Finding 84% uranium is natural: nuclear spokesman

February 21, 2023 - 22:44

TEHRAN – Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), has reacted to Western media reports that uranium enriched up to 84% purity has been found in Iran, saying that finding atomic particles with that purity is natural. 

In an interview with Mehr News, Kamalvandi said, “Finding atomic particles with 84% [purity] in the enrichment process is a natural thing. I mean, we may produce 5% and see 11% particles. Or we may produce 20% and see 37% particles. There have been such cases in the past. When we say particles, we mean nuclear particles that can not be seen even under a microscope. Naturally, [the existence of] such particles is a natural thing in the process of enrichment. When you inject foodstuff, if it is high, then it will get enriched more. The final product is important, which is 60%.”

He added, “What matters to the International Atomic Energy Agency is the material that ends up being collected, not the particle that is seen.”

Several western media outlets have reported that the IAEA monitors have found uranium materials enriched up to 84%. 

“The issue is whether it was a blip in the reconfigured cascades or deliberate. The agency has asked Iran for an explanation,” one of two diplomats who spoke to Reuters said of the materials. 

“The IAEA is aware of recent media reports relating to uranium enrichment levels in Iran,” the IAEA said on Twitter on Sunday. “The IAEA is discussing with Iran the results of recent Agency verification activities and will inform the IAEA Board of Governors as appropriate.”

Iran has unequivocally denied the report that it had enriched uranium to levels higher than 60 percent purity, asserting that the nation’s nuclear facilities have never breached the level.

Behrouz Kamalvandi made comments on Monday in response to the Bloomberg article that claimed “the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is seeking to understand how Iran acquired uranium enriched to 84% purity.”

Speaking to the Iranian state-run IRNA news agency, Kamalvandi said that Bloomberg’s article was an attempt to falsify the facts.

He continued by saying that, throughout the enrichment process, the mere presence of uranium particles with purity levels exceeding 60% does not indicate that uranium is being enriched at levels above 60%.

The official also said that the presence of such particles is a completely typical problem during the enrichment of uranium and may occur even if the feedstock entering centrifuge cascades temporarily decreases.

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