Iran HEU fuel plant ready by year end

18 October 2011

Iran has produced nearly 70 kg of 20% enriched uranium and will inaugurate a new facility to turn it into research reactor fuel plates within the next three months, Fars News Agency reported foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi as saying. Salehi made his comments at a ceremony to mark the shipment of a "first batch of home-produced uranium oxide" to the Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility. Fars did not elaborate on the source of the yellowcake: uranium produced from Iranian operations at Bandar Abbas has been transported to Isfahan for some time, although earlier reports citing Salehi have suggested that a uranium mine in the province of Yazd was approaching start up. A nearby mill at Ardakan was still under construction as of October 2010. Iran's permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh, has previously said that Iran needs 120 kg of 20% enriched uranium to fuel the Tehran research reactor.