Iran says working on 3,000 new uranium-enrichment centrifuges


A general view of the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, is seen on April 9, 2007, 180 miles south of Tehran, Iran. On April 9, 2007, Iran stepped up their Uranium enrichment programme, with up to 3,000 isotope separating centrifuges now in operation. On Thursday, the IAEA said that the country has begun installing advanced centrifuges while simultaneously reducing the stockpiling of uranium.


Majid Saeedi

Iranian nuclear chief Fereidoun Abbasi said Sunday that the Islamic Republic is starting work on over 3,000 new generation centrifuges, according to local media cited by the Associated Press

The centrifuges can be used to enrich uranium, adding to Western concerns that the theocratic Islamic nation is pursuing nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies.

"The final production line of these [older-generation] centrifuges has reached an end and soon the early generations of these [advanced] centrifuges with low efficiency will be set aside," the country's semi-official Fars news agency paraphrased Abbasi as saying on Sunday, reported the AP

Iran is believed to already have over 12,000 older-generation IR-1 centrifuges capable of enriching uranium at its Natanz facility, said Reuters. Abbasi said the new centrifuges were finished but provided no additional details, the AP said

The International Atomic Energy Agency announced last month that Iran had installed 180 new-generation centrifuges but said they were not yet in operation, according to Reuters. The nuclear watchdog also confirmed that the facility was capable of holding an additional 3,000 centrifuges.

The older generation of centrifuges are based on 1970s technology. Iran has been actively pursuing more advanced production capability.