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Iran boosts uranium enrichment capacity to 16,500 SWUs: atomic chief

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-04-08 08:56

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi addresses the 62nd General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria, on Sept 17, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua/IAEA]

TEHRAN - Iran has increased its uranium enrichment capacity to 16,500 separative work units (SWUs), Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), announced on Wednesday, official Islamic Republic News agency reported.

The AEOI announced that it had plans to boost the capacity of its uranium enrichment to 190,000 SWUs.

SWU is the standard measure of the effort required to separate isotopes of uranium during an enrichment process. One SWU is equivalent to 1 kg of separative work.

Salehi also said that Iran has a stockpile of some 5 tons of enriched uranium, 57 kg of which is 20-percent, according to the report.

He noted that 20-percent enriched uranium capacity would reach 120 kg in a year.

The 20-percent uranium enrichment process has been launched as part of Iran's Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions, which was approved by the Iranian parliament in December 2020. The implementation of the action plan by the AEOI began on Jan. 4.

Salehi also stated that Iran's yellow cake production capacity is currently 35 tons annually, said the report.

Iranian authorities have said a boost in uranium enrichment, along with other measures to reduce some commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is a reaction to the U.S. withdrawal from the deal and the failure of European signatories to protect Iran's interests amid U.S. energy and banking sanctions.

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