TEHRAN, (Reuters) – Iran is involved in production of new generations of uranium enrichment centrifuges and plans to use them by March 2011, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation told the semi-official Fars news agency on Friday.
“We are producing new generation of centrifuges named IR3 and IR4 … We plan to use them by 2011 after eliminating problems and defects,” Ali Akbar Salehi told Fars. “We have over 6,000 active centrifuges.”
Iran is at odds with the West over its nuclear activities, which the United States and its European allies fear is a cover to build bombs.
Iran, the world’s fifth-largest crude oil exporter, says its nuclear programme is aimed at generating electricity so that it can export more of its gas and oil.
The Islamic republic said in October that it planned to use a new generation of faster centrifuges to enrich uranium at its newly-revealed nuclear site near the central city of Qom.
Nuclear experts say the new model of centrifuges is capable of doubling or tripling the output rate.