London, Feb 11 (ANI): Iran has announced that it will produce uranium enriched to contain 20 per cent of the fissile isotope uranium-235, which is to refuel a reactor in Tehran that makes medical isotopes, after talks aimed at acquiring the fuel abroad stalled.
Iran already makes 3.5 per cent low enriched uranium (LEU).
According to New Scientist, enriching that to 20 per cent is allowed under international rules, and Iran has asked for the process to be supervised.
But, the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a Washington DC-based think tank, says it will be hard for Iran to safely turn the uranium into reactor fuel elements.
Some western governments say they fear the move is a prelude to producing weapons-grade uranium, enriched to 80 per cent or more.
According to ISIS, by enriching natural uranium to 20 per cent the Iranians will already have done almost all of the work needed to get it to 80 per cent.
Less "separative work" is needed as concentrations of uranium-235 increase. (ANI)