Iran: We will make our own fuel for reactor within 1 year

Atomic chief Salehi says Iran has produced 25 kgs of 20 percent enriched uranium since February and will continue enriching to produce fuel for Teheran research reactor.

Iranian uranium fuel disks 311 (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Iranian uranium fuel disks 311
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
TEHERAN, Iran — Iran claimed that it will produce fuel for a research reactor that makes medical isotopes within a year, a project likely to add to Western concerns about the country's nuclear ambitions.
Iran has justified its decision to enrich uranium to higher levels by saying it would be part of the process to create fuel for its research reactor after a deal meant to provide such fuel from abroad fell apart earlier this year. The US and its allies imposed sanctions on Iran for refusing to halt uranium enrichment, which the West suspects might be geared toward producing weapons. Iran insists its intentions are peaceful.
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Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi said Iran will continue to enrich uranium to the level of 20 percent to produce fuel for the reactor in the capital Teheran, the official IRNA news agency reported Monday.
"From today, we will produce the complete fuel required for the Teheran research reactor within one year," Salehi was quoted by IRNA as saying.
Iran says its aging 5-megawatt US-made research reactor is still operating but will run out of fuel within a year or two. Salehi did not say how much fuel would be enough to keep it running, but he said the country has produced 25 kilograms (55 pounds) of 20 percent enriched uranium since it began in February.
Salehi, who is also the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said Iran has every right to enrich uranium to 20 percent or at any other level.
"It is Iran's right to enrich uranium not only to the level of 20 percent but also to any level for peaceful affairs," he said.
Salehi also said Tehran has begun to design a reactor similar to that of the Teheran research reactor in order to be able to produce medical radioisotopes for patients but didn't elaborate.