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Iran makes its own reactor uranium rod

TEHRAN, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Iran Sunday reported success in testing a homemade uranium fuel rod at its Tehran nuclear reactor after much of the world refused to supply it.

The semi-official Fars News Agency said the rod had passed "neutron and non-leakage tests" and credited "homegrown know-how and technology."

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The process of creating fuel rods involves enriching uranium to a 20 percent purity level. In October, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said around 70 kilograms, or about 150 pounds of enriched uranium, had been produced for use in what the country calls its "research reactor."

International fears mounted in February 2010 when Iran announced it had begun enriching uranium, as many Western governments suspect Iran's ultimate goal was to create weapons-grade uranium.

The International Atomic Energy Agency held talks in 2010 about an Iranian proposal to swap low-grade uranium for the 20 percent grade it required, but France and the United States proposed so many restrictions and delays, the deal was doomed, the report said.

As a result, Iran embarked on its own enrichment program, the agency said.

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