|West’s concerns over the Arak reactor not genuine: nuclear chief||
TEHRAN – The Iranian nuclear energy chief says Tehran is ready to make some changes to its Arak heavy water reactor to help allay Western concerns, although he said he believes the Western concerns over the Arak reactor were not genuine.
“Here we can do some design change, in other words make some change in the design in order to produce less plutonium in this reactor and in this way allay the worries and mitigate the concerns,” Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, told the Press TV on Wednesday.
Iran is preparing for negotiations with the world powers, namely the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia, and Germany, on a final and comprehensive nuclear accord in Vienna on February 18.
The fate of the Arak reactor was a sticking point in the past nuclear talks that led to a landmark agreement in last November.
Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) made an agreement over Tehran’s nuclear program, according to which Iran agreed not to expand its nuclear program and to suspend its 20 percent uranium enrichment in return for a limited easing of the sanctions imposed on the country.
Salehi said that Arak is a research reactor and can be used for the purpose of producing radio-isotopes for medical treatments, adding that it does not produce “weapons-grade plutonium.”
A reprocessing plant is needed to extract plutonium from the reactor, which Iran does not have and does not intend to make one, he said.
“We do not intend – although this is our right and we will not forego our right – but we do not intend to build a reprocessing plant,” Salehi added.
“So, unless you have a reprocessing plant you can never, never get that plutonium out of the fuel.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, Salehi said that he did not believe Western concerns over the Arak reactor were genuine, calling them a “fabricated fire” used to put political pressure on Iran.
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