Table of Iranian Nuclear Sites and Related Facilities

September 16, 2022

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 mine 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. However, recent 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 in the past: 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 September 2022, the Agency had not resolved outstanding issues related to those sites due to a lack of cooperation from Iran. 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.”

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" but was often thwarted in its investigation by a lack of access to locations and key individuals. In accepting the JCPOA, Iran agreed to allow the IAEA expanded access to monitor nuclear fuel cycle facilities and related activities. However, Iran began curtailing its cooperation with the Agency following the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA.

The table below lists Iran’s known and alleged nuclear sites and their purposes, locations, and operating statuses.

Facility/Site

Purpose

Location

Status

Saghand Uranium Mine

extraction of uranium ore

Saghand

operational

Gchine Uranium Mine

extraction of uranium ore

Gchine

reported closed[1]

Ardakan Yellowcake Production Plant

uranium concentrate production

Ardakan

operational

Bandar Abbas Yellowcake Production Plant

uranium concentrate production

Bandar Abbas

reported closed[1]

Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF)

uranium conversion

Isfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC)

operational

Uranium Chemistry Laboratory (UCL)

study of uranium compounds

Isfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC)

confirmed closed[1]

Fuel Fabrication Laboratory (FFL)

fuel pellet production

Isfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC)

confirmed closed[1]

Enriched Uranium Powder Plant (EUPP) conversion of UF6 gas into oxide Isfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC) operational

Fuel Manufacturing Plant (FMP)

fuel production for the Arak reactor and light water reactors

Isfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC)

operational

Fuel Plate Fabrication Plant (FPFP)

fuel production for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR)

Isfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC)

operational

Zirconium Production Plant (ZPP)

zirconium sponge production

Isfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC)

operational

Miniature Neutron Source Reactor (MNSR) (30 kWt)

reportedly for isotope production

Isfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC)

operational

Heavy Water Zero Power Reactor

research

Isfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC)

operational

Light Water Sub-Critical Reactor (LWSCR)

research

Isfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC)

operational

Graphite Sub-Critical Reactor (GSCR)

training

Isfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC)

decommissioned

Iran Centrifuge Technology Company (TESA) Karaj Complex production of centrifuge rotor tubes and bellows Karaj decommissioned
Isfahan centrifuge workshop production of centrifuge rotor tubes and bellows Isfahan not operational[2]
Natanz centrifuge workshop production of centrifuge rotor tubes and bellows Natanz likely operational[2]
Iran Centrifuge Assembly Center (ICAC) centrifuge assembly Natanz destroyed and reportedly being rebuilt
New Generation Centrifuge Assembly Center centrifuge assembly Natanz reportedly operational

Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP)

uranium enrichment with gas centrifuges

Natanz

operational

Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP)

uranium enrichment with gas centrifuges

Natanz

operational

Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP)

uranium enrichment with gas centrifuges

Fordow

operational

National Center for Vacuum Technology

manufacture, testing, and calibration of vacuum equipment

Fordow

operational

National Materials Science and Engineering Research Center

testing radioactive materials

Fordow

operational

Kalaye Electric Company

gas centrifuge  development and testing

Tehran

reportedly operational

Heavy Water Production Plant (HWPP)

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

Arak

operational

Khondab Heavy Water Research Reactor (IR-40) (20 MWt)[3]

radioisotope production (by-products include plutonium)

Arak

redesign work ongoing

Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) (5 MWt)

radioisotope production

Tehran Nuclear Research Center (TNRC)

operational

Jabr Ibn Hayan Multipurpose Laboratories (JHL)

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

Tehran Nuclear Research Center (TNRC)

operational

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

radioisotope production

Tehran Nuclear Research Center (TNRC)

operational

Waste Handling Facility

storage and disposal of radioactive waste

Tehran Nuclear Research Center (TNRC)

operational

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

electricity production

Bushehr

operational

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

Turquzabad ("Location 1")

allegedly storage of nuclear material and equipment; location of undeclared uranium

South of Tehran

partially demolished[4]

Lavisan-Shian ("Location 2")

drilling of natural uranium to produce metal flakes; calibration of neutron detectors; location of undeclared uranium

near Lavisan-Shian

demolished[4]

Varamin ("Location 3") undeclared pilot-scale facility for uranium processing and conversion near Mobarakiyeh demolished[4]
Marivan ("Location 4") testing of conventional explosives; explosive experiments in preparation for use of neutron detectors near Abadeh partially demolished[4]
Parchin military complex location of alleged nuclear weapon-related work south of Tehran partially demolished

Pilot Uranium Laser Enrichment Plant

uranium enrichment using lasers

Lashkar Abad

likely inactive[5]

Karaj Waste Storage Facility

radioactive waste storage

Karaj Nuclear Research Center for Medicine and Agriculture

operational

Anarak Near-Surface Repository

radioactive waste disposal

Anarak

operational

[1] Facilities labeled as “reported closed” have either been declared closed by Iranian authorities or reported closed by media sources. Facilities labeled as “confirmed closed” have had their closure verified by the IAEA.

[2] In January 2022, Iran informed the IAEA that it planned to produce centrifuge rotor tubes and bellows at Isfahan using the equipment installed at the decommissioned Karaj plant. In April 2022, Iran announced that it had instead moved the equipment to a facility in Natanz.

[3] 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.

[4] Traces of uranium were discovered on site by IAEA inspectors in 2019 or 2020.

[5] 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.