Iran has produced first batch of Uranium enriched to a purity level of 60% at Shahid Ahmadi Roshan nuclear facility.
Production of 60% enriched uranium is currently 9 grams per hour. The enrichment was completed in two days, Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, was quoted as saying by Iranian state media.
The 20% enrichment which was already underway at the facility continues in parallel with the 60% enrichment, he said, adding "the Natanz site is still standing and moving forward vigorously.”
Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA had said that enriching Uranium Hexafluoride (UF6) up to 60% was done in two cascades of IR-4 and IR-6 centrifuges in Natanz, adding, “This will improve significantly both the quality and quantity of radiopharmaceutical products.”
The production of radiopharmaceuticals is possible even with 20% enrichment, but "as the richness increases, our efficiency increases and the amount of Molybdenum also increases, while the production time becomes shorter and the process easier", Salehi explained. Molybdenum has many civilian uses including in medical imaging. It is also used as a catalyst in the refining of petroleum and an alloying agent in steel.
Iran’s enrichment comes less than week after Natanz facility was attacked. It caused power supply to fail damaging an unspecified number of centrifuges.
President of Iran Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday the decision to boost Uranium enrichment was a response to arch-foe Israel's "nuclear terrorism" against its Natanz facility. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied involvement but local media, citing intelligence sources, said it was a sabotage operation by the Mossad spy agency.