Iran has 1,400 uranium mines: AEOI official

Iran Materials 18 December 2006 17:29 (UTC +04:00)

(IRNA) - Iran has 1,400 uranium mines, an official at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said here Monday.

AEOI Deputy Head for Nuclear Fuel Hossein Faqihian made the the disclosure in an address to a conference introducing the nation's nuclear technologies and achievements in the northeastern city of Mashhad, reports Trend.

"The mines are scattered in one-third of Iranian territory particularly in the central areas of Saghand, south of Bandar Abbas, Khashouri, Narigan and Zarigan," he said.

He pointed out that nuclear energy is a good alternative to energy derived from non-renewable fossil fuels as they are cleaner and cause less environmental damage.

"We need power plants and mastery of the nuclear fuel cycle as indispensable requirements for producing nuclear fuel. But the initial step is to have a sufficient supply of uranium to produce yellowcake.

"The intial process is being carried out in Bandar Abbas (in southern Hormuzgan province) and in Ardekan (in central Yazd)," Faqihian said.

He said that the third step involves a process of converting yellowcake into a new combination, adding that this process is being carried out at Isfahan's uranium conversion facility (UCF).

"The fourth and most important step of the nuclear fuel cycle is enrichment," he said.

"There are currently 10 countries in the world which are able to enrich uranium. The Islamic Republic of Iran is one of these." The AEOI official further said that "there are 450 nuclear power plants in the world which produce 300-1,000mw of electricity. "When Iran's Bushehr power plant becomes operational, it will have the capacity to produce 1,000mw of electricity."

The AEOI deputy head stressed the importance of nuclear energy in civilian life and said Iran should not cower to the West's opposition to its peaceful nuclear program.