Technology

Tehran Converts a Portion of Enriched Uranium for Medicine

March 18, 2022
IranWire
2 min read

The International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed Iran has converted a small fraction of its growing stockpile of highly enriched uranium into a material used in nuclear medicine.

The move – and its public announcement in Iranian state-controlled media – comes after a fraught week for nuclear talks in Vienna, with a tentative agreement briefly thrown into chaos by Moscow’s sudden demand for “guarantees”. It also comes after the release of British-Iranian hostages Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashouri after the UK government agreed to release £400m of frozen Iranian assets.

The decision to reprocess the uranium and publicize it is therefore likely to be a signal to the parties involved that Tehran is ready to return to the JCPOA. The IAEA has said that as of February 19 Iran had a stockpile of 33.2kg of 60 percent enriched uranium, of which 2.1kg, a little over six percent, has been converted at a facility in Isfahan and will later be irradiated at the Tehran Research Reactor.

Later it will reportedly be used to produce molybdenum-99, which decays into an isotope that can be used in body scans to detect cancer and examine blood supply to the heart. Mehr News Agency carried the story in the form of quotes from “informed sources”, adding that the material could be used to treat one million patients.

Under the 2015 nuclear deal Iran agreed to cap its enrichment as 3.67 percent, maintaining a stockpile of up to 300kg overseen by the IAEA. As of February 19, Iran’s overall stockpile was 2,883kg.

 

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Tehran Converts a Portion of Enriched Uranium for Medicine