Iran has begun producing enriched uranium at 60% purity at the country’s underground Fordo nuclear plant, official media reported Tuesday, describing it as a response to a resolution by the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog.
The increased enrichment, reported by the official news agency IRNA, was seen as a significant addition to the country’s nuclear program.
From Vienna, the U.N. nuclear watchdog — the International Atomic Energy Agency or IAEA — said the 60% enrichment at Fordo comes on top of similar production at the Natanz plant in central Iran.
The IAEA also said that Iran plans a “significant expansion” in its production of low-enriched uranium at Fordo and a second production building at Natanz. Fordo is some 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of the capital of Tehran.
Enrichment to 60% purity is one short, technical step away from weapons-grade levels of 90%. Nonproliferation experts have warned in recent months that Iran now has enough 60%-enriched uranium to reprocess into fuel for at least one nuclear bomb.