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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Iranian nuclear facility revealed by GeoEye satellite imagery

 
February 23rd, 2012 by Susan Smith

It is a little frightening to be able to identify by satellite imagery a hidden nuclear facility in Iran.  Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the facility was for “uranium enrichment” and was 18 months away from being operational. Satellite imagery company GeoEye has released a photo of what it says is this controversial and underground Iranian uranium enrichment site that was identified a week ago.

The overall view of the Iranian site. The mountain under which the site is built is to the lower right of the image. (Credit: GeoEye satellite image/IHS Jane's analysis)

According to an article in CNET News, the photo, taken Saturday, shows the facility at a military site about 20 miles north-northeast of Qum and 100 miles southwest of Tehran, GeoEye said. An analysis of the photo by IHS Jane’s, a defense intelligence consulting firm, said the facility has a primary and several auxiliary entrances, ventilation shafts, a surface-to-air missile site, and quarry and construction equipment.

This view shows what IHS Jane's says are ventilation shafts and a possible auxiliary exit from the nuclear site. (Credit: GeoEye satellite image/IHS Jane's analysis)

Centrifuges can separate different isotopes of uranium to produced “enriched” uranium needed to make nuclear weapons; Iran said it’s only enriching uranium for purposes of generating electricity. U.S. intelligence agencies said the facility revealed by the satellite image is designed to house 3,000 centrifuges, which can separate different isotopes of uranium to produce “enriched” uranium that is used for making nuclear weapons. Iran claims it is enriching uranium in order to generate electricity.

The GeoEye-1 satellite took the photo while traveling north 423 miles above the Earth at 4 miles per second relative to the surface of the Earth. The satellite also supplies imagery for Google Maps and Google Earth.

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Categories: remote sensing, satellite imagery

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