Iran has been secretly developing a second uranium enrichment facility near the holy city of Qom. Photo: REUTERS.
The small number of centrifuges at this facility, raises questions about how efficiently the Iranians could produce enough enriched uranium at Qom for a big nuclear reactor to generate power, as the Iranians claim.
Using the types of centrifuges the Iranians use, known as P-1s, with 3,000 of them, would “take years to produce enough material for even one reactor load,” said Joseph Cirincione, the president of the Ploughshares Fund, a nonprofileration organization. But in “one year,” he said, a 3,000-centrifuge facility could conceivably “enrich enough uranium for one crude nuclear weapon.”
According to calculations by nuclear expert Andreas Persbo posted to the blog ArmsControlWonk, the facility could produce about 40 kilograms worth of high-enriched uranium in that time, enough for about one and a half bombs. -- Washington Independent