This special report is a result of an FAS task force on French naval nuclear propulsion and explores France’s decision to switch from highly-enriched uranium (HEU) to low-enriched uranium (LEU). By detailing the French Navy’s choice to switch to LEU fuel, author Alain Tournyol du Clos — a lead architect of France’s nuclear propulsion program — explores whether France’s choice is fit for other nations.
Since February 2010, Iran has been enriching uranium to concentrations of 20 percent U-235. A stockpile of 130 kg of 20 percent enriched uranium would reduce, by more than half, Iran’s time to develop a bomb. A key unknown is whether Tehran will stop the higher enrichment and, if so, under what circumstances.