Jump to search Jump to main navigation Jump to main content Jump to footer navigation

Global Security Newswire

Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

Produced by
NationalJournal logo

Key Iran Official Eyes Expanding Disputed Uranium Operation

International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors and Iranian technicians disconnect some of Iran's uranium-enrichment centrifuges under a short-term multilateral agreement implemented in January. A top Iranian atomic official recently said his nation would need a larger enrichment capacity to meet its domestic electricity needs. International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors and Iranian technicians disconnect some of Iran's uranium-enrichment centrifuges under a short-term multilateral agreement implemented in January. A top Iranian atomic official recently said his nation would need a larger enrichment capacity to meet its domestic electricity needs. (Kazem Ghane/AFP/Getty Images)

A top Iranian official said his country may need a larger uranium-enrichment program for its single nuclear-power facility, the Associated Press reports.

"To meet the annual fuel needs of the Bushehr plant, we must have 50,000 first-generation centrifuges in order to be able to produce 30 tons of nuclear fuel a year," Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, said in a state media report quoted by AP on Monday.

Iran wants to be less reliant on Russian fuel for the site, according to AP. The Persian Gulf power now holds about 20,000 enrichment machines, of which about 9,000 are operating.

Salehi added on Sunday that enriching uranium "from 1 percent to 90 percent is our right," Iran's Fars News Agency reported. Uranium enriched to 90 percent purity can fuel nuclear bombs, and capping Iran's refinement far below that level is one objective for the United States and other powers engaged in dialogue with the Middle Eastern nation.

Iran insists its atomic ambitions are peaceful, but agreed to temporarily stop installing new centrifuges and refrain from enriching uranium above 5 percent under a six-month accord with six other governments. The deal, which took effect in January, is designed to lay the groundwork for a long-term deal restricting activities that could help the nation build nuclear weapons, if it chose to do so.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last week said Tehran is now capable of generating enough material for a bomb in two months, and suggested that a six- to 12-month buffer period would be "significantly more."

On Monday, a senior Israeli official said Kerry's comment was "worrying," Reuters reported.

"We will not be able to adopt and accept any agreement that keeps Iran within a range of months to a year from nuclear weaponry, because such an agreement would not hold water," Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said.

Note to our Readers

GSN ceased publication on July 31, 2014. Its articles and daily issues will remain archived and available on NTI’s website.

NTI Analysis

  • Open a Nuclear Fuel Bank

    July 11, 2014

    NTI Co-Chairman and CEO Sam Nunn calls for swift action to resolve remaining issues and open an IAEA nuclear fuel bank.

  • Nuclear Disarmament Resource Collection

    May 23, 2014

    The Nuclear Disarmament Resource Collection contains information and analysis of nuclear weapons disarmament proposals and progress worldwide, including detailed coverage of disarmament progress in countries who either possess or host other countries' nuclear weapons on their territories.

Country Profile

Flag of Iran

Iran

This article provides an overview of Iran's historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

Learn More →