Jump to search Jump to main navigation Jump to main content Jump to footer navigation

Global Security Newswire

Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

Produced by
NationalJournal logo

Iran Confirms Steps to Curb Plutonium Output

Workers pose for a picture in 2006 at Iran's Arak heavy-water reactor facility. An Iranian official on Wednesday said Tehran would revamp the reactor to decrease its plutonium output. Workers pose for a picture in 2006 at Iran's Arak heavy-water reactor facility. An Iranian official on Wednesday said Tehran would revamp the reactor to decrease its plutonium output. (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran said it is altering its heavy-water reactor to generate 90 percent less plutonium, a bomb-usable substance, the Associated Press reports.

Tehran is "redesigning the reactor" at Arak to reduce its projected plutonium output to "2.2 pounds," Iranian Atomic Energy Organization head Ali Akbar Salehi told the Islamic Republic News Agency on Wednesday.

His comments marked Iran's first airing of a specific plan for the unlaunched site's plutonium output, and they fed into an ongoing multilateral dialogue on the nation's weapon-relevant atomic capabilities, according to AP. Tehran insists its nuclear efforts are peaceful, but it is negotiating potential curbs on the activities in a bid to secure relief from international sanctions.

An independent analyst said the other negotiating powers still worry that Iran may eventually choose to expand the Arak site's plutonium-production capacity, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Increasing the facility's plutonium output and building a system to isolate weapon-usable material would be "a lengthy but hard-to-stop process," according to a written assessment by Ali Vaez, an expert with the International Crisis Group think tank.

Iran's uranium-enrichment program -- an ostensibly nonmilitary effort with possible weapon applications -- has remained a source of sharp division in the country's discussions with the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany. Tehran is holding separate bilateral meetings this week with four of the "P-5+1" nations, before a June 16-20 gathering of all seven powers planned in Vienna, Agence-France Presse reported.

On Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif highlighted a technical argument that his country would need between 18 and 24 months to generate enough high-purity uranium for a bomb with 10,000 first-generation enrichment centrifuges, al-Monitor reported. The comments appeared aimed at bolstering Iran's case for retaining a larger enrichment capacity for nuclear-power generation under a potential atomic deal.

NTI Analysis

  • Open a Nuclear Fuel Bank

    July 11, 2014

    NTI Co-Chairman and CEO Sam Nunn calls for swift action to resolve remaining issues and open an IAEA nuclear fuel bank.

  • Nuclear Disarmament Resource Collection

    May 23, 2014

    The Nuclear Disarmament Resource Collection contains information and analysis of nuclear weapons disarmament proposals and progress worldwide, including detailed coverage of disarmament progress in countries who either possess or host other countries' nuclear weapons on their territories.

Country Profile

Flag of Iran

Iran

This article provides an overview of Iran's historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

Learn More →