More Uranian Deposits Found in Iran, Days Before Nuclear Talks

Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani Credit: Reuters
Head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani
Credit: Reuters

Days before resuming talks over its disputed atomic program, Iran said on Saturday it had found significant new deposits of raw uranium and identified sites for 16 more nuclear power stations.

State news agency IRNA quoted a report by the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) which said the reserves were discovered in northern and southern coastal areas and had trebled the amount outlined in previous estimates.

There was no independent confirmation. With few uranium mines of its own, Western experts had previously thought that Iran might be close to exhausting its supply of raw uranium.

“We have discovered new sources of uranium in the country and we will put them to use in the near future,” Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, head of the AEOI, was quoted as saying at Iran’s annual nuclear industry conference.

The timing of the announcement suggested Iran, by talking up its reserves and nuclear ambitions, may hope to strengthen its negotiating hand at talks in Kazakhstan on Tuesday with the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

Diplomats say the six powers, known as the P5+1, are set to offer Iran some relief from international sanctions if it agrees to curb its production of higher-grade enriched uranium.

The West says Iran’s enrichment of uranium to a fissile purity of 20 percent demonstrates its intent to develop a nuclear weapons capability, an allegation the Islamic republic denies.

FROM MINE TO CENTRIFUGE

The enriched uranium required for use in nuclear reactors or weapons is produced in centrifuges that spin uranium hexafluoride gas (UF6) at high speeds. The UF6 is derived from yellow cake, a concentrate from uranium ore discovered in mines.

Iran’s reserves of raw uranium now stood at around 4,400 tonnes, taking into account discoveries over the past 18 months, IRNA quoted the report as saying.

In another sign that Iran is intent on pushing forward with its nuclear ambitions, the report also said 16 sites had been identified for the construction of nuclear power stations.

It did not specify the exact locations but said they included coastal areas of the Gulf, Sea ofOman, Khuzestan province and the Caspian Sea.

Iranian authorities have long announced their desire to build more nuclear power plants for electricity production. Only one currently exists, in the southern city of Bushehr, and that has suffered several shutdowns in recent months.

The announcements could further complicate the search for a breakthrough in Kazakhstan, after three unsuccessful rounds of talks between the two sides in 2012.

“We are meeting all of our obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and we should be able to benefit from our rights. We don’t accept more responsibilities and less rights,” Saeed Jalili, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, was quoted as telling Saturday’s conference.

In what Washington has called a provocative move, Iran is also installing new-generation centrifuges, capable of producing enriched uranium much faster, at a site in Natanz in the centre of the country.

Western diplomats say the P5+1 will reiterate demands for the suspension of uranium enrichment to a purity of 20 percent, the closure of Iran’s Fordow enrichment plant, increased access for International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors and agreement to address concerns on existing uranium stockpiles.

In return, the latest embargoes on gold and metals trading with Iran would be lifted. Iran has criticized the offer and says its rights need to be fully recognized.

“If the P5+1 group wants to start constructive talks with Tehran it needs to present a valid proposal,” said Jalili. “It needs to put its past errors to one side … to win the trust of the Iranian nation.”

In a statement issued before the Iranian announcement, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said the six-power group wanted to enter a ‘substantial negotiation process’ over Tehran’s nuclear program.

“The talks in Almaty are a chance which I hope Iran takes,” he said.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Train selfie star who got kicked in the…

  A 22-year-old Canadian man who posted a video of himself getting kicked in the head by a train conductor is set to cash in…

National

Call of Duty hoaxer blamed for $100K SWAT…

A heavilly-armed SWAT team and an army of police officers stormed a Long Island home fearing a grisly double homicide – only to find it…

National

Minnie Driver tweets naked celebrity snap to 'shut…

Actress Minnie Driver has responded to bitchy critics who sniped about her bikini body by Tweeting a naked picture of herself. The 44-year-old star of…

National

American middle classes no longer world's richest (guess…

America's middle classes are no longer the richest in the world – having been overtaken in the wealth stakes by their Canadian counterparts. For almost…

Television

John Turturro tags in for Robert De Niro…

The cast of the courtroom drama miniseries has undergone yet another shift. Following Robert De Niro's exit, the cable network has brought in John Turturro…

Arts

"The Shape She Makes", an "extraordinary treat" at…

“The Shape She Makes” is a fascinating melding of theater and dance in a narrative that exposes human vulnerability in its purest form. Initially, the…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 22: 'Glee,' 'Agents…

'Glee' Rachel makes her Broadway debut in "Funny Girl." Remember when she was just a high school drama nerd? FOX, 8PM 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'…

The Word

Lindsay Lohan's big, drunk interview

Lindsay Lohan appears to be completely off the wagon now, if Kode magazine's chronicle of her trip to Coachella is any indication. According to the…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Yankees rout Red Sox, 9-3

Jon Lester allows eight runs in 4 2/3 innings taking loss

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers,…

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers, Cardinals, Yankees surge. The A's, Braves, Rangers, Giants and Rockies are also in the top 10.

Sports

American runners stand tallest in 2014 Boston Marathon

American runners stand tallest in 2014 Boston Marathon

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon results: American Meb Keflezighi wins…

2014 Boston Marathon results: American Meb Keflezighi wins men's race

Wellbeing

How to burn off all that Easter candy

Sorry to be a buzzkill, but you can't eat chocolate eggs and Jelly Bellys forever.

Food

Powdered alcohol: 5 things to know about 'Palcohol'

What's the deal with powdered alcohol? Here's what you need to know about Palcohol.

Travel

Travel hacks: 6 tips on living out of…

Lynne Martin shares her travel hacks on living out of just two suitcases.

Wellbeing

Tough Mudder pro gives tips on conquering a…

Learn hacks from head designer Nolan Kombol.