Seeking Self-Sufficiency, Iran Expands Uranium Mining

Domestic Industry Will Allow Civilian Program to Continue

by Jason Ditz, April 09, 2013

Amid US calls for yet more sanctions and threats to attack militarily, Iran has announced that it is expanding domestic uranium mining, giving foreign powers even less control over its civilian program.

Iran got its nuclear program started acquiring yellowcake uranium abroad, and using that for its enrichment cycle. The US-backed shah bought large amounts of yellowcake from South Africa before the Iranian Revolution. Iran only succeeded in processing it themselves out of mined ore fairly recently.

Today’s announcement includes two new mines as well as a yellowcake processing facility, which will take the ore from the mines and turn it into a form usable in their enrichment systems.

Iranian media showed opening ceremonies at the sites and officials urged the international community to simply accept Iran’s civilian program as a fact and work toward a negotiated solution to their ongoing dispute.

Officials say that the new Yellowcake Production Plant can produce 66 tons of yellowcake per year, approximately one third of the amount needed to produce fuel to run the Bushehr nuclear power plant.

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