Friday, December 18, 2009

Iran Making New Model Centrifuges for Uranium Enrichment

Via Yahoo! News (AP) -

Iran's nuclear chief said Friday the country has started making more efficient centrifuge models that it plans to put in use by early 2011 — a statement that underscores Tehran's defiance and adds to international concerns over its nuclear ambitions.

The official, Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi, said Iranian scientists are still testing the more advanced models before they will become operational at the country's enrichment facilities.

Tehran has been saying since April that it is building more advanced centrifuges capable of enriching uranium with higher efficiency and precision, but Salehi's remarks were the first indication of a timeline when the new models could become operational.

The new centrifuge models will be able to enrich uranium much faster than the old ones — which would add to growing concerns in the West because they would allow Tehran to accelerate the pace of its program. That would mean Iran could amass more material in a shorter space of time that could be turned into the fissile core of missiles, should Tehran choose to do so.


Centrifuges are machines used to enrich uranium — a technology that can produce fuel for power plants or materials for a nuclear weapon. Uranium enriched to low level is used to produce fuel but further enrichment makes it suitable for use in building nuclear arms.

"We are currently producing new generation of centrifuges named IR3 and IR4," Salehi told the semiofficial Fars news agency. "We hope to use them by early 2011 after resolving problems and defects."

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