January 03, 2017
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) announced Sunday that Iran has begun testing a brand new advanced centrifuge to be adopted years from now for enriching uranium. Iran now uses what it calls the IR-1, which is the Pakistani designed P-1, which is a Dutch design from the 1960s that was stolen by a Pakistani scientist who worked in a Dutch lab. Iran has been working on more advanced designs for years. The AEOI statement said Iran has now inserted uranium hexafluoride (UF6) into its IR-8 design to begin testing with actual uranium for the first time. Iran says the IR-8 will be able to produce 20 times as much enriched uranium as the IR-1, though that remains to be seen. Under the nuclear agreement, Iran can only test single IR-8 centrifuges now. It will be able to string them together in 20-centrifuge cascades for testing after another 7 1/2 years. It will be nine years before Iran can use any centrifuge other than the IR-1 to actually enrich uranium on a large-scale.