This is the high-tech device that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has installed in Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility to monitor uranium enrichment.
The IAEA said it installed the Online Enrichment Monitor, or OLEM, to check Iran’s level of uranium enrichment. In accordance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran is committed to keep its uranium enrichment level at up to 3.67 percent.
Installed as part of preparatory work ahead of the JCPOA’s implementation day, the device permits the agency to measure and calculate the amount of uranium-235 and the total amount of uranium in Natanz plant at a real time basis.
Late on Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini announced that sanctions imposed on Tehran have been lifted as the agreement came into force.
Former methods of sampling and analysis took up three weeks to complete as samples were shipped from Iran to the IAEA’s laboratories in Austria.
“The agreed limitations on all uranium enrichment and related activities, including on specific Research and Development activities will allow Iran to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes,” said the head of the IAEA’s Iran Task Force, Massimo Aparo.
Iran and the world powers – the United States, Germany, Britain, Russia, China, and France finalized the JCPOA in Vienna, on July 14, 2015.
OLEM works by measuring the characteristics of gaseous uranium – UF6– which runs through processing the pipes of nuclear enrichment plants.
As the OLEM provides continuous measurement which reduces sample taking, the IAEA will gradually start using the device in other gas centrifuge enrichment plants around the world.