The UN atomic agency on Wednesday said Iran has installed additional advanced centrifuges at its Natanz nuclear plant, the site of a recent blast blamed on Israel.
According to a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, seen by Reuters, Iran added two more cascades of IR-4 centrifuges and six clusters of IR-2m at its underground facility. The IAEA also confirmed that some of the centrifuges were in use and said the Islamic Republic plans to install another four cascades of the IR-4 at Natanz.
“On 21 April 2021, the Agency verified at FEP that: … six cascades of up to 1,044 IR-2m centrifuges; and two cascades of up to 348 IR-4 centrifuges… were installed, of which a number were being used,” the report said.
On April 10, Iran announced that it started up far more advanced IR-6 and IR-5 centrifuges that enrich uranium more quickly, in a new breach of its undertakings under the 2015 nuclear agreement. It also said it has began mechanical tests on an even faster nuclear centrifuge: The output of Iran’s IR-9 centrifuge, when operational, would be 50 times quicker than the first Iranian centrifuge, the IR-1. Iran’s nuclear program is also developing IR-8 centrifuges.
Early the next morning, the site was hit in the blast that was declared by Iran to be Israeli sabotage. The explosion is said to have caused considerable damage to the Natanz plant, including its various uranium-enriching centrifuges.
In response to the attack, Iran said it began enriching a small amount of uranium up to 60 percent purity at the site — its highest level ever, and a short step from weapons-grade. The UN atomic agency confirmed the enrichment, saying it was being done in an above-ground facility at Natanz.
The head of the country’s atomic agency said Tuesday that power has been restored at Natanz and uranium enrichment activities there have been renewed. Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, was cited by the official IRNA news agency as saying that “the cables damaged in the accident were speedily replaced and… the main power supply to the Natanz enrichment facility [is] now connected to the grid.”
Read the complete article at: Times of Israel