TEHRAN, Iran, AP -Iran on Sunday rejected reports that it has used Chinese uranium gas for enrichment, saying it used its own domestically produced high-quality gas.
Iran heightened international concerns over its nuclear ambitions by announcing April 11 that it had enriched uranium for the first time with 164 centrifuges. Enrichment, in which uranium gas is spun in centrifuges, can produce fuel for a reactor or material for a nuclear warhead.
Diplomats in Vienna, where the U.N. nuclear watchdog is based, later said it appeared Iran used Chinese uranium gas obtained in the 1990s to feed into centrifuges because its domestically produced uranium gas was too impure.
“It is not correct. We don’t use any foreign materials for enrichment. Uranium enriched at Natanz is from the uranium gas produced at Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters.
Iran has informed the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency that it plans to install 3,000 centrifuges in the last quarter of 2006. Iran’s final aim is to install 54,000 centrifuges at Natanz to annually produce 30 tons of nuclear fuel, enough to run a 1000-megawatt nuclear power plant.