Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr.26
By Fatih Karimov - Trend:
Ebrahim Karkhanei, chairman of the Iranian parliament's nuclear committee, revealed some details about a proposed plan for the redesigning of the heavy-water Arak reactor.
"A change and review of the reactor's design", "a change in the number of fuel rods at the Arak site" and "adding bit of enriched uranium to the reactor's fuel" are some of the redesigning plan, Iran's Tasnim news agency quoted Karkhanei as saying on April 26.
Apparently, about one or two percent of enriched uranium will be added to the reactor fuel in a bid to lower production of plutonium in the reactor's fuel cycle, Karkhanei added.
On April 19, Iran's nuclear chief announced that Tehran has presented a proposal to the major powers to redesign the core of the Arak heavy-water reactor in order to significantly lower plutonium production at the planned reactor.
The 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany) has accepted the offer and the issue of the Arak reactor "is almost resolved", said Ali Akbar Salehi, the director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.
The design change will not affect the process of producing isotopes for medical uses, but will reduce plutonium production to one fifth of the original output.
In addition, Salehi said that Iran has also put forward a proposal about uranium enrichment which would allow Tehran to increase the number of its centrifuge machines in stages so that the country would be able to produce 30 tons of nuclear fuel for the Bushehr power plant.
Iran and the 5+1 group are scheduled to meet on May 13 in Vienna to work on a final solution to the dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.
The Arak reactor has become a major issue in the negotiations. The major powers claim that the reactor could be a potential source of plutonium for building nuclear bombs.