IRNA, the official Iranian news agency, reported today that the Iranian government has approved a plan to build 10 additional uranium enrichment plants. IRNA said the decision has “infuriated” the US administration.
President Ahmadinejad has ordered the construction of the new sites to produce some 250-300 tons of LEU annually. The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran will be in charge of the construction of the new sites. The current Iranian inventory of LEU is reportedly less than two tons.
The move would signify a major expansion of enrichment activities by Iran. It was not clear why the country would need so much LEU fuel when it does not even have a single running electricity-generating nuclear reactor.
UPDATE: Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi told reporters in Tehran on Monday that Iran does intend to build 10 new uranium enrichment plants each with capacity to produce 20 percent enriched uranium. He emphasized that the plan announced earlier today was not a “political bluff.”
“They [the West] must see and will see that what we said was not a bluff,” Rahimi added [IRNA, 30 November].