IAEA: Iran increases underground nuclear enrichment capacity

Click photo to download. Caption: The IR40 Heavy Water reactor facility, near Arak, Iran. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.(JNS.org) A new report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Iran is ready to step up its uranium enrichment significantly at its heavily fortified underground nuclear site, a development likely to raise more fears for Israel and the West.

According to the IAEA’s quarterly report issued on Nov. 16, Iran’s work on the deep underground nuclear site, Fordo, near the holy city of Qom, is nearly complete. It now has the full capacity of 2,784 centrifuges, an increase of 644 since the last IAEA report in August.

According to the report, only 696 of those centrifuges are actually enriching uranium. However, a European diplomat told the New York Times that Iran “could double the rate of production at Fordo very quickly.”

“This report reconfirms the well-known and deep suspicions about Iran’s nuclear program,” said American Jewish Committee (AJC) Executive Director David Harris.

The report also said that satellite photographs indicate that the Iranians have been working for months to cover up activity at the Parchin military site, an area the IAEA has long suspected may have been used for weapons-related experiments.  

Posted on November 18, 2012 .