Iran Shrugs Off 27% Enriched Uranium Find

But there's enough for 5 nuclear bombs, if fully refined

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted May 26, 2012 4:20 PM CDT

(Newser) – Iran has dismissed the higher-than-expected 27% enriched uranium discovered at an Iranian nuclear site, calling it a mere technical glitch, the AP reports. "This issue shows that some intend to damage the existing constructive cooperation between Tehran and the International Atomic Energy Agency," an Iranian official said today, after a UN report on the uranium leaked out. Diplomats and analysts say it's possible: Iran may have produced some uranium past its announced 20% threshold by mistake.

But a US think tank aired a cautionary note, saying Iran has enough uranium for at least five nuclear weapons if enriched to the necessary 90%, Reuters reports. According to the UN report, Iran has produced nearly 6.2 tons of uranium to 3.5% since starting its nuclear project in 2007. "This total amount of 3.5% low enriched uranium hexafluoride, if further enriched to weapon grade, is enough to make over five nuclear weapons," said the Institute for Science and International Security.

In this  Saturday, Aug. 21, 2010, file photo, an Iranian security directs media at the Bushehr nuclear power plant, outside the southern city of Bushehr, Iran.
In this Saturday, Aug. 21, 2010, file photo, an Iranian security directs media at the Bushehr nuclear power plant, outside the southern city of Bushehr, Iran.   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)
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