Iran develops uranium separation machinery

Iran develops uranium separation machinery
Sunday ,  01 January 2006

TEHRAN  –     Iran said on Sunday it had developed machinery to separate uranium from its ore, part of the Islamic state’s ongoing drive to become self-sufficient in nuclear technology.

The mixer-settler machinery was developed by Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO), state television said.

"Unfortunately, because of the problems that exist, it was not possible for us to buy this machine from abroad and we had to build it domestically. Fortunately, we succeeded," an unidentified IAEO official said.

Iran’s efforts to build a full nuclear fuel cycle has caused alarm in the West which fears Tehran could use the technology to build atomic weapons. Iran says it only wants to use its nuclear facilities to generate electricity.

In August Iran announced another breakthrough in nuclear technology by using biotechnology to produce larger and cheaper quantities of uranium oxide, or yellow cake, from uranium ore.

Yellowcake is processed and then enriched to produce nuclear reactor fuel or, if highly enriched, bomb-grade material.