|Iran to initially launch Arak reactor in a year: AEOI director||
TEHRAN – Iran will initially launch the 40-megawatt nuclear reactor in Arak using “virtual” (non-nuclear) fuel in the next Iranian calendar year which starts on March 21, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Director Fereydoun Abbasi told reporters on Saturday.
Abbasi made the remarks in reference to the latest UN nuclear agency’s report on Iran’s nuclear program, which says Iran appears to be advancing in its construction of the Arak research reactor, in the central Iranian province of Markazi.
In a report issued to member states late on Thursday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran had almost completed installation of cooling and moderator circuit piping in the heavy water plant near the town of Arak, according to Reuters.
In its previous report on Iran, in November, the Vienna-based UN agency said installation work at Arak was continuing, without giving any indication of how far advanced it was.
The AEOI director also said that 150 batches of nuclear fuel had been produced and were ready to be transferred to the Arak nuclear plant, adding that the process of completing the reactor is going according to the plan.
Iran announced in April 2012 that the production line of “virtual” fuel for the Arak nuclear reactor had been launched at a nuclear facility in Isfahan.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Abbasi said that the number of advanced centrifuges that Iran planned to install at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant was much more than the number that had been reported by Western media outlets.
“The advanced generation of centrifuges will not be 180 machines, and will be much more than it, and will be installed gradually because the required conditions for using them should be prepared,” he said.
According to Reuters, the IAEA report said 180 so-called IR-2m centrifuges and empty centrifuge casings had been put in place at the Natanz facility. They were not yet operating.
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