AEOI to Begin Reconstruction of Arak Reactor in 2019

The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran began to work out the details of the redesign plan for the Arak heavy water reactor last month
Behrouz Kamalvandi
Behrouz Kamalvandi
The nuclear agreement committed Iran to redesign and rebuild the Arak heavy water reactor to reduce its output of plutonium

The construction of the redesigned Arak heavy water reactor will commence in early 2019, announced a member of an expert team working on the project.

Under a deal with major powers in 2015, Iran agreed to subject its nuclear program to temporary curbs in return for relief from international sanctions.

The deal committed Iran, among other things, to redesign and rebuild the Arak heavy water reactor to reduce its output of plutonium, a rare substance that can be used to produce nuclear warheads.

Tehran has consistently denied having ever considered developing a nuclear bomb and insists that the civilian nature of its nuclear program has been verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency on several occasions.

"The construction of the modernized Arak reactor will begin in one and a half years," the unnamed expert told reporters on Sunday, ISNA reported.

The spokesperson of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran also said the outline of the Arak project drawn up by Iranian experts has obtained the approval of China, a member of the group of six powers that negotiated the historic nuclear pact with Iran.

Behrouz Kamalvandi said the initial plan for the redesign of the Arak reactor has been 100% approved by the Chinese side.

***Working Out Details  

The AEOI began to work out the details of the redesign plan last month, he added.

Kamalvandi noted that developing the detailed plan for the Arak redesign project started a month ago and will take three years to complete.

A deal was signed with the Chinese side in April on the joint implementation of the Arak Modernization Project.

Under the Arak deal, the Chinese side is responsible for reviewing and certifying the new design submitted by Iranian experts for the Arak reactor.

Tehran, Beijing and Washington, another party to the landmark nuclear accord, released a joint "statement of intent" on Oct. 18, 2015, to announce cooperation on the Arak project and signed a related document.

The document committed the six nations, which also included Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany, to contribute to the project through a working group established after consultations with Iran and co-chaired by the US and China.

China is participating in the design and construction of the modernized reactor and will liaise between the working group and Iran in the course of the project's implementation.

The United States provides technical support and review of the modernized reactor design, as well as analysis of fuel design and safety standards, to ensure it conforms to the key attributes of the modernized reactor as set forth in the nuclear accord.

Iran has taken the leadership role as the owner and project manager, and has responsibility for the development of a schedule and overall implementation of the project.

According to the document, the Arak Modernization Project encompasses a wide range of activities that include, but are not limited to, overall implementation efforts, design of the modernized reactor and subsidiary laboratories, fuel fabrication and qualification, application for and issuance of licenses, as well as the construction and operation of the reactor and subsidiary laboratories.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints