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Iran: Arak 40MW nuclear reactor to replace Tehran 5MW reactor


TEHRAN, Nov. 18 (Mehr News Agency) - Arak's 40-megawatt heavy water research reactor will replace Tehran's 5-megawatt reactor which is over thirty years old, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Director Reza Aqazadeh said here on Saturday.

"Tehran's reactor will be turned off by the time that Arak's reactor is started up," Aqazadeh told the Iranian Students News Agency.

Arak research reactor is due for completion in 2009 and will make isotopes for medical, industrial, and other peaceful uses.

Aqazadeh said the work on the Arak reactor will continue whether the agency provides technical assistance or not.

Iran repeatedly requested the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last year for technical expertise to ensure the Arak reactor meets safety standards, he added.

"The request is not necessarily for technical cooperation. The agency normally provides technical assistance to ensure the safety of reactors," he said.

An IAEA technical team has agreed to cooperate with Iran in Arak project, he noted. "It is the agency that insists Iran should cooperate with it on the safety standards of the reactor."

There are certain countries on the IAEA Board of Governors that are trying to prevent the UN nuclear watchdog from providing the assistance, he said, adding, "It will be more harmful to the agency if it refuses assistance."

Diplomats from nations on the IAEA board say the United States is lobbying hard for the denial of Iran's request for help on its Arak research reactor.

IAEA experts say that there is no legal reason to deny Iran the aid at Arak - one of 12 projects Iran has submitted for possible technical assistance but the only one Washington is trying to block.

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