Iran nuclear deal is technically impossible: Experts

UNITED NATIONS - The uranium fuel agreement Iran struck with Turkey and Brazil is technically impossible as it fails to allocate enough time to make the fuel, a Western diplomat said here Monday.

By (AFP)

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Published: Tue 25 May 2010, 10:36 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:59 AM

¨It is technically impossible since the Iranians want the fuel to be made within a year but it will take at least one and a half years,¨ said the diplomat, who asked not to be named due to the sensitive nature of the issue.

The accord calls for Tehran to ship around half its stock of low-enriched uranium to Turkey and later receive a supply of more highly enriched uranium it needs for its Tehran research reactor (TRR), which makes isotopes for medical use.

The United States backed the deal in order for Iran to reduce its stockpile of uranium below the amount needed to make a first bomb.

Iran’s uranium enrichment activities are at the heart of fears about its nuclear program because highly enriched uranium of over 90 percent purity can be used to make an atom bomb.

Iran has been enriching uranium up to five percent in what it says is an attempt to make low-enriched fuel for civilian power reactor use.

The fuel Iran needs for its research reactor is just under 20 percent enriched, a level closer to weapon-grade.

Iran formally notified the UN International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna Monday of its nuclear fuel swap deal with Turkey and Brazil.

Delegates from the three countries handed to the IAEA a letter about the May 17 deal struck in Tehran.

The IAEA did not immediately comment on the content of the letter but according the text of the agreement released last week Iran has ¨expressed its readiness to deposit its LEU (low enriched uranium - 1200 kg) within one month.

¨On the basis of the same agreement the Vienna Group should deliver 120 kg fuel required for TRR in no later than one year,¨ the May 17 text said.

The diplomat said this means that if Iran has not received its fuel in one year, it could take its low enriched uranium back from Turkey, where it is to be deposited, and so boost its stockpile.

Washington-based nuclear expert David Albright said it could take two years to make the fuel and this was a ¨real show-stopper¨ for the deal.

The fuel, said Albright, would be in the form of metal plates, which have to be densely concentrated with the right uranium isotope for the level of enrichment required.

Western governments have been dismissive of the new swap deal, saying it fails to address concerns about Iran’s nuclear program which Tehran insists is for civilian purposes.



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