Iran may be limiting growth in sensitive nuke stockpile

May 6, 2013 18:21

VIENNA - Iran appears to be pressing ahead in using some of its most sensitive nuclear material to make reactor fuel, diplomats said on Monday, a step that could help buy time for diplomacy between Tehran and world powers.

Iran's possession of medium-enriched uranium gas is closely watched in the West as Israel, which has threatened to attack its arch-foe if diplomacy fails to stop its nuclear drive, says it must not amass enough for one bomb if further processed.

Since Iran in 2010 began refining uranium to a fissile concentration of 20 percent - a relatively short technical step away from the level required for nuclear arms - it has produced more than the 240-250 kg which would be needed for one weapon.

But while the stockpile has expanded, Iran has still kept it below the Israeli "red line" by converting part of the uranium gas into oxide powder in order, Tehran says, to yield fuel for a medical research reactor in the Iranian capital

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