SearchIran Nuclear Energy Facilities

Iran Nuclear Energy Facilities ... 17/02/2015 Economy

Keywords:#2015, #AEOI, #Academic, #Anarak, #Arak, #Ardakan, #Argentina, #Atlantic, #Atomic_Energy_Organization, #Atomic_Energy_Organization_of_Iran, #Australia, #Bandar_Abbas, #Beijing, #Boeing, #Boeing_747, #Bushehr, #Bushehr_Nuclear_Power_Plant, #Canada, #Chah, #China, #Chinese, #Darkhovin, #Esfahan, #Fordow, #France, #French, #German, #Germany, #Hydrogen, #IAEA, #IR-40, #Ibn, #Iodine, #Iran, #Iran-Iraq, #Iranian, #Iraq, #Islamic, #Islamic_Revolution, #Israel, #Karaj, #Maragheh, #Middle_East, #Miniature, #Molybdenum, #Natanz, #Natanz_Fuel_Enrichment_Plant, #Nuclear_Fuel,, #Paris, #Persian, #Pilot_Fuel_Enrichment_Plant, #Qom, #Revolution, #Russia, #Table, #Tehran, #Tehran_Nuclear_Research_Center, #Tehran_Research_Reactor, #U-235, #US, #United_States, #Urmia, #West_Germany, #Xenon, #Xenon_Radioisotope_Production, #Yazd

Radioactive material is used in everything from nuclear fuel to cancer medicines. Producing and handling these substances requires special facilities. These range from larger, more complex sites such as nuclear power plants or atomic fuel cycle facilities to smaller ones, such as research laboratories. Iran’s expansive nuclear infrastructure includes practically all of these kinds of facilities. This section details Iran’s atomic sites, including what they’re used for.
Table of Contents [hide]
Uranium Mining & Milling
Shahid Darioush Rezaeinejad Yellowcake Plant
Uranium Conversion Facilities
Uranium Enrichment-Related Facilities
Shahid Masoud Alimohammadi (Fordow) Fuel Enrichment Plant
Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant
Natanz Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant
Nuclear Fuel Fabrication
Nuclear Fuel Fabrication
Esfahan Fuel Fabrication Laboratory
Esfahan Fuel Manufacturing Plant
Nuclear Power Plants
Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant
Nuclear Research and development Facilities
Arak Heavy Water Research Reactor
Esfahan Heavy Water Zero Power Reactor
Esfahan Miniature Neutron Source Reactor
Jabr Ibn Hayan Multipurpose Research Laboratory
Molybdenum, Iodine and Xenon Radioisotope Production Facility
Tehran Research Reactor
Nuclear Training Facilities
Light Water Sub-Critical Reactor
Nuclear Waste Management
Anarak Nuclear Waste Storage Site

The nuclear fuel cycle starts with uranium mining. In Iran, there are two sites which are currently in operation for the purpose of extracting uranium ore from the ground. Mining is carried out via two shafts in Saghand in central Iran, and Gchine near the southern city of Bandar Abbas.
After being mined, uranium ore is then crushed and broken down in a process called milling. The Gchine site has its own milling facility. However, the uranium ore mined in Saghand is sent to the Shahid Rezaeinejad complex near Ardakan. There, it’s processed to produce uranium ore concentrate, which is also known as yellowcake.
Once mined and concentrated into yellowcake, which is in solid form, the uranium must be converted to a gas. This gaseous form of uranium is called uranium hexafluoride (UF6). The process to produce UF6 in Iran is carried out at the Esfahan Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF).
After uranium has been converted into a gaseous form, the U-235 isotope must be separated from the more abundant U-238 isotope in a process called enrichment. As these two uranium isotopes are identical chemically, they cannot be readily separated by a simple chemical reaction. They must be parted by means of exploiting the slight difference in their weights. Gas centrifuges, which operate at supersonic speeds, are designed for this very purpose. In Iran, UF6 is sent to the Natanz and Fordow plants for enrichment.
Enriched UF6 is then used to produce uranium dioxide (UO2) so that it can be used as fuel for nuclear reactors. At the Esfahan Fuel Manufacturing Plant (FMP), the UO2 (in the form of powder) is turned into pellets under pressure. Heat is then applied to harden the pellets. These pellets are then placed in special rods which are suitable for use as fuel for nuclear reactors.
Different types of nuclear reactors have different fuel requirements. The Light Water Reactor (LWR) at the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, for example, uses up to five percent enriched U-235 as fuel. In contrast, the Heavy Water Reactor (HWR) in Arak is designed to run on natural uranium. The level of U-235 enrichment in fuel used in reactors producing isotopes for medical purposes, as well as other fields of nuclear research, varies depending on the type of application.
The final stage in the nuclear fuel cycle is waste management. The main facilities in Iran that handle nuclear waste are the Anarak Nuclear Waste Storage Site and the Karaj Waste Storage Facility.

