Iran announces uranium discovery days before nuclear talks

DUBAI Sat Feb 23, 2013 5:31pm IST

A suspected uranium-enrichment facility near Qom, 156 km (97 miles) southwest of Tehran, is seen in this September 27, 2009 satellite photograph released by DigitalGlobe on September 28, 2009. REUTERS/DigitalGlobe/Handout/Files

A suspected uranium-enrichment facility near Qom, 156 km (97 miles) southwest of Tehran, is seen in this September 27, 2009 satellite photograph released by DigitalGlobe on September 28, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/DigitalGlobe/Handout/Files

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran said it has found significant new deposits of raw uranium to feed its nuclear programme and has identified sites for 16 more nuclear power stations, just days before talks with Western powers over its disputed atomic programme.

The Iran Atomic Energy Organisation report cited by state news agency IRNA on Saturday said the deposits were found in "southern coastal areas" and had trebled the amount outlined in previous estimates.

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

Diplomats say the United States and its allies - the so called P5+1 - are set to offer Iran some relief from their sanctions at the talks in Kazakhstan on Tuesday if it agrees to curb its production of higher grade enriched uranium.

The West says the production demonstrates Tehran's intent to develop a nuclear weapons capability, an allegation the Islamic republic denies.

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 in a reaction from yellow cake, a concentrate from uranium ore discovered in mines.

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

In another announcement that is likely to concern the West, 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 of Oman, Khuzestan province and in coastal areas of the Caspian Sea.

(Reporting by Marcus George; Editing by Alison Williams)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Market Eye

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Climate Change

Climate Change

Climate change to cut South Asia's growth 9 percent by 2100 - ADB.  Full Article 

Ballmer Exits

Ballmer Exits

Ex-CEO Ballmer quits Microsoft board to focus on NBA's Clippers  Full Article 

Brent Prices

Brent Prices

Brent holds near 14-month low on plentiful supply.  Full Article 

A Man's World

A Man's World

Despite lip service, Silicon Valley venture capital still a man’s world.  Full Article 

Needless Spending

Needless Spending

Exclusive - Icahn says Family Dollar wasting over $300 mln in breakup fees .  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage