New Generation IR2 Machines 3-6 Times Faster
Fereydoun Abbasi, director of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said in Tehran today that Iran has started installation of the new generation IR2 uranium enrichment centrifuges at Natanz uranium enrichment facility.
“From last month the installation of the new generation of these machines started in the Shahid Ahmadi Roshan complex (Natanz),” Abbasi said. (ISNA/Reuters, 13 February)
IR2 centrifuges are 3-6 times faster that the first generation IR1 machines that have been used in Natanz. The efficiency of the new centrifuges will depend on number of factors, such as the quality of raw material used, by 3-6 range is commonly believed to be how much faster they would produce enriched uranium. Natanz will be able to at least double its production when the installation of IR2s is completed.
On 23 February 2003, Natanz nuclear facility was uncovered. In ten years since then, Iran has installed nearly 11,000 IR1 centrifuges at Natanz, producing 3.5-percent enriched uranium, and another 4,000 centrifuges at Fordo, enriching uranium at 20-percent purity.
Meanwhile, Iran started new round of negotiations with IAEA today. The agency’s delegation, headed by the IAEA Deputy Director General And Chief Inspector Herman Nackaerts, arrived in Tehran last night.
IAEA’s access to Parchin military base, suspected to have housed a nuclear weapon research unit, will be at the top of IAEA’s demands. Iran has signaled recently that it might accept the IAEA’s investigation at Parchin if the two sides could agree on the conditions under which such investigations would go forward.
File photo: Uranium enrichment centrifuges