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After the incident in the nuclear facility: Iran wants to enrich uranium more


After the sabotage of Natan's nuclear facility, Iran apparently wants to send a sign of strength. In the ongoing negotiations on the nuclear deal, Tehran announced that it would drastically increase the enrichment level of its uranium.

Enlarge image

Centrifuges in Natans (archive picture)


What exactly happened at the Iranian nuclear facility in Natans last weekend is still unclear.

Apparently there was a problem in the complex's power grid.

The Iranian leadership says that it was an "act of terrorism".

Israeli media report on a digital attack by the foreign intelligence service Mossad.

The Iranian nuclear negotiator Abbas Araghchi has now announced that his country will ramp up uranium enrichment as an immediate response.

Various media reports, such as the Washington Post, but also the English-language Iranian government broadcaster Press TV.

This is not about larger quantities, but about a higher degree of enrichment, specifically 60 percent is being talked about.

So far, Iran had enriched its nuclear fuel to 20 percent.

To understand: The isotopes uranium-235 and uranium-238 occur in natural uranium, very much of the former and very little of the latter.

Most nuclear reactors, but especially weapons, require a high proportion of uranium-235.

In the case of fuel for reactors like the one in the Iranian town of Bushehr, an enrichment of the order of four percent is necessary.

When used in nuclear weapons, the uranium-235 is normally enriched to a proportion of 85 percent.

This value is once again well above what Iran has now announced.

Both uranium isotopes have different weights.

To separate them, a specific uranium compound, gaseous uranium hexafluoride, is fed into gas centrifuges.

These plants are also in Natans.

Inside the centrifuges, a cylinder rotates extremely quickly, the heavier uranium-238 accumulates in one area, the uranium-235, which is desired as a nuclear fuel, in another.

The government in Tehran insists on using the facilities only for peaceful purposes.

Talks are currently underway in Vienna regarding a return of the USA to the nuclear deal with Iran.

However, Tehran has violated the contract several times, for example when more powerful centrifuges were put into operation in Natans at the weekend immediately before the incident.

According to the agreement, the degree of enrichment in uranium should also be less than four percent.


Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2021-04-13

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