‘Arak’s plutonium not usable for bombs
“The Arak 40-megawatt research reactor cannot produce plutonium that could be used to make nuclear weapons, since the plutonium will remain in the reactor’s core for a year,” AEOI Director Ali Akbar Salehi said on Friday.
“Plutonium used in nuclear weapons should not stay in the reactor’s core for more than three or four weeks or it will get contaminated,” preventing its use for the alleged military purposes, he added.
Salehi also stated that Iran does not have treatment facilities needed for purifying plutonium used in a weapons-making process.
Salehi’s remarks come in response to Western accusations that the Arak heavy water reactor may produce plutonium used in the manufacture of nuclear arms.
Once International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) cameras are installed to monitor the reactor and inspectors can visit the facility, there will no longer be a cause for concern, he said.
Salehi has said dismantling the Arak reactor or giving up uranium enrichment is “a red line which we will never cross.”
In November, Iran and the IAEA agreed on a roadmap for more cooperation on outstanding nuclear issues. Under the agreement, Iran would, on a voluntary basis, allow IAEA inspectors to visit Gachin uranium mine in Bandar Abbas and the Arak heavy water plant.
The voluntary move was a goodwill gesture on the part of Iran to clear up ambiguities over the peaceful nature of its nuclear energy program.
On November 24, Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — Russia, China, France, Britain and the United States — plus Germany sealed an interim deal in the Swiss city of Geneva to lay the groundwork for the full resolution of the West’s decade-old dispute with Iran over its nuclear energy program.
Iran has announced that the Arak 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.