Iran has installed two cascades of 164 centrifuges each in its underground Natanz nuclear plant, laying a basis for ‘industriAl scale’ enrichment of uranium for atomic fuel, European diplomatic sources said on Monday.
The cascades were to be test-run shortly, without uranium feedstock inside, and fuel material would then be added if the tests were successful, they said. Iran completed preparations to launch the vast subterranean plant over the past several weeks.
Firing up the cascades would dramatically sharpen Iran’s standoff with Western powers that pushed through UN sanctions on Teheran in December to try to curb its nuclear activity over concerns it is secretly trying to build atom bombs. Iran says it wants only civilian atomic energy from uranium enrichment.