Table of Iranian Nuclear Sites and Related Facilities

May 28, 2024

Publication Type: 

  • Weapon Program Background Report

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Iran operates a number of facilities that carry out the different steps of the nuclear fuel cycle. This infrastructure includes the mines where Iran extracts natural uranium, the mill that processes uranium ore into a concentrate known as "yellowcake," and the plant that converts this yellowcake into uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas. This gas is the feedstock for centrifuges that enrich uranium. Iran operates several gas centrifuge plants and accumulates enriched uranium that can be used to manufacture fuel for nuclear reactors or nuclear weapons. It also operates reactors for the purpose of generating electricity and conducting research for medical and industrial applications. Because of the dual-use potential of many of these facilities, however, the international community has long raised concerns that Iran could use this infrastructure and expertise to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran has declared the above facilities to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and they have been subject to some form of inspection by the Agency, although Iran has curtailed much of the expanded access that it had allowed during the five years following implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2016.

Other developments highlight the importance of accessing facilities that Iran has not declared to the IAEA. In 2018, for example, the IAEA became aware of a site in Turquzabad, near Tehran, that had allegedly been used to store nuclear material and equipment. In 2019, Agency inspectors visited the site, took environmental samples, and detected uranium particles of anthropogenic origin there.

The IAEA subsequently identified three additional undeclared sites where nuclear-related activities might have occurred: Lavisan-Shian, Varamin, and Marivan. Iran ultimately granted the IAEA access to Varamin and Marivan to investigate the possible presence of nuclear material or activity, but such access took months to negotiate. As of February 2024, the Agency had closed its investigations into Lavisan-Shian and Marivan but had not resolved outstanding issues related to Turquzabad and Varamin due to a lack of cooperation from Iran. Of the closed investigations, the IAEA decided not to seek access to Lavisan-Shian after determining that there would be no verification value because the site had “undergone extensive sanitization and levelling.” The Agency accepted a “possible” explanation from Iran for the presence of nuclear material at Marivan while standing by its assessment that explosive testing had occurred there.

These incidents echo past access challenges for the Agency: before the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the IAEA sought to understand the "possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program," referring to an Iranian effort to design nuclear weapons (“weaponization”) that is understood to have mostly taken place before 2003. However, the Agency was often thwarted in its investigation by a lack of access to locations and key individuals.

Below, Iran’s nuclear sites are divided into two tables: the facilities relating to its nuclear fuel cycle and undeclared facilities suspected of being connected to its nuclear weaponization effort. Each table gives the facility’s purpose, location, and, where known, its operating status and the status of applicable IAEA verification efforts or investigations.

Table 1: Iran's Fuel Cycle Facilities

Facility/Site

Purpose

Location

Status

Saghand Uranium Mine

Extraction of uranium ore

Saghand

Operational; No IAEA verification of uranium ore concentrate since February 2021

Gchine Uranium Mine

Extraction of uranium ore

Gchine

Closed

Narigan Mining and Industrial Complex Extraction of uranium ore Bafq Operational; no IAEA verification of uranium ore concentrate since February 2021

Ardakan Yellowcake Production Plant

Uranium concentrate production

Ardakan

Operational; no IAEA verification of uranium ore concentrate since February 2021

Bandar Abbas Yellowcake Production Plant

Uranium concentrate production

Bandar Abbas

Closed

Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF)

Uranium conversion

Esfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC)

Operational; under IAEA verification

Uranium Chemistry Laboratory (UCL)

Study of uranium compounds

Esfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC)

Closed

Fuel Fabrication Laboratory (FFL)

Fuel pellet production

Esfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC)

Closed

Enriched Uranium Powder Plant (EUPP) Conversion of UF6 gas into oxide Esfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC) Operational; under IAEA verification

Fuel Manufacturing Plant (FMP)

Fuel production for the Arak reactor and light water reactors

Esfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC)

