Sun Apr 23, 2017 1:49PM
A general view of the Arak heavy water reactor in central Iran
A general view of the Arak heavy water reactor in central Iran

Iran and China have signed the final version of a contract to redesign and modernize the Arak heavy water reactor in central Iran, an important step in line with the implementation of the historic nuclear agreement between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries.

The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and Chinese firms signed the agreement on redesigning the Arak reactor in Vienna on Sunday.

According to the agreement, the Chinese side is to review the new design of the Arak reactor made by the Iranian experts and confirm its compliance with the international safety standards of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Iranian experts completed initial phases of the reactor’s redesigning in March.

Iran and China held intensive negotiations about the technical details of the project over the past year and reached initial agreements in Beijing some two weeks ago.

In August 2015, the head of the AEOI, Ali Akbar Salehi, paid a visit to the Chinese capital and discussed the setting up of a working group to redesign the Arak heavy water reactor.

The 40-megawatt Arak reactor is intended to produce isotopes for cancer and other medical treatments. Iran is redesigning the planned research reactor to sharply cut its potential output of plutonium.

The talks are in line with the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reached between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China – plus Germany on July 14, 2015.

After the JCPOA went into effect on January 16, all nuclear-related sanctions imposed on Iran by the European Union, the UN Security Council and the US were lifted. Iran, in return, has put some limitations on its nuclear activities.

During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Tehran in January, a nuclear agreement reached between Iran and China, which included the modernization of the Arak heavy water reactor and the construction of 100-megawatt power plants.

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