Iran Ready to Double Nuclear Output: UN

It's ready to fire up reactors in underground facility
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2012 2:43 PM CST
In this 2009 file photo, Iranian technicians work at a new facility producing uranium fuel for a planned heavy-water nuclear reactor, just outside the city of Isfahan.   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi,File)

(Newser) – Iran is on the verge of almost doubling the amount of uranium it enriches at its underground Fordow bunker, the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency reported today. About 2,800 centrifuges are installed at the site, and the Islamic Republic is ready to fire up as many as 1,400 of them, which would represent a sizable increase, Reuters reports. "They can be started any day," one diplomat says. "They are ready."

Because the reactors are designed to produce high-grade uranium, the development could escalate tensions between it and other nations like the US. Iran has produced about 512 pounds of the stuff since 2010, which might be enough for a bomb, if Iran hadn't sent a good chunk of it to be processed into fuel for its medical research reactor. The country also has a stockpile of 20% uranium gas, which has grown significantly in recent months, approaching the levels needed for a bomb. (Read more Iran stories.)

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