Document on Arak Reactor in the Pipeline

Document on Arak  Reactor in the Pipeline   Document on Arak  Reactor in the Pipeline

Preparation of an "official document" on the project to modernize the Arak heavy water reactor is the "first step" by Iran and its international partners in implementation of the July 14 deal on Tehran's nuclear program, the spokesperson for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran says.

"The most important guarantee by the P5+1 [the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany] with regard to their commitments about Arak is preparation of an official and final document setting out details of cooperation and supply of equipment," Behrouz Kamalvandi said in an interview with ISNA on Monday.

"The draft of the document was drawn up during the Vienna meeting [of the Joint Commission] and is under consideration in capitals… The document will be signed by foreign ministers of Iran and the P5+1."  The Joint Commission comprised of representatives from all parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the official title of the nuclear pact), tasked with monitoring the accord and addressing the issues arising from its implementation, convened its first meeting in Vienna on Oct. 19, a day after the JCPOA was officially adopted.

  Int'l Partnership

As part of the deal, Iran agreed to redesign and rebuild a modernized heavy water research reactor in Arak, based on an agreed conceptual design, using fuel enriched up to 3.67%, in a form of an "international partnership" which will certify the final design.

The reactor will support peaceful nuclear research and radioisotope production for medical and industrial purposes.

The redesigned and rebuilt Arak reactor will not produce weapons grade plutonium. Tehran denies its nuclear work may have any military aspects.

Except for the first core load, all of the activities for redesigning and manufacturing of the fuel assemblies for the redesigned reactor will be carried out in Iran.

The "international partnership" will include JCPOA participants. Iran will take the "leadership role" as the owner and project manager.

The nuclear pact says Iran and the P5+1 "will, before Implementation Day, conclude an official document which would define the responsibilities assumed by [JCPOA] participants."

Kamalvandi said the "official document" will likely be completed in the coming days.

  Cutting LEU Stock

He also said arrangements on the reduction of the stockpile of low enriched uranium are well underway, but details regarding the relevant contract cannot be released yet.

In reference to the Leader's recent letter to the president on the JCPOA, in which he subjected the implementation of the action plan to some conditions, the AEOI official said the main point of the Leader's remarks was that the government needs to exercise "caution" as it takes measures under the international agreement, in view of the fact that "possible weak points" in the accord have left it open to abuse by the other side.

In his Oct.21 letter to President Hassan Rouhani, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei stressed that Iran's action to comply with agreed measures under the JCPOA hinges on the conclusion of the UN nuclear agency's consideration of Tehran's nuclear past.

Among the measures Iran has agreed to take under the nuclear deal are cutting its stockpile of low enriched uranium by either trading it for or converting it into raw uranium and modernizing the Arak reactor.

The Leader said Iran will not go ahead with measures to redesign the Arak reactor and swap enriched uranium for natural uranium until the International Atomic Energy Organization announces the closure of its investigation into what it calls Possible Military Dimensions of Tehran's nuclear program.

Kamalvandi said according to the July 14 roadmap agreement with the UN nuclear watchdog on the clarification of all past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran's nuclear activities, the IAEA is required to give its final assessment on the resolution of PMD by Dec. 15, so it is unlikely that a problem will arise concerning the timeline for the enforcement of the JCPOA.