Report: Iran takes key step in nuclear reactor construction
June 10, 2013 -- Updated 0100 GMT (0900 HKT)
- Iran says facility will produce medicine
- Heavy water facilities can produce plutonium, which can be used in nuclear bombs
- U.S. says Iran needs to divulge plans for the facility
(CNN) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was on hand Sunday as officials at a nuclear plant took a critical step toward completing a reactor, the semiofficial Fars News Agency reported.
Workers installed two containers on the reactor at the Arak heavy water facility in central Iran, Fars said. It quoted the head of Iran's nuclear agency as saying he thought the reactor will be able to help produce medicine in 2014.
"We hope that we can go through the relevant phases and carry out the necessary tests to make sure of the proper operation of this reactor and start its full launch next year," Fereidoun Abbasi said.
Some believe Iran's nuclear program is designed to produce weapons, while Iran says it only has peaceful intentions.
U.N. nuclear chief frustrated by stalemated talks with Iran
"We are deeply troubled that Iran claims that the IR-40 heavy water reactor at Arak could be commissioned as soon as early 2014, but still refuses to provide the requisite design information for the reactor," Joseph Macmanus, the U.S. representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said last week at a board of governors meeting for the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency.
He also urged Iran to come clean soon about its nuclear plans and ambitions to the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency.
"The window of opportunity will not remain open indefinitely," he said.
At the same meeting Yukiya Amano, the IAEA's director general, said talks between Iran and the agency are "going around in circles."
"As my report on safeguards implementation in Iran shows, the (IAEA) continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement," Amano said. "However, Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable us to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities."
The spent fuel from heavy water reactors can be reprocessed to produce weapons-grade plutonium.
Heavy water, or deuterium oxide, has the chemical formula or D20, according to Brittanica.com.
Part of complete coverage on
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 2029 GMT (0429 HKT)
You -- the person now reading this story -- can help experts solve the mystery of what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
March 14, 2014 -- Updated 0239 GMT (1039 HKT)
Here are 17 answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this baffling disappearance.
Track star Oscar Pistorius is accused of killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Follow live updates of South Africa's trial of the century.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1031 GMT (1831 HKT)
It was 4am when, still half asleep, we bundled ourselves into a van and headed south.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1224 GMT (2024 HKT)
Watch how Pope Francis is redefining the papacy and breathing new life into the Catholic Church.
March 14, 2014 -- Updated 0400 GMT (1200 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1545 GMT (2345 HKT)
Michael Oren: He says the question is whether a truce can prevent conflict from becoming conflagration.
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 1015 GMT (1815 HKT)
There's nothing like lying on your back and staring up at a field of glittering stars. Here's where you can go for that:
The Fukushima nuclear disaster changed global attitudes towards nuclear power. Explore our interactive to find out how.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1051 GMT (1851 HKT)
Scientists around the world are investigating whether living cells can be used to print replacement organs and tissues.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 0230 GMT (1030 HKT)
An adventurer explores Japan's abandoned sex museums -- some of the things he finds are "very, very weird."
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
There are two Web clips featuring Beyonce that have been getting a lot of attention.
Today's five most popular stories