From the interview Jeffrey quotes in “his recent post,”:http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/1175/get-enriched-or-die-tryin-2,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.
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.”:http://www.usun-vienna.rpo.at/
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.
You likely saw “Jeffrey’s”:http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/1172/heavy-water-plant-not-nuclear-reator and “Cheryl’s”:http://whirledview.typepad.com/whirledview/2006/08/a_heavy_water_p.html very good takes on Iran’s heavy water -reactor- production plant.
“MNA quoted”:http://www.mehrnews.com/en/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=371762 AEOI head Gholamreza Aghazadeh 26 August giving some details about the HWPP:
bq. â€œThe production capacity of this plant is currently 16 tons of deuterium with 99.8 percent purity,” explained the AEOI director. â€œThe full capacity of this power plant is 80 tons of deuterium water per year.”