Uranium All Over the Middle East
Here’s a our soft, fuzzy nuclear news of the day, as the UN’s blind, toothless watchdog leaps into action again: New uranium traces found in Syria.
VIENNA – The U.N nuclear agency on Friday reported its second unexplained find of uranium particles at a Syrian nuclear site, in a probe launched by suspicions that a remote desert site hit by Israeli warplanes was a nearly finished plutonium producing reactor.
In a separate report, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran continued to expand its uranium enrichment program despite three sets of U.N. Security Council sanctions meant to pressure Tehran into freezing such activities.
And it said the growing pace of enrichment is causing it to review its inspection routine so that it can maintain oversight of the process. …
The IAEA’s Iran report reflected continued expansion both in the terms of the equipment in use or being set up and the amount of enriched uranium being turned out by those machines — centrifuges that spin uranium gas into enriched material.
Nearly 5,000 centrifuges were processing uranium gas at the Natanz facility as of May 31, said the report, while more than 2,000 others were ready for operation. More than nearly 3,000 pounds — 1,300 kilograms — of low enriched uranium had been produced as of that date, said the more than four-page report.
That compares to just over 2,220 pounds (1,000 kilograms) mentioned in the last IAEA report in February an amount that experts and U.S. officials subsequently said was enough to process into enough weapons grade uranium for a nuclear warhead.