Heavy Water Zero Power Reactor (ENTC-HWZPR)

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Last Updated: January 1, 2011
Other Name: IR-0004
Location: Esfahan (Isfahan) Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC)
Subordinate To: Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI)
Size: Zero power
Facility Status: Operational

China constructed the Heavy Water Zero Power Reactor (HWZPR) in 1991, and the unit first became operational in 1995. [1] The reactor uses heavy water as a moderator and runs on natural uranium fuel. [2] Although the reactor is not suitable for producing plutonium, Iran has been able to use it to gain experience in the control of heavy water reactors in preparation for managing larger units such as the IR-40 currently under construction at Arak.

In April 2013, the AEOI began testing prototype natural uranium fuel assemblies for eventual use in the IR-40 heavy water reactor at the HWZPR. According to experts at the Institute for Science and International Security, "Iran may have a number of possible reasons for testing the prototype Arak fuel at the Zero Power Reactor," including testing "the quality of the uranium fuel and cladding … [and] the process of starting the fission chain reaction in general." [3]

Sources:
[1] "Nuclear Research Reactors in the World, Research Reactor Details - ENTC HWZPR," International Atomic Energy Agency, www.iaea.org.
[2] "Nuclear Research Reactors in the World, Research Reactor Details - ENTC HWZPR," International Atomic Energy Agency, www.iaea.org.
[3] David Albright and Christina Walrond, "Update on the Arak Reactor," Institute for Science and International Security, 15 July 2013, www.isis-online.org.

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