Iran makes fuel assembly for Bushehr nuclear plant using lead pellets

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian scientists manufactured a fuel assembly which is practically utilizable in the reactor of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, but its pellets are made out of lead, Chief of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi said on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony in Tehran, held to mark the National Nuclear Technology Day, Salehi pointed to a series of remarkable achievements by the country’s nuclear scientists over the past year.

“We have always sought to make sure that we are capable of making the fuel (assemblies) for Busheher (nuclear plant) and the first step was taken thanks to our nuclear scientists,” he told reporters, adding that the first homegrown fuel assembly for the power plant’s reactor has been manufactured.

The pellets inside the assembly are made of lead, but the whole other components of the assembly are real, he said.

Salehi said such an achievements is no less important than 20 percent enriched uranium.

Asked about the possible reactions to Iran’s manufacturing of fuel assemblies, Salehi said, “As regards the uranium stockpile, we have a stockpile of 8 tons (of low-enriched uranium), while according to the Lausanne statement, we have to reduce it to 300 kilograms, thus, one of the ways to convert uranium is to make hard pellets.”

This year’s National Nuclear Technology Day in Iran comes after Tehran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany) on April 2 reached a framework nuclear agreement after more than a week of intensive negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland, with both sides committed to push for a final, comprehensive accord until the end of June.

The framework provides a series of solutions that will be the basis of a comprehensive joint plan of action.

By Tasnim News Agency