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Monday, December 12, 2011

The Isfahan explosion was not in the uranium conversion plant

New satellite imagery shows that the November 28 explosion in Isfahan (Iran) did not take place at the uranium conversion facility.
It is still unclear where the reported blast occurred in Esfahan and whether it occurred anywhere near the nuclear facility. ISIS has identified a facility near the Esfahan nuclear site that underwent a significant transformation recently. The facility is approximately 400 meters away from the edge of a perimeter fence that surrounds the Esfahan nuclear site (see figure 2). An August 27, 2011 satellite image shows that the facility consisted of a ramp leading underground with several buildings along the surface (see figure 3). In a December 5, 2011 satellite image, the buildings are gone, heavy equipment can be seen around the site and there is evidence of bulldozing activity (see figure 4). These buildings were present on the site for at least 15 years (see figure 5). It is unclear how and why the buildings are no longer present at the site. It is also unclear whether this transformation is related to the November 28th, 2011 blast reported to have been heard throughout Esfahan.

ISIS has learned that this underground facility was originally a salt mine dating back to at least the 1980s, and that it has more recently been used for storage. It is unclear what Iran stored in this underground facility. The Times article quoted a “military intelligence source” saying the blast “caused damage to the facilities in Isfahan, particularly to the elements we believe were involved in storage of raw materials.”
More here.

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