Operational; under IAEA verification

Fuel Plate Fabrication Plant (FPFP)

Fuel production for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR)

Esfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC)

Operational; under IAEA verification

Zirconium Production Plant (ZPP)

Zirconium sponge production

Esfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC)

Operational; IAEA verification status unknown

Miniature Neutron Source Reactor (MNSR) (30 kWt)

Reportedly for isotope production

Esfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC)

Operational; IAEA verification status unknown

Heavy Water Zero Power Reactor

Research

Esfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC)

Operational; IAEA verification status unknown

Light Water Sub-Critical Reactor (LWSCR)

Research

Esfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC)

Operational; IAEA verification status unknown

Light water research reactor (10 MWt) Testing of nuclear fuel materials and isotope production Esfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC)  Under construction

Graphite Sub-Critical Reactor (GSCR)

Training

Esfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC)

Decommissioned

Iran Centrifuge Technology Company (TESA) Karaj Complex Production of centrifuge rotor tubes and bellows Karaj Decommissioned
Esfahan centrifuge workshop Production of centrifuge rotor tubes and bellows Esfahan Unknown;[1] no IAEA verification of centrifuge production since February 2021
Natanz centrifuge workshop Production of centrifuge rotor tubes and bellows Natanz Likely operational;[1] no IAEA verification of centrifuge production since February 2021
Iran Centrifuge Assembly Center (ICAC) Centrifuge assembly Natanz Destroyed and reportedly being rebuilt
New Generation Centrifuge Assembly Center Centrifuge assembly Natanz Operational; no IAEA verification of centrifuge production since February 2021

Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP)

Uranium enrichment with gas centrifuges

Natanz

Operational; under IAEA verification

Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP)

Uranium enrichment with gas centrifuges

Natanz

Operational; under IAEA verification

Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP)

Uranium enrichment with gas centrifuges

Fordow

Operational; under IAEA verification

National Center for Vacuum Technology

Manufacture, testing, and calibration of vacuum equipment

Fordow

Operational; not under IAEA verification

National Materials Science and Engineering Research Center

Testing radioactive materials

Fordow

Operational; not under IAEA verification

Kalaye Electric Company

Gas centrifuge development and testing

Tehran

Reportedly operational; not under IAEA verification but visited by inspectors in 2003

Khondab Heavy Water Production Plant (HWPP)

Heavy water production (used as a moderator in nuclear reactors)

Arak

Operational; no IAEA verification since February 2021

Khondab Heavy Water Research Reactor (IR-40) (20 MWt)[2]

Radioisotope production (by-products include plutonium)

Arak

Redesign work ongoing; under IAEA verification

Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) (5 MWt)

Radioisotope production

Tehran Nuclear Research Center (TNRC)

Operational; under IAEA verification

Jabr Ibn Hayan Multipurpose Laboratories (JHL)

Research, including on uranium metal, and the production of uranium metal disks

Tehran Nuclear Research Center (TNRC)

Operational; under IAEA verification

Molybdenum, Iodine, and Xenon Radioisotope Production Facility (MIX Facility)

Radioisotope production

Tehran Nuclear Research Center (TNRC)

Operational; under IAEA verification

Waste Handling Facility

Storage and disposal of radioactive waste

Tehran Nuclear Research Center (TNRC)

Operational; IAEA verification status unknown

Bushehr-1 (Pressurized Water Reactor) (1,000 MWe)

Electricity production

Bushehr

Operational; fuel shipments under IAEA verification

Bushehr-2 (V-528 VVER-1000 Pressurized Water Reactor) (974MWe)

Electricity production

Bushehr

Under construction

Bushehr-3 (V-528 VVER-1000 Pressurized Water Reactor) (974MWe)

Electricity production

Bushehr

Under construction

Karun Nuclear Power Station (Pressurized Water Reactor) (300MWe) Electricity production Darkhovin Under construction
Iran-Hormuz Nuclear Power Station Electricity production Sirik Under construction

