Iran has continued to meet its obligations under the interim nuclear deal, according to a new report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog. Tehran has placed more than four tons of its low enriched uranium (LEU) into a pipeline that converts it into dioxide, which would require significantly more processing to become fuel for a potential nuclear weapon.
July 1, 2015
The Institute for Science and International Security, however, noted that the report indicates that only 9 percent of Iran’s newly produced LEU has actually been converted into dioxide. The remaining LEU is in intermediary forms. “When it became clear that Iran could not meet its commitment to convert the LEU into uranium dioxide, the United States revised its criteria for Iran meeting its obligations," the institute claimed in a press release.
But a U.S. official told the Associated Press that the remaining stockpile had been transformed into another oxide that would be even more difficult to reconvert into uranium that could be further enriched to fuel a nuclear weapon. The official reportedly said that technical problems prevented Iran from completing the process exactly as described in the interim nuclear deal, but that the United States was satisfied. “Iran had two requirements under the (interim deal): to end the time period with the same amount of UF6 (enriched uranium) they began it with, and to convert any excess UF6 produced into an oxide form. They've done both,” a senior U.S. official told Reuters.
R. Scott Kemp, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a former science advisor to the State Department on Iran’s nuclear program, also said Iran fully complied with the interim deal.
The following are the main points from the IAEA report.
The Agency confirms that since 20 January 2014, Iran has:
i. not enriched uranium above 5% U-235 at any of its declared facilities;
ii. not operated cascades in an interconnected configuration at any of its declared facilities;
iii. diluted – down to an enrichment level of no more than 5% U-235 – 108.4 kg of UF6
enriched up to 20% U-235;5
iv. fed 100 kg of UF6 enriched up to 20% U-235 into the conversion process at the Fuel Plate Fabrication Plant (FPFP) for conversion into uranium oxide;
v. had no process line to reconvert uranium oxides back into UF6 at FPFP;
vi. not made “any further advances” to its activities at the Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP), the
Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP) or the Arak reactor (IR-40 Reactor), including the
manufacture and testing of fuel for the IR-40 Reactor;
vii. provided an updated Design Information Questionnaire (DIQ) for the IR-40 Reactor and concluded with the Agency a safeguards approach for the reactor (based on the updated DIQ and the safeguards measures agreed on 5 May 2014);
viii. fed 4304 kg of UF6 enriched up to 5% U-235 into the conversion process at the Enriched UO2 Powder Plant (EUPP) for conversion into uranium oxide;
ix. continued its safeguarded enrichment R&D practices at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP), without accumulating enriched uranium;
x. not carried out reprocessing related activities at the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) and the Molybdenum, Iodine and Xenon Radioisotope Production (MIX) Facility or at any of the other facilities to which the Agency has access;
xi. provided information and managed access to the uranium mine and mill at Gchine, to the Saghand Uranium Mine and the Ardakan Uranium Production Plant;
xii. continued to provide daily access to the enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordow;
xiii. provided regular managed access to centrifuge assembly workshops, centrifuge rotor
production workshops and storage facilities, and provided information thereon; and
xiv. provided, in relation to enhanced monitoring, the following:
• plans for nuclear facilities and a description of each building on each nuclear site;
• descriptions of the scale of operations being conducted for each location engaged
in specified nuclear activities; and
• information on uranium mines and mills, and on source material.
Click here for the full report.