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Chinese, British work on Arak heavy water facility has ‘picked up pace’: Iran’s atomic energy chief

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi says work on the reconstruction of the Arak heavy water reactor — a project jointly undertaken by China, Britain and Iran — has “picked up pace” following a pause.

“The joint committee tasked with redesigning the Arak Heavy Water Reactor Facility — comprised of Iran, China and Britain — is performing its job well,” said Salehi, Iran’s parliamentary news agency ICANA reported on Friday.

“We are consequently satisfied with the project’s progress because the reactor’s reconstruction has picked up pace after being delayed for several months,” he added.

The 40-megawatt Arak reactor is intended to produce isotopes for cancer and other medical treatments.

The nuclear chief further highlighted the importance of nuclear technology for the country’s energy sector, saying the Bushehr nuclear power plant is already generating an average of 2.7 percent of Iran’s electricity needs.

That figure, he added, would increase following the inauguration of Bushehr’s second and third nuclear power plants, which are slated to become operational in the next six and eight years, respectively.

Salehi further pointed to a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA)’s Board of Governors, which had been held at the request of the US earlier this month, saying the outcome of the meeting demonstrated Washington’s isolation.

During that meeting, Washington made an attempt in vain to rally the body behind its anti-Iran claims a few days after Tehran increased its uranium enrichment level beyond the limits set by the JCPOA as part of its legal reciprocal measures in the aftermath of the US’s exit from the agreement and the remaining signatories’ failure to live up to their end of the bargain.

“This is the first time that a member state of the Board of Governors calls for a session only to get isolated afterwards due to its baseless claims,” he said.