Iran to Unveil Homegrown Type of Nuclear Fuel Rod
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.
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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.