EghtesadOnline: The secondary circuit of the Arak heavy water reactor became operational on Monday in a ceremony attended by Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.
The launch of the secondary circuit is not part of Iran’s measures to scale down compliance with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, but indicates the country’s determination to continue work to develop its peaceful nuclear program amid renewed tensions with the United States.
As part of the deal, the core of the Arak reactor was removed and filled with concrete to make it unusable, but Iran was able to continue to produce heavy water. Iran also agreed to redesign the facility to reduce its plutonium output, Mehr New Agency reported.
The first circuit is tasked with removing heat from the heart of the reactor, and the secondary circuit is responsible for transferring the heat from the first circuit to cooling towers before releasing it in the environment, according to Financial Tribune.
US President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal last year and reimposed tough sanctions on Iran, spiking tensions between the two countries.
Iranian officials have repeatedly said the Islamic Republic will continue to reduce its commitments to the deal until European signatories to the pact protect Iran’s economy from US penalties, but have said the cuts in commitments are reversible.
“Iran has the capacity to produce up to 25 tons of heavy water per year,” Ali Asghar Zarean, a special assistant to the AEOI chief, was quoted as saying in October by Tasnim News Agency, noting that Iran annually produces 20 tons of heavy water, which are exported.
Despite possessing the nuclear technology, Iran has never pursued the production or use of nuclear weapons, which is forbidden by Islam, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said in October.