Iran set for own re­ac­tor fuel

Business Day - - INTERNATIONAL - Agency Staff Dubai

Iran is tak­ing pre­lim­i­nary steps to de­sign ura­nium fuel with a pu­rity of 20% for re­ac­tors in­stead of hav­ing to copy for­eign de­signs, its nu­clear chief says.

Iran’s 2015 nu­clear ac­cord with world pow­ers caps the level to which it is able to en­rich ura­nium to 3.67% pu­rity, well below the 20% it was reach­ing be­fore the deal, and the roughly 90% that is weapons-grade.

Iran is, how­ever, al­lowed to pro­duce nu­clear fuel un­der strict con­di­tions that need to be ap­proved by a work­ing group set up by the sig­na­to­ries to the deal. Those con­di­tions in­clude en­sur­ing that the fuel can­not be con­verted to ura­nium hex­aflu­o­ride, the feed­stock for cen­trifuges that en­rich ura­nium.

“We have made such progress in nu­clear sci­ence and in­dus­try that, in­stead of re­verseengi­neer­ing and the use of de­signs by oth­ers, we can de­sign new fuel our­selves,” state broad­caster IRIB quoted Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic En­ergy Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Iran.

“Ini­tial mea­sures have been started for the de­sign of mod­ern 20% fuel and we’re on the verge of [achiev­ing] it. This prod­uct is dif­fer­ent from the pre­vi­ous 20% fuel, and we can sup­ply fuel to any re­ac­tor that is built like the Tehran re­ac­tor,” Salehi said. That “re­ac­tor has been work­ing with old fuel, but mod­ern fuel can im­prove ef­fi­ciency”.

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