News / Middle East

Report: Iran Proposes Arak Reactor Change to Cut Plutonium Output

FILE - Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran's atomic energy organization
FILE - Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran's atomic energy organization
Reuters
— Iran has made a proposal that would significantly lower plutonium production at a planned reactor, a senior Iranian official was quoted as saying, signaling flexibility on a key issue in talks to end the nuclear dispute with world powers.
 
The comment by Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran's atomic energy organization, was the latest sign that a compromise may be possible over the Arak research reactor, which the West fears could yield weapons-usable material. Iran denies any such aim.
 
The fate of the heavy-water plant, which has not yet been completed, is one of the central issues in negotiations between Iran and six major powers aimed at reaching a long-term deal on Tehran's nuclear program by an agreed July 20 deadline.
 
Iran and the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China on Wednesday ended their last round of negotiation in Vienna and said they would start drafting an agreement at their next meeting there on May 13. But officials said significant gaps needed to be bridged.
 
The website of Iran's English-language state television Press TV, citing Salehi late on Wednesday, said Iran had offered a “scientific and logical proposal to clear up any ambiguities” over the Arak reactor.
 
“In our plan, we explained that we would redesign the heart of the Arak reactor, so that its production of plutonium will decrease drastically,” Salehi was quoted as saying.
 
Russia sees Arak compromise
 
The West is worried that Arak, once operational, could provide a supply of plutonium - one of two materials, along with highly enriched uranium, that can trigger a nuclear blast.
 
The Islamic Republic has said that the 40-megawatt reactor is intended to produce isotopes for cancer and other medical treatments. It agreed to halt installation work at Arak under a six-month interim accord struck on Nov. 24 which was designed to buy time for negotiations on a comprehensive deal.
 
Russia's chief negotiator suggested after the April 8-9 talks that progress had been achieved on Arak. “The possibility of a compromise on this issue has grown,” Interfax news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying.
 
Heavy-water reactors like Arak, fuelled by natural uranium, are seen as especially suitable for yielding plutonium. To do so, however, a spent fuel preprocessing plant would also be needed to extract it. Iran is not known to have any such plant.
 
If operating optimally, Arak - located about 250 km (150 miles) southwest of Tehran - could produce about nine kg of plutonium annually, the U.S. Institute for Science and International Security says.
 
Any deal must lower that amount, Western experts say.
 
Last week, Princeton University experts said that annual plutonium production could be cut to less than a kilogram - well below the roughly 8 kg needed for an atomic bomb - if Iran altered the way Arak is fuelled and lowered its power capacity.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid