Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Iran Plans Advanced Centrifuges at Nuclear Site Near Qom

Via VOA News -

Iranian news agencies - Iranian state-run television and Kayhan daily - report the head of Tehran's nuclear program has announced plans to install a more advanced type of centrifuge at the country's newly-revealed nuclear facility near the Shi'ite holy city of Qom.

The news agencies say Ali Akbar Salehi announced Iran is focusing more on research and development at the site. They quote him as saying Iran hopes to use a "new generation of centrifuges" to enrich uranium there.


Looks like the FAS was right in its prediction....
Other than the IR-1 currently operational at Natanz, Iran has been testing 4 other types of machines: IR-2, IR-2m, IR-3 and IR-4. It is foreseeable that Iran could wait until one of the more advanced machines is ready for mass production and install those instead.
But this new statement from Ali Akbar Salehi still tells us little about what they are planning to install....

I can't find any reliable data on the IR-4 centrifuges, but Dr. Jeffrey Lewis (Director of the Nuclear Strategy and Nonproliferation Initiative at the New America Foundation) has a good write-up over at ArmsControlWonk on the former (IR-1-3) centrifuges.

You might notice they describe the Iran centrifuge designs as similar to P-1, P-2, etc. They are referencing Pakistani centrifuge designs - I think ;)

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