Bandar Abbas Uranium Production Plant (BUP)

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Last Updated: January 1, 2011
Other Name: Gchine Mine; Gachine Mine
Location: Bandar Abbas
Subordinate To: Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI)
Size: 100 tons of identified uranium reserves
Facility Status: Operational

Iran's only operating mining and milling facility is at Gchine or Gachin, near the port of Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf. The Bandar Abbas Uranium Production Plant (BUP), which became operational in 2006, processes the uranium ore extracted from the Gchine mine, and is designed for a maximum output of 21 tons of uranium per year. [1] The open pit Gchine mine has identified uranium reserves of approximately 100 tons. [2]

Commercial satellite pictures indicate that Iran increased the uranium output at BUP considerably over the course of 2009. [3] The pictures show that Iran built a second waste pond, much deeper than the first. [4] According to nonproliferation expert Jeffrey Lewis, "Iran's decision to expand mining and milling at Bandar Abbas seems to validate the suspicions of those who think it was the main uranium site for a covert program." [5]

Sources:
[1] "Nuclear Energy in Iran," World Nuclear Association, 17 November 2009, www.world-nuclear.org.
[2] Nuclear Energy Agency, Uranium 2007: Resources, Production, and Demand (Paris: OECD, 2009), pp. 219-220.
[3] Jonathan Tirone, "Iran Raises Uranium Output as Photos Show Need for Wider Check," Bloomberg, 3 November 2009, www.bloomberg.com.
[4] Jonathan Tirone, "Iran Raises Uranium Output as Photos Show Need for Wider Check," Bloomberg, 3 November 2009, www.bloomberg.com.
[5] Jeffrey Lewis, "Iran Expands Gchine U Mine," Arms Control Wonk Blog, 4 November 2009, www.armscontrolwonk.com.

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