Pilot Uranium Laser Enrichment Plant

Uranium enrichment using lasers

Lashkar Abad

Likely inactive[3]

Karaj Waste Storage Facility

Radioactive waste storage

Karaj Nuclear Research Center for Medicine and Agriculture

Operational; IAEA verification status unknown

Anarak Near-Surface Repository

Radioactive waste disposal

Anarak

Operational; IAEA verification status unknown

 

Table 2: Iran’s undeclared facilities suspected of a connection to its nuclear weaponization effort

Facility/Site

Purpose

Location

Status

Turquzabad (“Location 1”) Allegedly storage of nuclear material and equipment; location of undeclared uranium South of Tehran Under IAEA investigation; visited by inspectors in 2019
Lavisan-Shian (“Location 2”) Drilling of natural uranium to produce metal flakes; calibration of neutron detectors; location of undeclared uranium near Lavisan-Shian IAEA investigation closed
Varamin (“Location 3”) Undeclared pilot-scale facility for uranium processing and conversion; location of undeclared uranium near Mobarakiyeh Under IAEA investigation; visited by inspectors in 2020
Marivan (“Location 4”) Testing of conventional explosives; explosive experiments in preparation for use of neutron detectors; location of undeclared uranium near Abadeh Visited by inspectors in 2020; IAEA investigation closed
Taleghan 1 and 2 Allegedly testing high explosives and a neutron initiator Parchin military complex Visited by inspectors in 2015
Shahid Boroujerdi underground facility Allegedly manufacturing uranium metal components for nuclear weapons Parchin military complex IAEA has not visited
Golab Dareh Allegedly testing explosives Parchin military complex IAEA has not visited
Research Center for Explosion and Impact (METFAZ) Sanjarian facility Allegedly development and testing of a shock-wave generator and other nuclear weapon subcomponents; potentially nuclear explosives modeling Sanjarian IAEA has not visited

 

[1] In January 2022, Iran informed the IAEA that it planned to produce centrifuge rotor tubes and bellows at a new location “in Esfahan” rather than at the TESA Karaj complex, which had been heavily damaged during an incident in 2021. Then, in April 2022, Iran told the IAEA that it had moved production equipment from the decommissioned Karaj facility to a location “at the Natanz site.” The Agency installed cameras at both workshops but was forced to remove them in June 2022. Eleven months later, in May 2023, the IAEA reported that it had reinstalled cameras in centrifuge “workshops at one location” in Esfahan. Thus it is not clear how many total workshops there are, where exactly the workshops “in Esfahan” are located, or whether the Natanz workshop is among those described as being “in Esfahan.” The IAEA has not explicitly confirmed whether any of the workshops is in operation. However, in the case of the Natanz workshop, the IAEA removed its seals from the equipment on April 12, 2022, and Iran informed the Agency that it would begin operation the following day, making it likely that at least that workshop is operational. See IAEA documents GOV/INF/2022/10,  GOV/INF/2022/11, GOV/2022/39 (para. 48), GOV/2023/24 (paras. 9 and 74, and footnote 10).

[2] Iran renamed the IR-40 at Arak (commonly known as the Arak Heavy Water Reactor) as the Khondab Heavy Water Research Reactor in April 2017. The original design of the IR-40 reactor was for a power of 40 megawatts thermal (MWt); the JCPOA requires that the reactor be redesigned with a power not exceeding 20 MWt.

[3] Satellite imagery indicated activity as late as 2013 at the Pilot Uranium Laser Enrichment Plant, prompting the IAEA to visit the facility in March 2014. The JCPOA (Annex I, Section S, Paragraph 81) requires Iran to only enrich uranium using gas centrifuge technology, thereby prohibiting laser enrichment. The IAEA has made no subsequent mention of the Pilot Uranium Laser Enrichment Plant since 2014, suggesting that the facility is inactive.