MP Elaborates on Iran’s Proposal for Modifying Arak Reactor
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A prominent Iranian lawmaker provided some details of a new proposal Tehran has put forward for “redesigning” its heavy-water reactor in Arak as part of the country's efforts to help allay western concerns over its peaceful nuclear program.
As the marathon negotiations between Iran and six major world powers (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) are in progress and the two sides are geared up to hold yet another round of nuclear talks on May 13, Tehran has proposed modifying its Arak heavy-water reactor as a testimony to the peaceful nature of its nuclear activities.
The Islamic Republic reiterates that the reactor is designed to produce isotopes for medical treatments, denying allegations by the West that part of the nuclear activity could be geared to developing a nuclear weapon.
Speaking to the Tasnim News Agency on Saturday, Ebrahim Karkhaneyee, the chairman of the Iranian parliament’s nuclear committee, said the committee had detailed discussions with experts of the Iranian team of negotiators about a proposed plan for the redesigning of the heavy-water reactor.
Among plans for the modification of the Arak heavy-water reactor to mitigate the westerners' concerns are “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”, the lawmaker explained.
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, Karkhaneyee added.
The lawmaker, however, said there are different methods to redesign Arak site but the Iranian experts see the aforementioned method as more attractive.
The fate of Arak was a big sticking point in talks last year that led to a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and the Group 5+1 (also known as the P5+1 or E3+3).
In November 2013, the two sides signed an interim deal on Tehran’s nuclear case, which stipulates that over the course of six months, the parties will draw up a comprehensive nuclear deal which will lead to a lifting of the whole sanctions on Iran.
Negotiators from the two sides wrapped up the latest round of their nuclear talks in the Austrian capital of Vienna on April 9. They are slated to convene the next meeting on May 13, again in Vienna, to start drafting the text of a final, long-awaited deal on Tehran’s peaceful nuclear program.