Tehran – Iran is building about 3,000 advanced uranium-enrichment centrifuges, Iranian media reported on Sunday, in a development likely to add to Western concerns about the Islamic state’s disputed nuclear program.
Iran announced earlier this year that it would install the new-generation centrifuges at its Natanz uranium enrichment plant, but Sunday’s reports in Iranian agencies appeared to be the first time a specific figure had been given.
Iranian media on Sunday paraphrased Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, as saying Iran was producing 3,000 new-generation centrifuges.
“The final production line of these centrifuges has reached an end and soon the early generations of these centrifuges with low efficiency will be set aside,” Abbasi-Davani said, according to the Fars news agency.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said earlier this year that 180 so-called IR-2m centrifuges and empty centrifuge casings had been put in place at the facility near the town of Natanz in central Iran. They were not yet operating.
If launched successfully, such machines could enable Iran to speed up significantly its accumulation of material that the West fears could be used in a nuclear weapon. Iran says it is refining uranium only for peaceful purposes.