Iran installing advanced nuclear machines for testing

July 15, 2011 13:20

VIENNA - Iran is stepping up centrifuge development work aimed at making its nuclear enrichment more efficient, diplomats say, signaling a possible advance in the Islamic Republic's disputed atomic program.

Two newer and more advanced models of the breakdown-prone machine that Iran now operates to refine uranium are being installed for large-scale testing at a research site near the central town of Natanz, the diplomats told Reuters this week.

If Iran eventually succeeds in introducing the more modern centrifuges for production, it could significantly shorten the time needed to stockpile material that can have civilian as well as military purposes, if processed much further.

But it is unclear whether Tehran, subject to increasingly strict international sanctions, has the means and components to make the more sophisticated machines in bigger numbers.

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