Ahmadinejad Opens Iran’s First Nuclear Fuel Plant
9 Apr 09 | PTV
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has inaugurated the country’s first Fuel Manufacturing Plant (FMP) in the central city of Isfahan.
As the country celebrated the National Nuclear Day on Thursday, President Ahmadinejad cut the ribbon at the fuel facility in Isfahan marking a major breakthrough in Iran’s disputed nuclear program.
The launch of the Isfahan facility marks Iran’s mastery of the final stage of the lengthy nuclear fuel production process.
The FMP in Isfahan will convert enriched uranium hexafluoride into uranium dioxide (UO2) powder which will later be processed into pellet form.
The pellets will then be stacked into tubes of corrosion-resistant metal alloy called fuel rods.
The finished fuel rods will then be assembled together to build up the nuclear fuel core of a power reactor.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected to announce the launch of a new generation of centrifuges on Iran’s National Nuclear Day.
The President is set to unveil the plan in a Thursday ceremony in the central city of Isfahan on Iran’s third annual National Nuclear Day, Jamejamonline reported.
With the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEO) Gholam-Reza Aqazadeh in attendance, the country’s latest nuclear developments — including the launch of a new generation of centrifuges — will be unveiled.
Aqazadeh had earlier hinted that Iran would install a new generation of centrifuges — more advanced than the existing ones. He had made the announcement on the eve of the pre-commissioning of Bushehr nuclear power plant in late February.
“Iran will install 50,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium at its Natanz plant, up from the 6,000 now running. The country will install a new generation of centrifuges, technologically more advanced than the ones in operation, in the immediate future.”
The nuclear official noted that Iran, however, would not “make any major changes in its projects in Natanz,” saying “We have neither slowed down nor stepped up our work there.”
Ahmadinejad is also expected to make an announcement regarding the final date set for the official launch of the Bushehr power plant, the country’s first nuclear power plant to produce electricity.
The President will tour the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility and be briefed on the centrifuges that are used in uranium enrichment.
Pakistan has decided to go ahead with a joint pipeline project with Iran to meet its domestic needs — despite intense US pressure.
Islamabad has agreed to a price formula offered by Tehran to import Iranian natural gas via a multi-billion-dollar pipeline project, according to Dawn.
The Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline is a $7.4 billion project to transfer Iranian gas to the two nuclear power rivals after the laying of a 2,600-kilometer (1,600-mile) pipeline.
Mounting tension between Islamabad and New Delhi has stalled talks on the completion of the project. Iran, Pakistan and India have stepped up efforts to resolve their differences, which are mainly over prices and transit fees.
The US, however, has also pressured the states to avoid the project, saying the plan is unacceptable while the nuclear argument between Tehran and Washington remains unresolved.
Pakistani Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira said on Wednesday, however, that Pakistan had decided to participate in the project without considering “US pressure, that forced India to pull out of it”.
In a meeting with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in Tehran on March 10, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei expressed hope that the pipeline would come on stream as soon as possible.
Zardari, who was in Tehran for a summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization, said that the completion of projects between Iran and Pakistan would benefit the interests of the future generations of both countries.
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