Iran to load own nuclear fuel rods in Tehran reactor

TEHRAN Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:57am EST

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TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran will load domestically made nuclear fuel rods into its Tehran Research Reactor on Wednesday for the first time to keep it running, a senior official told a national news agency.

Tehran had announced in January that it had successfully manufactured and tested fuel rods for use in nuclear power plants, a move to show that international sanctions are failing to stop it making advances in nuclear know-how and to strengthen its hand in any renewed negotiations with six world powers.

"The first home-made nuclear fuel roads will be loaded in the Tehran Nuclear Research Reactor in the presence of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad," Ali Baqeri, deputy head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, told student news agency ISNA.

The Tehran reactor produces radio-isotopes for use in medical treatments and agriculture.

Iran says it was forced to make its own fuel for the Tehran reactor after failing to agree terms for a deal to obtain it from the West to replenish imported Argentinian stocks expected to run out in the near future. But many analysts doubted Iran would be able to convert its uranium into special reactor fuel.

The West accuses Iran of covertly trying to develop the means to produce nuclear bombs with its uranium enrichment program. Iran, the world's No. 5 crude oil exporter, says its nuclear facilities are part of a peaceful energy program and it would retaliate for any attack on them.

The most recent talks between world powers and Iran failed in January 2011 because of Iran's refusal to suspend its sensitive uranium enrichment work, as demanded by several U.N. resolutions and major powers.

But Iran says it is ready to hold fresh talks with no preconditions. "We will also send a reply to the EU's foreign policy chief (about nuclear talks) today," Baqeri said.

(Reporting by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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Comments (9)
mpatter wrote:
Iran is a nuclear-power nation for all practical purposes; only people who lie to themselves would deny that. There has never been a better time to put our election year politics aside and make some hard choices. The hard pill to swallow, in this case, is the fact that hardliners in Iran can only be undermined by accepting Iran’s nuclear program as a stating point for a dialogue. Refusing to accept what they already have is counterproductive, if not childish, at best.

Feb 15, 2012 4:38am EST  --  Report as abuse
Logical123 wrote:
Iran should thank incompetent Obama for rejecting the Tehran Declaration. Now, Iran is one of only four countries in the world that are capable of producing these rods. Americans thought that Iran would have to beg the West for these rods since they were running out of fuel and did not have the technology to build these rods. Well, Iran has now proved that it has advance scientific and engineering capability.

Feb 15, 2012 4:42am EST  --  Report as abuse
McDuderson wrote:
Wow, look at that, it only took one post for someone to somehow blame this on Obama!

Feb 15, 2012 4:59am EST  --  Report as abuse
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