AEOI: Natanz incident causing no work stoppage, slowdown at facility

July 2, 2020 - 14:16

Iran's Atomic Energy Organization says an incident hitting the Natanz nuclear facility Thursday has caused no stoppage or slowdown of enrichment because the affected shed was actually under construction and not part of the enrichment process yet.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for the AEOI, made the remarks in an interview on Thursday evening regarding the incident that is currently under investigation for causing material damage to the inactive shed that is located in an open area of the Natanz site.

His remarks came hours after an informed Iranian security official told Press TV that there was no evidence to show that the incident has been an act of intentional sabotage.

Kamalvandi said, “The incident took place at about 02:00 local time this morning and caused no loss of life,” adding, “We have many open-space sheds at the Shahid Ahmadi Roshan enrichment complex. Our enrichment activities are mostly done underground.”

“Our open-space sheds do different things. This was one of those sheds, which was under construction. We have material damage, but no loss of life,” he added.

Kamalvandi refuted reports about possible radioactive contamination following the incident, saying, “Contrary to the false propaganda by enemy and counterrevolutionary media, no contamination has occurred because there has been no nuclear material in this shed.”

“Our [nuclear] activities are being carried out without stoppage and in the best possible form in this important facility and enrichment of [nuclear] material continues.”

Elsewhere in his interview, Kamalvandi emphasized that experts were investigating the cause of the incident and assessing the extent of the damage done to the shed.

“Since our main enrichment work is not done here, we will face no problem and no work stoppage or slowdown,” he concluded.

A security official, who was speaking to Press TV on condition of anonymity earlier in the day, also affirmed that the incident is under thorough examination by expert teams from the AEOI.

He likewise ruled out the notion of contamination, saying the affected site did not contain any radioactive material, adding that none of the AEOI’s personnel were present there at the time of the incident.

Natanz is a uranium enrichment center located in the city of the same name in Isfahan Province, some 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of the capital, Tehran.

It is among the sites now being monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) under a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers.

The IAEA, meanwhile, announced that it was aware of the incident, but did not foresee any change to the UN nuclear watchdog’s regular verification of Iran’s commitments to the body’s Safeguards Agreement as a result of the development.

The Safeguards Agreement between Iran and the IAEA ensures non-diversion of nuclear material declared by the Islamic Republic.

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