Iran will “soon” install an initial series of centrifuges at the Fordo nuclear facility, the country’s second site for enriching uranium, Vice President Fereydoun Abbasi said.
Abbasi, who was speaking to the official Islamic Republic News Agency today, did not provide a timeline.
The existence of the Fordo plant, built into the side of a mountain near the city of Qom south of Tehran, was disclosed in September 2009. The revelation heightened concerns among the U.S. and its allies over Iran’s nuclear program, which they say is a cover for the development of atomic weapons, a charge the Persian Gulf country rejects.
Centrifuges are fast-spinning machines that enrich nuclear fuel by separating uranium isotopes. Uranium can be used to fuel reactors or, enriched to higher degrees, form the core of a bomb.
Iranian officials have said that the Fordo plant has a maximum enrichment capacity of 5 percent and isn’t an “industrial-scale unit.” In October 2009 they said the plant was about 18 months away from beginning operations.
Iran is already enriching uranium to 20 percent at its Natanz nuclear facility.
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