Iran: Department of Chain-Jerking

From the interview Jeffrey quotes in “his recent post,”:,there are a couple of items worth highlighting.

1. Saidi mentions that Iran might construct HW-moderated _power_ reactors – a claim I don’t recall having seen before.

He says:

Therefore, unlike in research light water reactors, which need over 20 per cent enriched fuel, we basically do not require enriched fuel for heavy water reactors. In other words we could use uranium oxide as fuel for these reactors – *be they power or research reactors.*

Pointing to the technical know-how for such reactors, the member of Iranian negotiating team said: Such reactors could be indigenous, which would be more cost-effective and justified. On the other hand, *the research heavy water reactor could pave the way for us to build power heavy water reactors* in the future.

Saidi also offered what I think is an additional explanation for why it’s building its HW research reactor – the one it has now is too old.

Iran has said the HWRR is going to be used for producing medical isotopes. The US has countered that Iran’s not even using its Tehran research reactor to full capacity. (Amb. Greg Schulte reiterated this claim “29 August.”:

But Saidi countered with this:

Noting the old age of Tehran’s research reactor, he said: Due to its old age, Tehran’s five-megawatt research reactor should, in principle, be set aside in the next five years.

Saidi also observed that HWRs are superior to LWRs because the former don’t need enriched uranium. That particular feature is, of course, one reason why we don’t want Iran to have HWRs.

2. Saidi must have thought he was on a roll, because he also indicated that Iran plans to pursue more-advanced centrifuges:

bq. Noting that Iran does not restrict itself to first, second or third generation machinery, he said: We will *conduct research in all kinds of centrifuge machinery* that could offer better and higher quality and which are more compatible with our indigenous expertise.


*HWPP Supplementary*

You likely saw “Jeffrey’s”: and “Cheryl’s”: very good takes on Iran’s heavy water -reactor- production plant.

“MNA quoted”: AEOI head Gholamreza Aghazadeh 26 August giving some details about the HWPP:

bq. “The production capacity of this plant is currently 16 tons of deuterium with 99.8 percent purity,” explained the AEOI director. “The full capacity of this power plant is 80 tons of deuterium water per year.”

4 thoughts on “Iran: Department of Chain-Jerking

  1. yale

    Paul Wrote:

    “Saidi mentions that Iran might construct HW-moderated power reactors – a claim I don’t recall having seen before. “
    This is from a letter to the IAEA by Reza Aghazadeh, Vice President of Iran

    dated May 6, 2003
    Based on the results of this survey, the Islamic Republic of Iran has chosen the medium scenario namely the production of 6000 megawatt nuclear electricity in addition to the 1000 megawatt Bushehr power plant which is now under construction
    as the backone of its plan for development of nuclear power plants.
    What is noteworthy at this point is Iran’s decision and determination to diversify its range of nuclear power plants and at the same time focus on those types of plants
    which can be designed and built with the help of nuclear knowledge which has been
    developed in our country.
    We plan to utilize other types of power plants including HWR and specially
    CANDU in addition to LWR which is now under construction in Bushehr.
    The use of CANDU reactors which is more amenable to indigenous development will enable us to use natural uranium recovered from local resources for
    production of nuclear fuel.
    Without a doubt, the decision of the Islamic Republic of Iran to develop the technology of HWR power plants and research reactors will encourage us either to
    use the knowledge of countries possessing this technology or develop this knowledge
    by relying on our own local capabilities and specialized human resources. It goes
    without saying that the continuous surveillance and inspection of IAEA will dispel any doubts cast by certain countries over such activities.
    The second objective in the nuclear development plan of Iran is the attainment of
    self-sufficiency in the provision of nuclear fuel. Decision to build different types of
    nuclear power plants obliges us to work for the production of different types of
    nuclear fuels, of course, all under the surveillance of IAEA safeguards. To be able to
    produce nuclear fuels indigeniously we will have to put into place a system for mining and processing of uranium ores and also for its conversion and enrichment.

    Having been despaired of the Western cooperation in this field, we turned to the policy of self-sufficiency. In this connection, we realized that we need to carry on our activities concurrently in various fields. Hence, we concurrently focused
    on the production of heavy water for HWR reactors and uranium enrichment for
    production of nuclear fuel for LWR reactors while we were not certain as to which of
    these two endeavors shall embrace success.
    Thanks God that a breakthrough was
    achieved in both areas and we have now made the decision to build both HWR and LWR reactors.

  2. Haninah

    Hmm. So, is the current model of Iranian-US relations basically “Iranian chain-jerking feeds DOD circle-jerking”?
    I just know you’re going to moderate that comment out, and maybe for the better. Thought you’d appreciate it, at least. 😛


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