Iran says it can reassure West over nuclear reactor
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Iran says it can reassure West over nuclear reactor

Nuclear chief says design of the Arak heavy water plant can be modified to limit plutonium production

The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation Ali Akbar Salehi (L) shakes hands with International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano, during their meeting in Tehran on November 11, 2013. (AFP/File Atta Kenare)
The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation Ali Akbar Salehi (L) shakes hands with International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano, during their meeting in Tehran on November 11, 2013. (AFP/File Atta Kenare)

Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said the unfinished Arak nuclear reactor could be modified to produce less plutonium in a bid to reassure the West, local media reported Thursday.

“Here we can do some design change … in order to produce less plutonium in this reactor and in this way allay the worries and mitigate the concerns,” Salehi said, according to a transcript of his interview with the English-language Press TV website.

As part of the first phase of the deal, UN experts visited the heavy water plant at the unfinished Arak reactor on December 8, when all of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) “technical objectives” were met, state news agency IRNA said.

The Arak reactor, still under construction, is a major source of concern for Western powers, who fear the plutonium it will produce as a by-product could provide Iran with an alternative route to an atomic bomb.

The deal also allows UN experts to visit Gachin — which has been off-limits to them since 2005.

As it stands, Iran is only obliged to inform the IAEA three months before it transfers fissile material into a nuclear facility.

Iran also reached a landmark deal in November with the so-called P5+1 group — the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany — on its disputed nuclear drive, which the West suspects has military dimensions, despite Tehran’s denial.

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