Feb 5, 2019, 6:26 PM
News Code: 83198938
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Iran self-sufficient in producing highly pure Oxygen-18

Arak, Feb 5, IRNA- Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) says country is now self-sufficient in producing heavy oxygen isotope (oxygen -18).

'Iran's Atomic Energy Organization was long trying to acquire this technology but now we are self-sufficient in this regard,' said Ali Akbar Salehi, IAEO Chief, during a ceremony to inaugurate heavy oxygen isotope production plant (18. O) at the Khandab research nuclear reactor in the central-western Markazi Province.

'Its purity stands at 97%', Salehi stressed.

'Khandab site produces more than 60 kilograms of Oxygen-18 per year and in favorable conditions it can hit 100 kg as well,' he emphasized, adding that two of the remaining five countries, that have the technology in producing this isotope, have limited annual production.

He boasted 'the honor' that Iran is now one of the six countries that are able to manufacture this type of heavy oxygen isotope.

'Oxygen-18 isotope has been produced because of a firm national drive as well as authorities' confidence in the country's youth,' said the Iranian atomic chief, adding that production of this oxygen isotope started four years ago.

Salehi said that Iran used to pay $30.000 for a kilo of imported Oxygen-18.

The atomic official highlighted that Iranian scientists have produced the packing filters to make this oxygen isotope, adding that eight 30-meter towers have been designed and produced for the process.

In total, there are 12 towers, eight of which produce Oxygen-18 and the rest are used in making heavy water.

Salehi, who is also a deputy to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, explained that a working group, including China and the UK has agreed to help renovate Khandab nuclear research site under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

He criticized 'slow work' carried out by this working group and said he expected that it gets back to the normal soon.

Oxygen-18 is used in producing radiopharmaceuticals that derive from nuclear medicine.


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