Joshua PollackFMP Comes Alive

Following up on Geoff’s apt reference to the technology campaign trail, here’s more on Iran’s Fuel Manufacturing Plant, or FMP.

We’ve got the wonkporn interior photos, including shots of equipment that happened to be next to politicians.

We’ve got statements to the news media about future plans.

We’ve got multiple assessments of the significance of the facility. Because context is always good.

Update: Here’s even more context.

And did I mention the interior photos? Come check ‘em out.


  1. peter Zimmerman (History)

    I’ve never been in a fuel element factory, so I’ve just been looking for equipment I would expect to find in any high-bay space. I sought a traveling crane (fuel elements are long and heavy, so there ought to be one), but none of the photos showed the rails.

    This one, however, shows a fuel bundle being held vertically from a cable:

    While another shows the top of the bundle and the crane hook:

    Ignore the piping that seems to link to the fuel bundle from the left; it’s on the wall. But if you look carefully at the back of the room, almost against the wall, you’ll see an operator holding a bog-standard crane controller such as I used in grad school 40 years ago.

    The interesting thing is that the hook holding the bundle is small. It’s probably no more than 5 tons capacity. It may well be that there’s another hook that goes higher. A 5 ton hook is safe for at least half that weight, but you don’t usually want to push it to the full rated capacity.

  2. Sascha LHX

    Here is what I have found; it took me some time going on a website I don’t quite understand.

    Josh adds: Well done! I’ve added this to the original post.

  3. Major Lemon (History)

    “bog-standard crane controller” mix n’match. No contradiction Peter, they use whatever junk they can get their hands on.

  4. Paul (History)

    And what does this news item mean? Is Larijani back?

  5. J House (History)

    They appear to have built 2 more pads in anticipation of the installation of 2 more machines for making the fuel rod assembly.
    I’d like to see photos of the secret fabrication complex they are using to convert HEU to U metal.

  6. pete (History)

    Does anybody have any idea whether this fuel manufacturing plant is in operation? Nobody is wearing any protective garb except for the ubiquitous and ill-fitting white lab coats. It might be that we are looking at a hall where finished bundles are stored on the large racks we see.

    Also, have the wily Persians hinted at where and how they convert back from UF6 to UO2 or U3O8 uranium oxide compounds?

  7. kme

    Why is the “g” at the end of the big “Manufacturing” sign in a sans-serif typeface, when the rest is serif?

  8. Don (History)

    Anyone know why TotalWonkerr is offline?

  9. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    Paul got into a dust-up with AEI’s Michael Rubin, who apparently decided it was a lot easier to win an argument if you get your opponent’s site pulled down.

    Back to Paul Kerr, this should set the record straight. I am surprised that Congressional Research Service analysts not only blog, but also engage in hackery which appears motivated by either partisanship or a desire to advocate policy rather than analyze. From now on, I certainly would take with a grain of salt CRS reports on non-proliferation if they are authored by Kerr and would question why CRS hires bloggers. Granted, the blog is not on a CRS website (although Kerr’s interjections into other blogs suggests he spends much CRS time involved with blogs) but the many partisan links provide a window into the confluence of Kerr’s analysis and politics and should concern any staff member who expects the Congressional Research Service to uphold its reputation for straightforward analysis. CRS should not stand to legitimize analysis formed more by blogger groupthink than by careful reading and fact.

    Brave little man, Michael Rubin.

    PS: I approved these two comments, lest some would-be Michael Rubin accuse Josh of approving comments while at work. And I am at home. It is Friday!

  10. Oliver

    Hi Jeffrey

    Why is totalwonker even listening to those a$$holes at the AEI. Don’t they deserve to be marginalized or even crushed? When is the blog coming back, or is it not coming back at all?

    Thanks for the good info on ACW.

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