Teheran Nuclear Research Center (TNRC)

Also Known As: 

Tehran Nuclear Research Center
Tehran Nuclear Research Centre
Nuclear Research Center
Nuclear Research Centre
University of Tehran Nuclear Research Center
Amirabad Technical College
Amirabad Nuclear Research Centre

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear


Tehran, Iran
Amirabad, Tehran, Iran
P.O. Box 11365-8486, Tehran, Iran




Entity Web Site: 


Interior of the Nuclear Research Center at Tehran University

Listed by the Japanese government in 2007 as an entity of concern for proliferation related to nuclear weapons; identified by the British government in February 1998 as having procured goods and/or technology for weapons of mass destruction programs, in "addition to doing non-proliferation related business."

Affiliated with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI); location of the TRR (Tehran Research Reactor), a 5 MW pool type light water research reactor which, according to Iran, has been in operation since 1968 and was supplied by American company AMF (American Machine and Foundry); the TRR was converted in the early 1990s from high-enriched uranium aluminum (U/Al) alloy fuel to U3O8/Al fuel enriched to approximately 20% U-235; reportedly approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1988 to receive 115.8 kg of 20%-enriched uranium from Argentina for the TRR; also houses the Molybdenum, Iodine and Xenon Radioisotope Production Facility (MIX), the Jabr Ibn Hayan Multipurpose Laboratories (JHL) and the Waste Handling Facility (WHF); reported location of the Ebn-e Qasem research wing; previously housed a Radiochemistry Laboratory (dismantled), and a Laser Separation Laboratory (Laser Spectroscopy Laboratory) (LSL) and a Comprehensive Separation Laboratory (CSL) (both dismantled) for laser enrichment.

Site of plutonium separation, of laboratory and bench scale uranium conversion, and of centrifuge and laser enrichment research.

Plutonium Separation

7 kg of UO2 (uranium dioxide) irradiated at the TRR between 1988 and 1993; plutonium separated from about 3 kg of the irradiated UO2 and stored at JHL; plutonium separation carried out in three shielded glove boxes located in the Nuclear Safety Building, which Iran claims were dismantled and moved to JHL in 1993; further purification of plutonium occurred in July 1995 and August 1998; IAEA sampling results indicate that Iran understated the amount of plutonium produced, which was in the milligram and not the microgram scale; due to the remaining inconsistencies, the IAEA reported that it "cannot exclude the possibility" that the plutonium it analyzed may have been derived from source(s) other than those declared by Iran.

Uranium Conversion

Between 1981 and 1993, bench scale preparation of AUC (ammonium uranyl carbonate), UO3 (uranium trioxide), UF4 (uranium tetrafluoride) and UF6 (uranium hexafluoride) carried out at TNRC; laboratory and bench scale conversion experiments conducted at JHL and at Radiochemical Laboratories; according to the IAEA, small quantities of yellowcake (uranium ore concentrate) were also produced through extraction of uranium from phosphoric acid; formerly housed a full scale pulse column used in the uranium ore concentrate purification process; the column was constructed and cold tested at TNRC and, according to Iran, was moved to the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF).

Uranium Enrichment

According to Iran, gas centrifuge enrichment research and development program located at TNRC from 1988 until 1995, with laboratory work undertaken at the Plasma Physics Laboratories; laser enrichment experiments carried out at CSL and LSL between 1993 and 2000, according to Iran, using 8 kg of imported uranium metal; AVLIS (atomic vapor laser isotope separation) technique used at CSL achieved an average enrichment level of 8% U235 and a peak enrichment level of 13% U235; CSL and LSL dismantled between 2000 and 2003; in 2000, a large vacuum vessel, now stored at Karaj, was imported and installed at TNRC for use in spectroscopic studies.

Reportedly received hot cells from the United States in the 1960s and four lasers from the Lischem Corporation of the United States in 1978; reportedly was to receive radioactive tritium gas, requested in 1998 by the AEOI from Russia's Teskhsnabexport (Techsnabexport Foreign Economic Joint Stock Company); reportedly headed by Hosein Ghafourian as of July 2007; according to the Council of the European Union, headed by Ali Reza Khanchi as of April 2007; Radioisotope Division reportedly headed by Abbas Owlya as of July 2007; reportedly formerly known as the Amirabad Nuclear Research Centre; established as the Atomic Center of the Tehran University; taken over by the AEOI and renamed the Nuclear Research Center (NRC) in 1974.

Affiliated Departments

  • Reactor Research and Operation Department responsible for TRR operation, maintenance and modification of systems and components.
  • Nuclear Physics Department location of Van de Graff Laboratory; equipped with 3 MV charged particle Van de Graff accelerator, capable of accelerating proton, deuteron, and alpha particles.
  • Analytical Chemistry Department investigates chemical and physical properties of compounds, gamma irradiation of organic materials, neutron activation analysis, and radiation effects on polymers by means of accelerator facilities.
  • Engineering Department prepares alloys and molding metals in vacuum induction furnaces and makes pressure vessels and vacuum chambers; uses advanced welding methods, including Electron Beam Welding, Vacuum Brazing, Radio Frequency, Tungsten Inert Gas, Metal Inert Gas and Manual Metal Arc welding.
  • Solid State Physics Section researches crystal growth, processing, and device fabrication, including for nuclear and laser applications.
  • Radioisotopes Research and Production Department
  • Theoretical Physics and Mathematics Departments
  • Health Physics Section
  • Electronics Department
  • Chemistry and Physics Section.

Mentioned Suspect Entities & Suppliers: 

Date Entered: 

January 26, 2004

Date Last Modified: 

October 18, 2007