Iran Says Fire at Nuclear Site Caused ‘Significant Damage’
(Bloomberg) -- Iran said a fire that broke out at its Natanz nuclear facility last week had caused “significant damage” to a building that was used to develop advanced centrifuges.
A number of “measuring devices and advanced tools” were destroyed in the July 2 blaze, and work has already started on reconstructing the building with “more advanced equipment and a bigger site,” Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Agency of Iran, told the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency.
According to Kamalvandi, Iran expedited work on a project to develop centrifuges with 190,000 SWU, or separative work units (used to measure a centrifuge’s capacity to enrich uranium), at the site in June 2018 following an order from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Khamenei’s instruction came within a month of the U.S.’s withdrawal from the multilateral nuclear deal. He has been calling for Iran to acquire centrifuges with that capacity since 2014.
The fire at Natanz came the same week as two explosions in Tehran province, including one near the Parchin military base and another at a medical clinic which killed 19 people.
Iran’s top security body has investigated the incident but said it had to withhold its conclusions over what caused the incident for security reasons.
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