higher levels.
- The goal of uranium enrichment is to raise the percentage levels of U-235, which is often done through the use of centrifuges — machines that spin a form of unrefined uranium at high speeds.
How much enriched uranium does Iran now possess?
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the nuclear-monitoring arm of the United Nations, Iran as of February had amassed 2,967.8 kilograms of uranium — roughly 14 times the limit under the nuclear accord and theoretically enough to power about three atomic bombs if refined to weapons grade. The stockpile includes 17.6 kilograms enriched to 20 percent — also forbidden under the accord until the year 2030.
Why does Iran have more enriched uranium now?
After President Donald J. Trump repudiated the Iran deal in 2018, reimposed economic sanctions on Iran and added other penalties, Iran undertook a graduated series of steps away from compliance with the deal to retaliate — increasing its 3.67 percent uranium supply, adding centrifuges, raising uranium purity in some of the supply to 20 percent and restricting international inspectors’ access to some nuclear sites. All the while, the country said these were easily reversible actions.
What’s the concern now?
What makes the 60 percent enrichment level particularly threatening is that the tricky process of enrichment becomes far easier and requires fewer centrifuges as it moves into the higher purities. In other words, getting to 90 percent purity is much easier starting from 20 percent, and easier still starting from 60 percent.
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- Iran and its neighbours.
- What is IAEA? Relation with the UN.
- Members of IAEA.
- Programs of IAEA.
- Board of Governors- composition, voting and functions.
- What is Uranium Enrichment?
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Sources: the Hindu.