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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Ardekan (Ardakan) Nuclear Fuel Site

The possible existence of a nuclear-related facility near Ardekan (also spelled Ardakan or Erdekan) was first reported on 8 July 2003, by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the political wing of the People's Mujahedeen, an organization listed by the US State Department as a terrorist organization.

According to that organization, the facility was designed for the task of uranium treatment and was located somewhere in the central part of iran.

A new site believed to be under construction was the Ardekan Nuclear Fuel Unit. This site, reportedly scheduled to be completed in mid-2005, was said to be located at the 33rd kilometer (20.5 miles) of the Ardekan-Choupanau Road.

This project was supervised by an engineer named Farhad Vadoudfaam, under the supervision of the Directorate of the Nuclear Fuel of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI). The Executive Director of this project was an engineer named Baghesfani. The central office of this site was located in the city of Ardekan at Shahda Square, Picheh Tazel, next to Ausari High School, number 48. One of the affiliate companies of the AEOI was doing the consulting for this site.

Mohammad Ghannadi-Maragheh, Vice President for Nuclear Fuel Production of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), discussed the project at the World Nuclear Association Annual Symposium held in London 3-5 September 2003. He said that a uranium mill with an annual capacity of 120,000 metric tonnes of ore and an annual output of 50 metric tonnes of uranium was being built 35 km north of Ardekan city.

There was the possibility that this facility could have been the pilot yellow cake production facility originally built at the Benefication and Hydrometallurgical Center (BHRC), also in Yazd province, in 1992. In late February 2003, Mr. Aghazehey, an AEOI official, stated that the plant would begin producing uranium gas within "two to three months."

The mill was reported by Iranian officials in statements made to the Interntional Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to have been hot tested July 2004, producing 40 to 50 kg of yellowcake, and that ore production was expected to begin in 2006. As of 2008 no further information had been provided to the IAEA concerning the operation of the facility.

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