Iran began constructing the Fordow uranium enrichment facility in secret as early as 2006. It was publicly revealed by U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in September 2009, shortly after these nations presented evidence of the facility to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The facility appears to be a repurposed tunnel complex, with the main enrichment halls buried within a mountain in order to harden the facility against a potential military strike. Satellite imagery dates the construction of the facility to a period between June 2006 and July 2007, while Iran has told the IAEA that it began to build the facility during the second half of 2007. After the disclosure of the plant’s existence, Iran downplayed its role in its nuclear program, moving slowly to install the planned number of centrifuges at the site. In mid-2011, it announced it would install advanced centrifuges at the FFEP rather than IR-1 centrifuges. The facility is designed to hold approximately 3,000 centrifuges. It never installed advanced centrifuges in the facility, but instead deployed the IR-1 model.
The Fordow site has two enrichment halls, Units 1 and 2, each designed to hold 8 cascades of 174 centrifuges per cascade. Iran fully outfitted the facility in late 2012 – early 2013.
On June 8, 2011, Iran announced that it planned to move its production of 19.75% enriched uranium from the Natanz Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP) to the FFEP, and that it would enrich 3.5% low-enriched uranium produced at the Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz. Since February 2013, Iran has produced 19.75 percent enriched uranium at the FFEP using sets of tandem cascades to enrich uranium to 19.75 percent and strip the tails to natural uranium (0.711 percent). Iran claims that the 19.75 percent enriched uranium produced in this facility will be used to produce medical isotopes in the Tehran Research Reactor.
Source » isisnucleariran