Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says that his government has begun studying the prospects of a nuclear energy program.
Chavez stated during a news conference on Monday that, "We're taking on the project of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and they aren't going to stop us," the Associated Press reported.
He added that the country needs nuclear energy for medical purposes and electricity generation, Reuters reported.
Chavez also defended Iran's right to produce nuclear energy for civil purposes, reiterating that Iran is not pursuing a military agenda through its nuclear program.
The NY Daily News previously reported that Russia and Venezuela have formed a joint atomic energy commission to look into the country's nuclear capabilities, as a nuclear energy program would require technological expertise and cost billions of dollars.
France has also made a bid to join the project.
"We're going to develop nuclear energy with peaceful aims as Brazil and Argentina have," Chavez said.