Nuclear Experts: Emerging Deal Could Allow Iran Breakout Time of Less Than a Year

Kuperman indicated that allowing Iran to keep 14,000 excess centrifuges in the country rather than destroying or exporting them is problematic as the centrifuges could be deployed to enrich uranium in the future. David Albright, a leading non-proliferation expert and president of the Institute for Science and International Security, similarly warned, “The centrifuges in excess of a limit should ideally be destroyed. Otherwise, Iran could re-install them, building back to its original enrichment capacity…This restoration of capacity would lead to very short breakout times, far less than a year.”

In a report last month, Albright wrote (.pdf) that more than half of Iran’s near 20% low enriched uranium (LEU) stockpile will be in the form of scrap, which “Iran would be expected to seek to recover much of…for conversion into usable uranium oxide.” The stockpile is also in fuel form, from which LEU could also be extracted “in significantly less than one year.” Extracting LEU from these forms could significantly reduce Iran’s breakout time.

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