Sputnik– Tehran has completed the planning stage of a project for a new nuclear reactor in Arak and could proceed with construction in 2-3 months, Tasnim News Agency reported, citing representative of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Behrouz Kamalundi.
“In accordance with the planned schedule, we have completed the last stage of the preparatory phase and sent the results to the Chinese side. After agreeing with them within 2-3 months we shall begin the construction stage of the reactor,” Kamalundi said as quoted by the agency. The official went on to say that in the event Tehran abandons the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), it will be able to rebuild the reactor in Arak.
Kamalundi also added that the cancellation of the nuclear deal will give Iran the opportunity to enrich uranium at its factories in Natanz and Fordo.
“Now there are about six thousand centrifuges in Natanz. At the Fordo plant, enrichment is not being carried out, but in the event of Iran’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal and the relevant decision of the management, we will again launch the uranium-processing plant at Fordo,” he said.
However, he stressed that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had ordered compliance with the terms of the JCPOA.
The Arak Nuclear Complex consists of a heavy water experimental reactor and a heavy water production plant. In accordance with the JCPOA, Iran had to rebuild the nuclear facility in Arak to satisfy concerns over the possible producing and reprocessing of weapons-grade plutonium. In accordance with the JCPOA, Iran filled the reactor’s core with cement to render it inoperable. The redesigned plant is being used for peaceful nuclear research in medical and industrial spheres. Under the nuclear deal, Iran has also pledged to redesign the uranium enrichment facility in Fordo so as to make it a nuclear and technological research center.
Iran’s possible move to launch its heavy water reactor is connected with the uncertainty over the fate of the nuclear deal. On May 8, US President Donald Trump announced Washington’s withdrawal from the JCPOA. The nuclear deal confined Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of the UN’s nuclear sanctions as well as restrictive measures introduced by the US and the EU. Trump vowed not only to reimpose sanctions but to introduce new ones.