Farayand Technique is associated with Iran’s gas centrifuge program. The IAEA states that Iran revealed the formerly secret Farayand Technique in October 2003 as part of a decision to declare far more of its gas centrifuge program to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It was and may still be an important subsidiary of Kalaye Electric.
This site has conducted quality control activities for centrifuge components, including rotors, and manufactured centrifuge components for the facilities at Natanz. This site was initially intended as a site for centrifuge assembly, but that Iranian officials decided it was too far from the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant.
While Iran was trying to hide its centrifuge activities in 2003, this then secret site received centrifuge rotor balancing machines from Kalaye Electric. This act implies that Iran expected to keep Farayand Technique secret despite the exposure of the secret Natanz and Kalaye Electric facilities.
According to former senior United Nations officials close to the IAEA, there remain questions about the full intended role of this site. It is also unclear today whether it continues to play a role in making and testing centrifuges, including advanced ones.
Farayand Technique is located in a valley near 7th of Tir Industries, in an industrial park. Prior to Iran’s suspension of centrifuge activites in 2003, this facility had multiple responsibilities, including making and assembling parts of the centrifuge’s bottom bearing. This part of the centrifuge is designed to hold a thin pin with a ball at its end that is attached to the bottom of the rotor assembly. The ball, which has a complex grooving pattern, fits inside a cup filled with a specialized oil. This design allows the rotor to spin rapidly with little friction. Farayand Technique also performed quality testing on components manufactured in the Esfahan area, including the 7th or Tir facility, and had facilities for assembling and testing centrifuges.
According to former senior U.N officials close to the IAEA, inspectors who visited this site during the suspension suspected that this site could have been intended as a back-up to the Kalaye Electric facility or perhaps even as a pilot centrifuge plant. The site had two centrifuge test stands and a test pit, which would have been capable of testing centrifuges. Next to this facility was a large building under construction, which may have been intended to be a pilot centrifuge plant. It was far bigger than the building housing the pilot centrifuge plant at Natanz. In this case, Farayand Technique would have also served as a centrifuge assembly plant.
The IAEA conducted extensive environmental sampling at Farayand Technique. Environmental samples taken from the balancing machines mentioned above indicated the presence of 36 percent enriched uranium. Iranian authorities maintain that imported P1 centrifuges from Pakistan contaminated the balancing machines, a finding supported by subsequent IAEA findings.
During the suspension of the centrifuge program between 2003 and 2006, the IAEA placed seals on P1 centrifuge components, maraging steel, high strength aluminum, and centrifuge quality control and manufacturing equipment at three sites, including Farayand Technique, to ensure they were not used to make more centrifuge parts. When Iran resumed enrichment activities in January 2006, it removed the seals from the equipment under the supervision of IAEA inspectors. The IAEA has not visited this site since then.
For more information check: Related Reports
1 IAEA Board of Governors, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran GOV/2004/11. February 24, 2004.
2 IAEA Board of Governors, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran GOV/2004/11. February 24, 2004.
3 “Chronology of Key Events (January – December 2006)” IAEA and Canada
Date: Nov 15, 2007
Photo Type: Satellite