AEOI chief: China helping Iran redesign Arak reactor

TEHRAN (FNA)- Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi said Iranian engineers and Chinese counterparts are redesigning the Arak heavy water reactor.

“We are redesigning the Arak plant. Our Chinese partners have the blueprint too. We both shared our views two weeks ago in a meeting in Tehran,” Salehi told reporters on Wednesday.

He said there have been no delays in implementing the project since it began a year ago.

According to Salehi, the Arak heavy water reactor, whose core was taken out under the nuclear deal with the world powers, was designed and built by Iranian experts, they are still in charge, but decision was made to do it in partnership with China.

In December, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi had conferred on parts of the nuclear agreement reached between Tehran and the world powers on July 14 which are related to redesigning the Arak reactor.

Zarif told reporters that in meeting with Wang Yi, the mutual cooperation, visit of China’s president to Iran and future of strategic relations between the two countries were discussed.

In relevant remarks in November, Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Director General for Political Affairs and International Security Hamid Baeedinejad announced that the document to redesign Arak heavy water reactor was signed by Tehran and the world powers after they accepted Iran’s practical proposals in this regard.

“Presentation of a practical proposal to renovate and modernize the reactor played an important role in changing the G5+1 countries’ position,” Baeedinejad wrote on his Instagram page.

“Based on the proposal which is the result of the innovative research by Iranian nuclear engineers, Arak reactor will have many technical applications in production of radiomedicines and industrial nuclear products,” he added.

“As a result, this reactor will be equipped with the world’s latest state-of-the-art technology,” Baeedinejad said.

Representatives of Tehran and the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany) as well as EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini inked the final document on redesigning Arak heavy water reactor in Central Iran in December.

Also in November, AEOI Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi announced that four members of the G5+1 are due to cooperate with Tehran in redesigning its heavy water reactor in Arak.

“Four countries of the G5+1 members have accepted to cooperate with Iran in supplying advanced equipment for the (Arak) reactor and different other issues,” Kamalvandi told reporters.

Noting that the official document for redesigning Arak reactor has been finalized and is awaiting Iran and the world powers’ endorsement, he said, “We have had negotiations on this issue in Vienna and recently, some consultations have been made by the Iranian foreign ministry officials in China.”

Kamalvandi, meantime, underscored that Iran, itself, enjoys the capability to redesign the Arak reactor but it has sought the world powers’ assistance to accelerate the job.

Also, in August, Chinese nuclear officials in a meeting with Salehi promised to help Tehran modernize its heavy water reactor in the Central city of Arak.

Iran and China agreed to modernize Arak heavy water reactor and cooperate in producing 20,000-megawatt of nuclear electricity.

Salehi held talks with chairman of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) to discuss ways to foster mutual cooperation.

Touching upon the two countries’ experiences in technical and engineering arenas, Iran’s accessibility to the third generation nuclear technology and financing the nuclear projects, Salehi voiced the Islamic Republic’s willingness to enhance its relations with China.

The Chinese side, for its part, welcomed promotion of cooperation with the AEOI, and voiced readiness to help Iran modernize Arak heavy water reactor.

By Fars News Agency