IAEA: Iran activating uranium enrichment equipment

August 9, 2010 22:55

VIENNA — The International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran has activated equipment to enrich uranium more efficiently.

The Vienna-based watchdog says Iran is using a second set of 164 centrifuges linked in a cascade, or string of machines, to enrich uranium to up to 20 percent at its Natanz pilot fuel enrichment plant. Another cascade there has been producing uranium enriched to near 20 percent since February.

IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor says that when inspectors visited the facility on July 17, Iran was "feeding nuclear material to the two interconnected 164-machine centrifuge cascades" in violation of UN resolutions.

She said Monday that Iran had informed the IAEA in March of its intentions to link the two cascades.

At 20 percent, uranium can be turned into weapons-grade material much more quickly than less-enriched uranium. Teheran denies it has such aims and says its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes only.

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