Iran says it can make nuclear fuel rods, plates: media

12:59, January 09, 2011      

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Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and acting foreign minister Ali-Akbar Salehi announced Saturday that Tehran is capable of making nuclear fuel plates and rods, local semi-official Fars news agency reported.

The Iranian atomic chief said that Tehran has built a facility in the central city of Isfahan to develop the technology required for power nuclear reactors.

"We have built an advanced manufacturing unit in the Isfahan site for the fuel plates," Salehi was quoted by Fars as saying.

"A grand transformation has taken place in the production of ( nuclear) plates and rods. With the completion of the unit in Isfahan, we are one of the few countries which can produce fuel rods and fuel plates," Salehi said.

The Western policies towards Iran have propelled the country's nuclear achievements, including the production of nuclear plates and rods, he added.

"This is in fact because of [the] West's actions that we came to this point," he said.

Salehi also told Fars that Iran has so far produced almost 40 kg of 20 percent enriched uranium to supply fuel to the Tehran research reactor.

"We have produced about 40 kg of 20 percent (enriched) uranium and we hope to witness the injection of the first batch of Iran- made 20 percent fuel to the Tehran research reactor soon," he said.

On Nov. 23, Salehi told state news agency IRNA that the actual process of producing nuclear fuel for Tehran's research reactor would start in September 2011.

In February, Iran announced that it would start enriching high- grade uranium to a purity of 20 percent after the West failed to provide Tehran with the fuel.

Western countries have accused Iran of covertly building nuclear weapons, but Tehran maintains that its nuclear program is for peaceful purpose and aims to generate electricity for civilian use.

Source: Xinhua
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