0732 GMT January 23, 2020
If the process of redesigning Arak heavy water reactor in central Iran by the signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) shows slow progress, Iran may decide to use the old reactor, said an official of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).
Behrouz Kamalvandi, the AEOI’s spokesman, stressed on Monday that Iran’s priority is to redesign Arak reactor, IRNA reported.
Commenting on the measures taken to redesign Arak reactor, he said among the agreements reached between Iran and the P5+1 under the JCPOA, signed in July 2015, was to redesign Arak reactor.
Under the redesigning process, Kamalvandi added, the neutron flow of the reactor should have increased, as the construction of the research reactor was aimed at producing neutron.
The AEOI’s spokesman noted that although Arak reactor was used to produce neutron, the International Atomic Energy Agency stated that its plutonium output was high.
“Following consultations and negotiations, it was decided to change the fuel the reactor consumed to decrease the level of its plutonium output, while maintaining the nature of its heavy water. The move was in accord with Iran’s demands.”
He said the new reactor can be designed in such a way to produce one kilogram of plutonium instead of four kilograms, but with a much higher neutron output.
Shifting to US withdrawal from the JCPOA in May 2018 and the country being replaced by the UK in the task force to redesign Arak reactor, Kamalvandi noted that the UK constantly claims that it can fill the void created due US absence and, thus, Tehran has submitted a list of the required equipment to redesign the reactor to London to verify Britain’s claim about supporting this process.
Commenting on Iran’s old reactor, he said Western states are afraid of it as it produces plutonium.
“But Iran intends to redesign Arak reactor,” he stressed.
Kamalvandi said although the UK has taken appropriate steps to redesign Arak reactor, US pressures have slowed down the process.
Following its withdrawal from the JCPOA, the US reimposed its unilateral sanctions on Iran in two phases to intensify economic pressure on Tehran.