Iran installing advanced nuclear machines for testing

Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:17am GMT
 

* New centrifuges could enable faster uranium enrichment

* Iran presses ahead with nuclear work despite sanctions

By Fredrik Dahl

VIENNA, July 15 (Reuters) - Iran is stepping up centrifuge development work aimed at making its nuclear enrichment more efficient, diplomats say, signalling a possible advance in the Islamic Republic's disputed atomic programme.

Two newer and more advanced models of the breakdown-prone machine that Iran now operates to refine uranium are being installed for large-scale testing at a research site near the central town of Natanz, the diplomats told Reuters this week.

If Iran eventually succeeds in introducing the more modern centrifuges for production, it could significantly shorten the time needed to stockpile material that can have civilian as well as military purposes, if processed much further.

But it is unclear whether Tehran, subject to increasingly strict international sanctions, has the means and components to make the more sophisticated machines in bigger numbers.

Iran denies Western accusations it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons and says it is refining uranium for electricity generation and medical applications.   Continued...

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