How Do You Fuel an Iranian Reactor? (Updated)
For the last several years one of the points I’ve made repeatedly is that, of the possible explanations for Iran’s pursuing its program of nuclear development, achieving energy independence isn’t one of them. Today the Times of London provides a little more heft for that statement. They report that Iran is running out of its current sources of uranium ore and may be looking for new ones:
It was shortly before Christmas that diplomats at Britain’s sleek new embassy on Kosmonavtov Street in the Kazakh capital of Astana received a confidential and urgent request. Iran, officials back in Whitehall advised, was believed to be close to running out of its stockpiles of yellow cake — a powdered form of uranium ore.
There were concerns that Tehran could be seeking fresh supplies to support its nuclear programme at a critical juncture — just months before intelligence experts expected it to have accumulated enough enriched material for a bomb. British officials were to urge Kazakhstan, one of the world’s biggest producers, to ignore any possible approaches to obtain imports.
Other prospective sources of uranium ore for Iran’s indigenous nuclear fuel cycle would include Uzbekistan, Congo, Namibia, Ukraine, China, and Pakistan.
Whatever you think the reasons for Iran’s program might be, it’s hard to make the case that Iran is pursuing nuclear power as a way of achieving energy independence when it doesn’t have enough indigenous uranium to fuel its reactor for its productive lifespan.
The picture above is a satellite image of the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility.
The link to the paper on the economics of Iranian energy independence in the post of mine cited above is now working.