There are numerous workshops and factories across Iran that have played a role in the development of its nuclear fuel cycle capabilities. The sites featured below are especially prominent or about which there is ongoing interest, as in the case of Natanz where Iran's uranium enrichment facilities are located. We have sought to include in this website short narrative descriptions, as well as imagery or ground photos where possible, of all sites that are subject to IAEA safeguards, or have been cited in IAEA or United Nations Security Council documents.
Video Tour of Iranian Nuclear Sites
The following is a three part video tour of Iran's nuclear sites, obtained by NBC News in 2005 and transcribed and translated by ISIS. It is a promotional video produced by Iran and it contains much propaganda. For instance, the narrator repeats the assertion that the technology underpinning Iran's nuclear program is indigenous--but much of it was and is procured from outside the country. And when the narrator discusses the Fuel Manufacturing Plant at Esfahan in Part 2 of the video, he only mentions the fuel's potential use in power reactors for electricity production (like at Bushehr)--and makes no mention of its potential use in the Arak heavy water reactor currently under construction. When operating optimally, the reactor at Arak will produce about 9 kilograms of plutonium annually, or enough for about two nuclear weapons each year, should Iran choose to separate plutonium from the reactor's irradiated fuel. Furthermore, Part 1contains a tour of the Saghand uranium mine and the narration would lead the viewer to think that the Saghand mine is operational, but it is not. Also in Part 1 is a description of the Aradakan Yellow Cake Production Plant that implies that the facility is nearing completion, if not already operational. In reality, the facility is still under construction, and recent commercial satellite imagery indicates that little progress has been made over the last four years.
Iran's Nuclear Power Fuel Cycle
Iran's nuclear power fuel cycle extends from uranium mining, milling and processing, to conversion into uranium hexafluoride, to enrichment and fuel fabrication. There are currently no operational nuclear power reactors in Iran though the Bushehr reactor is close to operational. A diagram here illustrates Iran's nuclear power fuel cycle. Read More ›
The Nuclear Weapon's Fuel Cycle
This diagram illustrates the fuel cycle and steps needed to produce fuel for a nuclear weapon. Iran's fuel cycle is safeguarded by the IAEA and is currently not configured to produce weapons-usable fuel or high enriched uranium (HEU). Read More ›