Nuclear Sites › Facilities

Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant

The Natanz site contains two primary facilities:  the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP) and the Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP).  It also houses a centrifuge assembly area.  These facilities, as well as other buildings at the Natanz site, can be seen in satellite imagery.

In 2002, gas centrifuge research, development, and assembly operations were moved to Natanz from Kalaye Electric. This facility is now the primary site of the Iranian gas centrifuge program.  The FEP is still under construction at Natanz. It consists of three large underground buildings, two of which are designed to be cascade halls to hold 50,000 centrifuges.  The buildings started as 70 foot deep holes, and satellite imagery showed the construction of thick concrete walls.

On March 30, 2005, President Khatami toured the Natanz site accompanied by the media.  This tour produced the first publicly available ground images of Natanz.  Iran voluntarily suspended activity in November 2004 at the PFEP, which was originally slated to hold 1,000 centrifuges, when it was conducting both single machine tests and small cascades with uranium hexafluoride at the pilot plant. Iran resumed operation of centrifuges in early 2006.

The Natanz facility was first publicly identified by the National Council for Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in August 2002.  At that time, NCRI identified the facility as a nuclear fuel fabrication plant.  In December 2002, ISIS released satellite photos of the facility for the first time and identified the site correctly as a gas centrifuge enrichment facility.

As of early summer 2008, some 4000 centrifuges are operating at the FEP while more advanced centrifuges are being tested at the PFEP.