London, Feb 24: Iran has said it has found major new uranium deposits and is planning to expand its nuclear power programme.
It said 16 sites had been identified as suitable for the construction of new power plants over the next 15 years, reports the BBC.
As a result of years of study, 16 new sites had been identified as suitable for the construction of nuclear power plants, said the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) in reports carried by Iranian news agencies.
The sites – on Iran’s north and south coasts, Khuzestan province and north-western Iran – were chosen in part for their resistance to earthquakes and military strikes, it said.
According to media reports, discoveries over the past 18 months have trebled Iran’s reserves of raw uranium, which now stand at 4,400 tonnes.
Under UN sanctions, Iran is banned from importing nuclear material. It is due to hold talks with Western powers on Tuesday about its nuclear programme.
The US and its allies are widely believed to be planning to offer Iran some relief from sanctions at the talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
The developments come as Iran gears up for another round of talks with the so-called P5+1 grouping of nations. These comprise the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, UK, France, China, and Russia – plus Germany.
The group has called on Iran to scale back its uranium enrichment – needed both for power plant fuel and, in higher purities, for the creation of a nuclear weapon. (ANI)