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Satellite photograph of Iranian nuke site released

A private Washington institution has released a satellite photograph that it said shows extensive new construction at a newly restarted nuclear plant in Iran.

india Updated: Jan 14, 2006 09:13 IST

A private Washington institution dedicated to lessening the global threat of nuclear weapons has released a satellite photograph that it said shows extensive new construction at a newly restarted nuclear plant in Iran.

The photo of the plant at Natanz was taken on January 2 and depicts seven buildings under construction that have appeared in the last year, Corey Hinderstein, deputy director of the Institute for Science and International Security, said on Friday.

The site at Natanz, 220 kilometres southeast of Tehran in central Iran, includes Iran's main fuel enrichment plant where Iranian technicians removed seals on Tuesday that had been installed by International Atomic Energy Agency. It also resumed research on nuclear fuel, which included small-scale enrichment.

Byproducts of the enrichment process can be used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

According to the photograph's caption, it shows the location of underground centrifuge cascade halls for the fuel enrichment plant, designed to hold about 50,000 centrifuges for installation in modules of 3,000 centrifuges each.

Also visible is the pilot fuel enrichment plant, one location where IAEA seals were removed. The function of the seals was to enforce a suspension of activities involved in uranium enrichment.

First Published: Jan 14, 2006 09:13 IST