Iran Nuclear Official: We Can Independently Construct Pool-type Reactors

Head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran says Islamic Republic able to produce fuel plates necessary to complete nuclear facility similar to the Tehran research reactor.

Iran is capable of independently constructing a pool-type nuclear reactor, the head of the country's atomic agency said on Saturday.

Speaking to the state-run television broadcaster Press TV, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Mohammad Abbasi said that Iran was “capable of designing and building pool reactors in the country because the main problem was the production of fuel plates which our fuel [production] complexes are currently producing.”

Tehran's nuclear research - AP

“Pool reactors are similar to the Tehran [Research] Reactor which has a capacity of 5 megawatts (MW) [of electricity] and we are planning to build a similar reactor with a capacity of up to10 MW  in the country," he added.

The Tehran reactor was established in 1967, and the fuel was initially provided by Argentina, but this stopped a few years ago. The fuel was then to be provided by Russia and France, but a deal struck in October 2009 failed.

Iran started making the fuel by first enriching uranium to 20 per cent and then turning it into fuel rods. Last month, Ahmadinejad winessed the insertion of the country's first domestically made rods into the Tehran reactor.

That plant will now be able to enrich uranium to 20 percent and will also use a new type of centrifuge, capable of enrichment speeds three times higher than previous models.

Speaking to Press TV on Saturday, Abbasi also discussed to what he referred to as ongoing nuclear cooperation with Russia, saying: “Since the Russian contractor of Bushehr nuclear power plant has worked properly [on the project] in recent years and they have shown their resolve to finish Bushehr power plan with quality, we are willing to work with them on several more power plants.”