Iran unveiled on Wednesday what it says are a new generation of centrifuges to speed up uranium enrichment and its first domestically produced fuel rods, VOA reported. The new carbon fiber centrifuges have been installed and reportedly operated at a uranium enrichment plant in the central desert city of Natanz.
Also Wednesday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad overseeing the loading of what it said are 20 percent enriched uranium fuel rods into an aging Tehran reactor. The 43-year-old plant produces nuclear isotopes for treating cancer patients and is expected to soon run out of imported fuel stocks.
Iranian state media also reported that Ahmadinejad was set to formally declare the Fordo enrichment site – an underground complex built inside a mountain near the holy city of Qom – to be “fully operational.”
Iran says it wants to secure parts of its enrichment activities at Fordo in order for its nuclear program to survive a hostile military airstrike. Iran showed no sign of wavering on its resolve to pursue a nuclear program despite Western sanctions inflicting increasing damage on its oil-based economy.
Russia’s deputy foreign minister said Wednesday that a nuclear-armed Iran is “not an option for Russia,” voicing concern at progress made by Tehran in its nuclear drive.