Skip to main content

Report: Iran takes key step in nuclear reactor construction

By CNN Staff
updated 9:00 PM EDT, Sun June 9, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Iran says facility will produce medicine
  • Heavy water facilities can produce plutonium, which can be used in nuclear bombs
  • U.S. says Iran needs to divulge plans for the facility

(CNN) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was on hand Sunday as officials at a nuclear plant took a critical step toward completing a reactor, the semiofficial Fars News Agency reported.

Workers installed two containers on the reactor at the Arak heavy water facility in central Iran, Fars said. It quoted the head of Iran's nuclear agency as saying he thought the reactor will be able to help produce medicine in 2014.

"We hope that we can go through the relevant phases and carry out the necessary tests to make sure of the proper operation of this reactor and start its full launch next year," Fereidoun Abbasi said.

Some believe Iran's nuclear program is designed to produce weapons, while Iran says it only has peaceful intentions.

U.N. nuclear chief frustrated by stalemated talks with Iran

"We are deeply troubled that Iran claims that the IR-40 heavy water reactor at Arak could be commissioned as soon as early 2014, but still refuses to provide the requisite design information for the reactor," Joseph Macmanus, the U.S. representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said last week at a board of governors meeting for the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency.

He also urged Iran to come clean soon about its nuclear plans and ambitions to the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency.

"The window of opportunity will not remain open indefinitely," he said.

At the same meeting Yukiya Amano, the IAEA's director general, said talks between Iran and the agency are "going around in circles."

"As my report on safeguards implementation in Iran shows, the (IAEA) continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement," Amano said. "However, Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable us to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities."

The spent fuel from heavy water reactors can be reprocessed to produce weapons-grade plutonium.

Heavy water, or deuterium oxide, has the chemical formula or D20, according to Brittanica.com.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 5:45 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
updated 9:43 PM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
updated 4:48 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
updated 3:27 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
updated 9:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
updated 7:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
updated 6:44 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
updated 5:26 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
updated 5:54 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
updated 9:31 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT