TEHRAN (Iran News) – Iran’s ambassador to the Vienna-based international organizations announced on Tuesday that the Islamic Republic will soon produce enriched uranium metal for the Tehran research reactor.
Kazem Gharibabadi said Iran had earlier informed the United Nations nuclear watchdog’s International Atomic Energy Agency of the move.
The uranium silicide plate is enriched to 20 percent purity.
“Research and development regarding this issue with natural uranium began about three months ago. In the new process, a new fuel plate will be produced using 20 percent enriched uranium,” Gharibabadi told reporters.
“This measure, which will significantly improve the quality and quantity of radiopharmaceutical production, will make the Islamic Republic of Iran one of the leading countries in the field of nuclear technology,” the Iranian diplomat added, according to Press TV.
Gharibabadi said the IAEA had been informed of Iran’s move nine days earlier and the relevant operations had begun right afterwards.
Gharibabadi described the silicide plate as a modern type of nuclear fuel whose technology is only available to a handful of countries.
The IAEA said in a statement on Tuesday that Iran intends to use domestically enriched uranium (U-235) with 20 percent purity as fuel in the Tehran reactor.
“Today, Iran informed the Agency that UO2 (uranium oxide) enriched up to 20% U-235 would be shipped to the R&D laboratory at a plant in Esfahan, where it would be converted to UF4 (uranium tetrafluoride) and then to uranium metal enriched to 20% U-235, before using it to manufacture the fuel,” the statement said.
The IAEA also said the process would be a multi-step measure, suggesting that it would take much time.