Iran Opens Secondary Circuit of Arak Heavy Water Reactor
IRAN NEWS NATIONAL DESK
TEHRAN – The secondary circuit of Iran’s Arak heavy water reactor was to become operational on Monday, cutting further delays in the plant’s reconfiguration by signatories of the 2015 nuclear deal.
Under the deal, Iran agreed to remove the core of the Arak reactor and fill it with concrete provided that the other parties of the accord redesign it for production of medical isotopes, which they did not.
On Monday, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi took journalists on a tour of the facility in the city of Khondab in central Iran to show how Iranian experts had got the job done.
It consists of two circuits, with the first one tasked with removing heat from the heart of the reactor, and the secondary circuit responsible for transferring the heat from the first circuit to cooling towers and finally to the outside environment.
The ceremony on Monday was also to feature installation of the shield to cover the reactor’s pit. It is an ultra-heavy electromechanical component, 7.2 meters in diameter and more than 100 tons in weight.
Both the shield and the entire components used in the reactor’s second circuit have been completely designed and manufactured inside the country by Iranian engineers, local news agencies said.
The facility is being “modernized with the aim of gaining experience and technical knowledge in the design and construction of nuclear reactors, training of specialized human resources, creation of research and development possibilities in the fields of neutron physics and thermohydraulics, and production of radioisotope for medical, industrial and agricultural use,” ISNA news agency said.
Under the nuclear accord signed between Iran and six world powers, including the U.S., Tehran agreed to redesign the 40-megawatt Arak reactor to sharply cut its potential output of plutonium.
“Today a significant part of the reactor becomes operational,” Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters at Arak.
The secondary circuit “transfers the heat generated in the reactor’s heart to cooling towers” and is now complete, he added, in remarks aired on state television.
Salehi noted the reactor’s primary circuit, which contains the core, was still being built.
“Fifty-two systems have to be built so that the reactor can become operational… we have completed 20 so far,” he said.