Iran’s nuclear fuel cycle activities have developed slowly over more than two decades, but in recent years it has become apparent that it is developing facilities that will enable it to enrich uranium indigenously on a significant scale. Iran has announced or the IAEA has reported that Iran:
Intends to mine indigenous uranium yellowcake from the ore.
deposits near Yazd and to produce
Has constructed a large uranium conversion facility at Esfahan that is in the process of being commissioned and will be able to convert yellowcake into uranium hexafluoride (the feed material required for gas centrifuges).
Has constructed a large, underground facility at Natanz to house a Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant and a full-scale Fuel Enrichment Plant, both using gas centrifuge technology.
Has indigenous facilities to manufacture centrifuge components.
Has engaged in work on both the P-1 gas centrifuge (work which led to the actual enrichment of uranium, an activity it did not declare to the IAEA at the time) and on the P-2 gas centrifuge, about which, important information as the IAEA has recently said, has in some cases been incomplete, and continues to lack necessary clarity.
Has had help with its gas centrifuge programme from a number of foreign sources. In particular, having reviewed the original P-2 technical drawings which Iran says it received from foreign intermediaries, the IAEA’s experts concluded that the origin of the drawings was the same as that of the drawings
provided to Libya2.
The IAEA has also reported that Iran:
Has plans to produce a Heavy Water Research Reactor.
Has largely completed a Heavy Water Production Plant to provide the heavy water it will require.
Has plans for a Fuel Manufacturing Plant.
Has experimented in the past with plutonium separation, without declaring it at the time to the IAEA.
The IAEA has also raised concerns about work on laser enrichment and polonium-210.
France, Germany and the UK (sometimes known as the ‘EU3’) have worked together to support the IAEA on its activities. Intelligence supplements what the UK knows from the IAEA, and policy formulation and execution has made full use of both sets of information. Separately, since the National Council of Resistance of Iran publicised previously secret
That is, by AQ Khan.