Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday inaugurated three new nuclear projects, in a ceremony that was broadcast live on state television network IRIB.
At the Iranian Atomic Organisation in Tehran, Mr. Ahmadinejad witnessed the insertion of Iran’s first home-made nuclear fuel rods into a medical reactor.
The President then opened, via a video-conference link-up, two other projects in the Natanz plant in central Iran.
The plant there will now be able to enrich uranium to 20 per cent and will also use of a new type of centrifuge, capable of a far higher enrichment speed than previous models.
Also present at the ceremony in Tehran were Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi and nuclear chief Mohammad Abbasi.
The IRIB report did not mention the opening of the new enrichment site of Fordo in Qom province, which had been expected to be among the projects opened by the President.
The facility, about 160 km south of Tehran, is capable of enriching uranium to levels of 3.5, 4 and 20 per cent.
The Tehran reactor was established in 1967 and equipped with a 5-megawatt pool-type. The fuel for this reactor was initially provided by Argentina, but this stopped a few years ago.
The fuel for was then supposed to be provided by Russia and France but a deal struck in October 2009 failed, and Iran began making the fuel itself, by first enriching uranium to 20 per cent and then turning it into fuel rods.
Enriched uranium is a critical component for both civil nuclear power generation and atomic weapons.
The new projects showed that Iran would not be intimidated by international threats over its nuclear programme, and would continue with its technological advances, ISNA news agency commented.