TEHRAN, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Iran's atomic energy agency said Saturday it plans to built 16 nuclear power plants throughout the country.
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said the facilities are in accord with international regulations and in line with long-term goals to increase generation of electricity through nuclear power, China's official Xinhua news agency reported.
The sites have been designated for coastal areas of the Caspian Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the southwestern province of Khuzestan, as well as the northwestern part of the country, the announcement said.
The agency said additional deposits of uranium had been discovered.
The discoveries, made during the past 18 months, have increased Iran's reserves of the radioactive element to 4-1/2 times what was available 35 years ago, Iran's Press TV reported.
Iran is scheduled to meet with five Western powers and China Tuesday in Kazakhstan to discuss its nuclear program.