Iran has selected 16 locations for the construction of nuclear power plants
as part of a plan to generate 20,000 megawatts of electricity at multiple sites over the next 15 years.
Tehran's State TV said Saturday that experts at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran
have finished studies to select the best locations across the country.
It added that sites were chosen in part for their resistance to earthquakes and military air strikes.
The Islamic republic said it needs 20 large-scale plants to meet its growing electricity needs over the next 15 years.
The report added that Iran has discovered new uranium
resources in the country that will put its reserves at 4,400 tons compared to 1,527 tons three decades ago.
Iran's IRNA news agency said the deposits were found in "southern coastal areas" and had trebled the amount outlined in previous estimates. The announcement comes just days before nuclear talks with the West are scheduled to resume.
Iran currently has one operational nuclear power plant, in the southern city of Bushehr.
The plant has already been linked to the Islamic Republic's power grid
and is expected to become fully operational by 2014.
In late December, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization said that Tehran plans to build a new nuclear power plant, alongside Bushehr.
Fereydoon Abbasi Davani did, however, admit that Iran does not have experience in building reactors and will therefore have to "finish planning the construction and use external elements."
Bushehr's infrastructure was laid out by German engineers in the 1970s, before Iran's Islamic revolution, and was completed by Russia, which continues to help keeping it running and provides fuel for it.
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