Iran confirms progress in Arak nuclear plant project

Photo: Iran confirms progress in Arak nuclear plant project / Politics

Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb.23 / Trend, D.Khatinoglu/

Fereydun Abbasi, head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, confirmed the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency regarding the Arak 40MW reactor, saying that side facilities of the reactor are being prepared normally. The main container of the reactor has been built and is ready to be installed, he said, adding that the reactor will be commissioned next year.

At present, 150 fuel centers are ready to be transferred to Arak. News about installing advanced centrifuges was reported to foreign media due to the fact that the IAEA security system is weak and cannot save such data. That was not a clandestine issue, because the IAEA presides over Iran's nuclear activities.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a confidential report issued to member states late on Feb.22 that Iran has almost completed installation of cooling and moderator circuit piping in the heavy water plant near the town of Arak, Reuters reported.
Nuclear analysts say this type of reactor could yield plutonium for nuclear arms if the spent fuel is reprocessed, something Iran has said it has no intention of doing. Iran has said it "does not have reprocessing activities", the IAEA said.

In its previous report on Iran, in November, the Vienna-based U.N. agency said installation work at Arak was underway, without giving any indication of how far advanced it was.

Iran rejects Western allegations it seeks to develop a capability to assemble nuclear weapons, saying its atomic program is entirely peaceful and that the Arak reactor will produce isotopes for medical and agricultural use.

Iran says it plans to begin operating the facility in the first quarter of 2014, the IAEA said. Tehran last year postponed the planned start-up from the third quarter of 2013, a target that Western experts said always had seemed unrealistic.

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