Iran’s Nuclear Program Advances as it opens uranium mines, yellowcake plant and Unveils New Hi-Tech Radiomedicines


Iran's Yellow Cake PlantJNN 11 Apr 2013 TEHRAN – Iran started extraction from two uranium mines and opened a yellowcake plant on Tuesday to mark National Nuclear Technology Day. On the same day in a different ceremony Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveiled five new home-made radiomedicines in a ceremony here in Tehran on Tuesday.

Operations began at the Saghand 1 and 2 mines in the central province of Yazd and the Shahid Rezaeinejad yellowcake plant in the town of Ardakan in the same province by order of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who attended a ceremony held in Tehran to celebrate the occasion.

The Shahid Rezaeinejad facility has the capacity to produce about 60 tons of yellowcake, the raw material for uranium enrichment.

Iran and world powers held two days of talks in the Kazakh city of Almaty on Friday and Saturday to help resolve a decade-old dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program, but failed to reach any agreement.

Iran’s higher-grade uranium enrichment program lies at the heart of the controversy. Iran denies Western accusations that it is seeking a nuclear weapons capability and says its nuclear activities are entirely peaceful and insists that its right to uranium enrichment, as enumerated in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, must be recognized.

During the ceremony, an electrostatic nuclear accelerator, which has medical and industrial applications, and five new domestically produced radioisotopes were also unveiled.

Radioisotope is a radioactive isotope which is used in physical and biological researches and therapeutics.

The radioisotopes which are produced in Iran are mainly used for diagnosis and treatment of various cancers or are used to alleviate cancer-related pains.

President Ahmadinejad delivered a speech in which he said that Iran would push ahead with its nuclear program.

“Today, Iran has gone nuclear, and no one can take it away from us,” he said, adding, “No one is able to put the brakes on the country’s nuclear achievements.”

Iran to build new nuclear powers plants

Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) director Fereydoun Abbasi also said in the ceremony that preparations had been made to start the construction of at least two 1000 megawatt nuclear power plants during the current Iranian calendar year, which started on March 21.

Commenting on the proposal put forward by world powers in the previous round of talks in Almaty on February 26 and 27, Abbasi said that Iran would continue producing enriched uranium to a purity level of 20 percent as much as it needed.

According to the New York Times, the major powers demanded that Iran suspend enrichment work at the Fordo facility – where it enriches uranium to 20 percent – and agree to unspecified conditions that would make it hard to quickly resume production. They also said Iran could continue to keep a small amount of uranium enriched to 20 percent for use in the Tehran research reactor, which produces medical isotopes for cancer treatment.

“We produced 20 percent enriched uranium to keep the Tehran research reactor operational, and we will produce it as long as we need this fuel, and in view of the fact that we plan to build five new research reactors in the country, we need to continue producing this fuel,” Abbasi said

The radiomedicines have been developed and produced by Iranian experts at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and with the cooperation of the presidential office for science and technology.

On Sunday Iranian Vice-President for Science and Technology Nasrin Soltankhah said,

“Five radiomedicines, in whose production the Atomic Energy Organization has played the central role, will be unveiled by the end of Farvardin (mid April).”

She explained that the new radiomedicines are used for “diagnosing and curing refractory diseases, cancer in particular”.

Elaborating on the other scientific achievements of the country, the vice-president said the Iranian health ministry has managed to produce 8 medicines which used to be imported to Iran, and added that production of these 8 drugs are among the 60 macro-scale scientific projects underway in the country.

Soltankhah further announced that 28 science-based products will also be unveiled in the near future.

In February, AEOI Chief Fereidoun Abbasi announced that Iran is due to unveil 8 new radiomedicines with applications for diagnosis, prevention and treatment of a number of diseases.

“We have produced a number of radiomedicines before, and at present we have 5 new radiomedicines under production,” Abbasi said at a ceremony in Tehran at the time.

“They (the new radiomedicines) should pass clinical verifications and then obtain the necessary license from the Health Ministry before they can be unveiled and supplied to the market,” he added.

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