The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says the construction of Arak heavy water production plant in the country’s Markazi (Central) Province has made a nearly 90-percent progress.
In an interview with Iran’s Arabic-language Al-Alam News Network, Behrouz Kamalvandi said Arak heavy water complex has been “built [using] indigenous knowledge and technology and [its construction] has made an 87-percent progress.”
“Given the concerns that they have about reprocessing (at the Arak plant), the possibility exists for the reprocessing not to take place for a certain period of time; however, in the long run, when the concerns are allayed, the process will be carried out as one of the rights of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Kamalvandi said.
The reactor, which uses natural uranium to produce radio medicines, is planned to gradually replace the Tehran research reactor to produce medical radioisotopes for cancer patients.
Kamalvandi further highlighted a “clear tremendous change of tone” in the recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran’s nuclear activities, saying the change emerged after Iran and the Agency signed a joint statement on bilateral cooperation in Tehran last November.
Tehran and the IAEA signed a joint statement in November 2013 to outline a roadmap on bilateral cooperation on certain outstanding issues. Under the deal, Iran agreed, on a voluntary basis, to allow IAEA inspectors to visit the Arak heavy water plant and the Gachin uranium mine.
The IAEA inspectors visited the Arak heavy water production plant on December 8, 2013, as the first step to be implemented under the Iran-IAEA agreement.
The IAEA inspectors also made a five-hour visit to the Gachin uranium mine in southern Iran in late January.
The Agency’s Safeguards Agreement does not require Tehran to authorize IAEA inspections of those sites. The voluntary move is a goodwill gesture on the part of Iran to clear up ambiguities over the peaceful nature of its nuclear energy program.