Bangkok Post

Iran to launch nuclear research reactor


TEHRAN: An Iranian nuclear reactor being converted from heavy water production into a power generating research facility will be launched within a year, a spokesman for parliament’s energy commission announced.

Under a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, the Islamic republic shut down the original Arak reactor in Markazi province so that it could not produce militarygr­ade plutonium.

It also pledged that a replacemen­t of the original reactor with a new one would support “peaceful nuclear research”.

Quoted on Sunday by the Fars news agency, Mustafa Nakhai, spokesman of the legislatur­e’s energy commission, said “the Arak IR-20 reactor will be launched in a year from now”.

Mr Nakhai said he was in turn quoting Mohamed Eslami, newly appointed to head the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisati­on (AEOI).

He also quoted Mr Eslami as saying the new IR-20 reactor at Arak will feed into the generation of a planned 8,000 MW of nuclear power, to be achieved by the constructi­on of additional reactors, state news agency IRNA reported.

Nuclear chief Mr Eslami also said in mid-September during a site visit to Arak that Iran wanted to establish the long-planned research facility “as quickly as possible”.

The AEOI had said early this year that it would cold test the new reactor in the first three months of the Iranian year, which began on March 21.

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