Iran Nuclear NewsIran Upgrading Heavy Water Production, Exiled Group Claims

Iran Upgrading Heavy Water Production, Exiled Group Claims

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Bloomberg: Iran this year will complete a plant that can produce heavy water, another step in its efforts to defy international commitments and build atomic weapons, an exiled Iranian resistance group said. Iran is also speeding up construction of a nuclear reactor, and by 2007 will have enough enriched plutonium to make a nuclear weapon, Mohammad Mohaddessin, chairman of the National Council for Resistance in Iran’s foreign affairs committee, said at a news conference in
Paris today. Bloomberg

By Gregory Viscusi

New York – Iran this year will complete a plant that can produce heavy water, another step in its efforts to defy international commitments and build atomic weapons, an exiled Iranian resistance group said.

Iran is also speeding up construction of a nuclear reactor, and by 2007 will have enough enriched plutonium to make a nuclear weapon, Mohammad Mohaddessin, chairman of the National Council for Resistance in Iran’s foreign affairs committee, said at a news conference in Paris today.

By the end of this year, a facility at Arak in western Iran will be able to produce 16 tons of heavy water with 99.8 percent density, Mohaddessin said. The plant is currently able to make eight tons of heavy water with a 15 percent density, which isn’t enough to produce weapons grade fuel, he said. Heavy water helps control nuclear reactors.

Iran has told the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s atomic watchdog, that it will complete a 40 megawatt nuclear power plant at Arak by 2014. Mohaddessin said construction is being speeded up and the Iranian government plans to complete it by 2007.

At a Paris press conference two months ago, the council said Iran had managed to make a nuclear detonator.

Today, Mohaddessin showed what he said was a confidential report by the Iranian parliament saying that the government hasn’t kept it informed of its nuclear projects and has kept nuclear spending off-budget.

Parliament Questions

“Given the abundance of natural gas in this country we do not understand on what grounds the authorities justify the economic and technical costs of producing nuclear energy,” said the report, which Mohaddessin said dated from February 2004.

“The report mentions the real intentions of the Tehran regime in its nuclear projects,” Mohaddessin said. “We see that parliament isn’t aware of the projects and that no credit is included in the general budget.” Mohaddessin said the government has allocated $2.5 billion to its nuclear weapons program.

The National Council of the Resistance was founded in July 1981 to oppose the Islamic Republic in Iran. It includes groups such as the People’s Mujahedeen, the Organization of Iranian People’s Fadaian Guerrillas and the Committed Professors of Iran’s Universities and Schools of Higher Education. Its headquarters are at Auvers-sur-Oise, north of Paris.

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