Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi says the Islamic Republic and Russia are discussing the construction of new nuclear power plants (NPPs) in Iran.

Salehi said that Tehran is negotiating the construction of four nuclear power plants with Moscow.

Salehi added that Bushehr NPP would be temporarily shut down in order to change the fuel rods at the core of the facility.

Salehi further noted that Iran has produced two types of second-generation centrifuges, the capacities of which are two times that of the first-generation model.

“Despite installing 1,000 second-generation centrifuges, we have not injected gas into them due to the negotiations and the Geneva agreement,” the Iranian official said.

The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says the Arak heavy water plant in central Iran is incapable of producing plutonium used in the process of making nuclear weapons.

"The Arak 40-megawatt research reactor cannot produce plutonium that could be used to make nuclear weapons, since the plutonium will remain in the reactor's core for a year,” AEOI Director Ali Akbar Salehi said.

"Plutonium used in nuclear weapons should not stay in the reactor's core for more than three or four weeks or it will get contaminated,” preventing its use for the alleged military purposes, he added.

Salehi also stated that Iran does not have treatment facilities needed for purifying plutonium used in a weapons-making process.

Salehi’s remarks come in response to Western accusations that the Arak heavy water reactor may produce plutonium used in the manufacture of nuclear arms.

Salehi has said dismantling the Arak reactor or giving up uranium enrichment is "a red line which we will never cross."

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran also said the Islamic Republic is developing a new generation of centrifuges.

The Iranian nuclear chief said there are currently 19,000 centrifuges in the country, adding that “a new generation of centrifuges is being built, but they should undergo all tests before mass production.”

Salehi further underlined Iran’s great achievements in its nuclear energy program, saying, “In the area of fuel cycle, the Islamic Republic...is among the countries that are capable of carrying out all fuel production stages from exploration to ore dressing and production of uranium fuel.”

The Iranian nuclear chief said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors will soon visit the Gachin uranium mine in Bandar Abbas, southern Iran.

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi said the exact date of the inspection, however, has not been determined yet.

“Inspection of the Gachin mine is in fact the implementation of one of the six articles of the recent agreement between Iran and the IAEA,” Salehi said, adding, “The agency’s request to visit the Arak heavy water facility, which was carried out recently, was also among the articles of the agreement.”

The AEOI head noted that experts from Iran and the UN nuclear agency are scheduled to discuss ways to proceed with the implementation of the agreement in late January.

Salehi further expressed hope that Iran’s move to accept the agency’s requests would lead to the IAEA chief, Yukiya Amano’s more positive reports about Tehran’s nuclear energy program in the future.

“We intend to continue this approach to build mutual confidence and for the cooperation between the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran to complement political talks between Iran and the P5+1 [group of six major world powers],” Salehi pointed out.

Salehi further announced Iran’s plan to produce medical isotopes at the Arak heavy water plant and expressed hope that the country would succeed in taking greater steps towards producing medical equipment.

News Code 185945