Connect to share and comment

Iran increasing its ability to produce nuclear bombs: IAEA report

The International Atomic Energy Agency says that Iran has made progress in its ability to produce material for a nuclear bomb since February.

iran natanz iaea report may 2013Enlarge
The Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, 180 miles south of Tehran, Iran, on April 9, 2007. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

A new report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says that Iran has made progress since February in its ability to produce material for a nuclear bomb.

In the confidential update, obtained by media organizations, the United Nations’ atomic agency said Iran had installed almost 700 advanced IR2m centrifuges at its Natanz plant, BBC News reported. The centrifuges increase its capacity to refine uranium.

According to Reuters:

Western concerns about Iran are focused largely on uranium enrichment plants at Natanz and Fordow, as such material refined to a high level can provide the fissile core of an atomic bomb.

The Natanz plant enriches uranium to 5 percent, and the Fordow plant enriches uranium to 20 percent, according to BBC News. Nuclear weapons need uranium enriched to 90 percent.

The IAEA report said no new equipment was being operated at Fordow.

Iran has also transported a reactor vessel to a plant near the town of Arak but not installed it, the UN said, according to Reuters.

"Once the reactor operates, it could spawn more than enough weapons-grade plutonium for a bomb per year, should Iran ever decide to do that," nuclear expert Mark Hibbs of the Carnegie Endowment told Reuters.

Iran claims it is developing nuclear technology for energy generation and medical purposes only.

More from GlobalPost: Canada, US boycott UN nuclear disarmament talks headed by Iran
 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/130523/iran-increasing-its-ability-produce-nuclear-bombs-iaea