Iran to Un­veil Home­grown Type of Nu­clear Fuel Rod

Iran News - - FRONT PAGE -

TEHRAN - Iran has man­aged to de­velop a new type of fuel for Tehran Re­search Re­ac­tor, the head of the Atomic En­ergy Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Iran an­nounced, hail­ing it as a great progress for the coun­try in its ef­forts to de­velop do­mes­tic nu­clear re­ac­tors.

Speak­ing to IRIB News on Sun­day, Ali Akbar Salehi said the new type of fuel, which will be un­veiled soon, would boost pro­duc­tiv­ity of the re­ac­tor.

“We have made such a great progress in the nu­clear sci­ence that we can de­velop new types of fuel, in­stead of re­verse en­gi­neer­ing and us­ing the de­sign of oth­ers,” he said.

Salehi said the de­sign of the new type of nu­clear fuel was a ma­jor chal­lenge in de­vel­op­ing re­ac­tors, which means Iran has over­come tech­ni­cal hur­dles and is now closer to build­ing its own re­ac­tors.

For a brief re­view of Iran’s achieve­ments in var­i­ous fields of sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy, check the book “Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy in Iran: A Brief Re­view”

The TRR is a light-wa­ter re­ac­tor de­vel­oped by the U.S. and given to Iran in 1967, along with weapon-grade ura­nium fuel. Salehi said that first steps have been taken for the de­sign­ing of an up­grade ver­sion of 20% en­riched ura­nium fuel, which is more ef­fi­cient than the fuel al­ready used in Tehran nu­clear re­ac­tor.

He hailed the coun­try’s progress in the nu­clear en­ergy sec­tor, adding “we have made so much progress in the field of nu­clear knowl­edge and in­dus­try that in­stead of us­ing re­verse en­gi­neer­ing, we can now de­sign a new re­ac­tor fuel from scratch.”

He said Tehran nu­clear re­ac­tor used to run on an older ver­sion of fuel, but the new de­sign for the 20% fuel will in­crease the re­ac­tor’s ef­fi­ciency.

Salehi added that the coun­try is on the verge of de­sign­ing the new, up­graded fuel that can be used in any re­ac­tor. “De­sign­ing re­ac­tors has now be­come a very pos­si­ble task for the Ira­nian ex­perts,” he said.

The nu­clear chief then noted the Ira­nian nu­clear sci­en­tists’ suc­cess at pro­duc­ing the raw ma­te­rial for the tracer FDG (flu­o­rodeoxyglu­cose), which is used in PET scan, adding “the raw ma­te­rial for FDG is Oxy­gen-18, which we suc­ceeded in pro­duc­ing in Arak re­ac­tor with 95% pu­rity.”

He added once the hy­drol­y­sis stage is com­pleted, Iran will no longer need to ex­port Oxy­gen-18.

“Our pro­duc­tion ca­pa­bil­ity in this field has in­creased to the ex­tent that we can ex­port a part of our prod­ucts to other coun­tries,” Salehi main­tained.

After the 1979 Is­lamic Rev­o­lu­tion, Iran was un­able to sup­ply the re­quired fuel from abroad, so the re­ac­tor was mod­i­fied to use fuel en­riched below 20%, which could be bought from Ar­gentina.

In 2012, Iran an­nounced that for the first time it was load­ing do­mes­ti­cally made rods into the re­ac­tor, after for­eign pro­duc­ers re­fused to sell it to Tehran.

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