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Official: 1st phase of Iran's nuclear rod production complex to put into operation
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09:09, November 27, 2008

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The construction of Iran's 40-megawatt reactor is in progress and its first phase for production of nuclear rods and fuel will become operational in next few months, a senior official said on Wednesday.

The reactor, situated in Arak, Markazi province, will put into operation by the end of the current Iranian year (March 20, 2009),the official IRNA news agency quoted head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Reza Aqazadeh saying.

Aqazadeh told reporters that "Arak heavy water project is now operating with full capacity and good progress has been made in construction of its 40-megawatt reactor," according to IRNA.

Asked when nuclear fuel rod manufacturing complex will in use, Aqazadeh said "one of the projects, which first will come on stream by the year end, is the Fuel Manufacturing Plant (FMP) and the first product of the FMP is fuel for the 40-megawatt Arak reactor."

He said the Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facilities (UCF), also operates in full capacity and that "over the past few years we have had very good production," adding that "I hope that supply of fuel to Bushehr nuclear power plant will start if Russians do not break their promises."

Aqazadeh said earlier on Wednesday that more than 5,000 centrifuges are now operating in the country.

"At present, we have more than 5,000 centrifuges operating," Aqazadeh told reporters on the sidelines of the Exclusive Exhibition on Nuclear Industry Achievements.

"Suspension has no meaning at all in Iran's culture and no such a thing exists," he added.

In August Iran said that 4,000 centrifuges were operating at the plant in Iranian central city of Natanz.

Iran continues carrying out its uranium enrichment, according to an investigation report circulated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohammed ElBaradei to the agency's Board of Governors in Vienna last Wednesday.

The investigation report on Iran's nuclear issue said that the nuclear center at Iran's Natanz has already established 6,000 centrifuges for enriching uranium, in which 3,800 are in operation.

According to estimates, Iran has obtained two tons of enriched uranium since its uranium enrichment activities restarted at the Natanz nuclear center two years ago.

The UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions in two years requesting Iran to halt its questionable uranium enrichment activities and imposed sanctions on Iran as it refused to cooperate, but Iran has never stopped its industrial uranium enrichment.

ElBaradei also admitted in the report that over the recent three months, IAEA inspectors cannot verify whether Iran has a secret plan for nuclear weapon development, as the connection between IAEA and Iran has actually been cut off. Iran refused to provide any support for IAEA's investigation on the nature of its nuclear plans.

The United States and other western countries keep accusing Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons, but Iran insists that its nuclear plans are only for peaceful purpose.


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