1938 Alert by George Jahn for Associated Press (thanks to Sr. Soph):
VIENNA, Austria – Iran’s nuclear project has developed its own version of an advanced centrifuge to churn out enriched uranium much faster than its previous machines, diplomats and experts said Thursday.
They said that few of the IR-2 centrifuges were operating and that testing appeared to be in an early phase, with the new machines rotating without processing any uranium gas.
More significant, the officials said, is the fact that Iran appears to have used know-how and equipment bought on the nuclear black market in combination with domestic ingenuity to overcome daunting technical difficulties and create highly advanced centrifuges.
Iran’s uranium enrichment work has raised concerns in Washington and other Western capitals because it can produce the radioactive material needed for nuclear bombs. Tehran says it is only pursuing lower-level enrichment to make fuel for atomic reactors that will generate electricity.
Iran is under two sets of U.N. Security Council sanctions for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment, which it started developing during nearly two decades of covert nuclear activity built on illicit purchases and revealed only five years ago.