ISIS Iran Report

Salehi Claims 3.8 kg Monthly Production Rate of 19.75 % Enriched Uranium – but is it accurate?

Salehi Claims 3.8 kg Monthly Production Rate of 19.75 % Enriched Uranium – but is it accurate? photo

September 1, 2010

On August 27, 2010, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) and Vice President of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, said that the country had produced 25 kilograms of 19.75 percent enriched uranium at Natanz since it began enriching uranium up to this level in February 2010.  The implied rate of 19.75% uranium production is consistent with the rate suggested by Salehi on June 23rd—about 3.8kg per month—when he claimed that Iran had produced 17 kg of 19.75% enriched uranium since February.  However, based on data included in the IAEA’s May safeguards report on Iran, ISIS estimated that Iran would have produced approximately 13.4 kg by the same date, at a lower rate of approximately 3 kg per month.

As ISIS noted, Salehi could be extrapolating total amounts from estimated rates of production instead of from actual measurements.  The 25 kg total that Salehi gave on August 27 is almost exactly what the projected total would be from the original 3.8 kg rate suggested by the 17 kg stated total in June.  Though this may simply be the result of a consistent production rate, it is also possible that Salehi is announcing an extrapolated total production of 19.75% uranium at various stages based on an initial production rate estimate. 

It is also possible that Iran started off with a lower production rate and then a later, higher production rate resulted in the higher totals that Salehi has announced.  The IAEA report on Iran that is set for release this Friday or Monday may further clarify Iran’s monthly production rate of 19.75% enriched uranium.     

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