Iran Closer to Fueling Nuke Reactor, VP Claims

First time Iran has made claim
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 24, 2007 5:55 PM CST
A general view of Iran's nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz, 300 kms 186 (miles) south of capital Tehran, Iran, in this photo taken in April, 2007. (AP photo/Hasan Sarbakhshian, FILE)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Iran claims to have made nuclear fuel pellets of uranium oxide, a major step in its quest to fuel a heavy water reactor, the AP reports. It also claims to be making pellets for light water reactors, like the one Russia is helping it build on the Persian Gulf coast—a move the US and its allies oppose because it could lead to nuclear weapons.

But ex-nuclear inspector David Albright says Iran is making enriched uranium only "on a very small scale and it's got to be only for testing purposes." Its 400 pounds of the substance is a mere fraction of what is needed to run a power reactor. Yet Iran refuses to stop its uranium enrichment program, despite two rounds of UN sanctions.