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Iranians mull new nuclear power stations

TEHRAN, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Iran's top atomic energy official, Ali Akbar Salehi, said he asked the federal government to make room in next year's budget for new nuclear power plants.

Salehi said he issued a request for funding to President Hassan Rouhani after lawmakers called on the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran to lay the groundwork for more nuclear power.

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"Our new nuclear plants will be built at the site of the Bushehr nuclear [power] plant," he was quoted as saying Sunday by Iranian broadcaster Press TV.

Russia supplies fuel for the Bushehr plant, which went into service last year.

Salehi said additions to the nuclear power sector could add another 20,000 megawatts of electricity to the Iranian grid.

Salehi gave no indication of the funding needed to build the new facilities.

Under the terms of the nuclear deal reached with Western powers last month, Iran can still enrich uranium to less than 5 percent purity but opens itself up to more scrutiny. In return, Iran gets relief from some Westerns sanctions, though U.S. President Barack Obama said the toughest measures will remain in place.

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Iran says it needs to maintain an active nuclear program for energy and medical research. Its adversaries say it's working on a nuclear weapon.

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