The nuclear fuel cycle starts with uranium mining. In the 1970s, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran signed a contract with the Iranian firm UrIran, tasking it with overseeing the exploration of potential uranium deposits in the country.
The massive project covered a span of some 600,000 square kilometers, or over a third of Iran’s surface area. The objective was to find the uranium needed to domestically produce fuel for Iran’s planned nuclear power plants as soon as possible.
From 1976-1978, UrIran signed contracts with three companies (Prakla Seismoss, Austirex, and CGG) from then West Germany, France and Australia to survey and locate uranium deposits. The surveys were conducted in central Iran as well as in the country’s northwest, west, east, and northeast.
After Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, the foreign companies left Iran. Out of 150 Iranian and foreign personnel involved in the project, only 16 remained. But the contractors had almost completed their work and eventually handed over all their data to the AEOI shortly after the Islamic Revolution. In addition to Saghand and Gchine, there are several other sites in Iran with proven uranium deposits. These include: Khoshumi, Narigan, Anarak, Mangarabad, Maragheh, Chah Joule, Zarigan, Talkhe Roud, Sorkhanloo, Urmia and Baychebagh. There are also more than 20 other sites under survey for potential deposits.
“Saghand” means fresh water in Persian. The uranium mine in Saghand is named after a small spring in the area. The site is located in the desert in the central province of Yazd, at an altitude of 1334 meters above sea level.
It is Iran’s largest uranium mine. Ore exploration on the site started before Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The uranium deposits in Saghand are spread over a span of 100 to 150 square kilometers. The mine is designed to exploit low grade hard rock ore bodies through conventional underground mining techniques. The annual estimated production output of Saghand is 120,000 tons of uranium ore. The site is estimated to hold 1.58 million tons of uranium ore.
The uranium mining process requires a lot of water, which is provided by a well 70 kilometers away. The design process in Saghand started in 1994 with the help of Russia, but China has also been involved in the project. Construction has been done in three phases and the site is capable of providing uranium ore for about 20 years.
The Saghand mine consists of two main and side shafts with depths of 346.5 meters and widths of 4 meters each. These shafts were designed by Russia and completed in 2003. China finished the first shaft after 22 months. The second one, which was excavated by Iranian technicians with the help of the Chinese, took 26 months to complete. The main shaft is used for aeration and the second one is used for transporting personnel and equipment. There are near-surface uranium deposits which have also been identified in Saghand. In these locations, uranium ore can be mined at a much lower depth of 60 meters. The ore extracted at Saghand is processed into yellowcake at the associated mill near Ardakan. Iran officially began operations in Saghand in April 2013.
After being mined, uranium ore is then crushed and broken down in a process called milling. The Gchine Uranium Mine and Mill is located near Iran’s southern port city of Bandar Abbas. The facility is used to both mine and process low but variable grade uranium ore found in near-surface deposits. Gchine is designed to produce some 21 tons of yellowcake annually.
As acknowledged by the IAEA, the decision to build a uranium milling plant in Gchine was made on August 25th 1999. The project was named “Project 5/15” by the AEOI. The site was initially developed by Kimia Maadan (KM). Civil engineering construction began in February of 2001 and the processing equipment at the site was first tested in April the same year. The procurement of parts to set up the grinding process line started in September of 2002. The AEOI took over operations in 2003. Tehran subsequently informed the IAEA about operations at the Gchine Uranium Mine and Mill in 2004. On December 5th 2010, the first sample of yellowcake produced in Gchine was sent to the Esfahan Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF).
Shahid Darioush Rezaeinejad Yellowcake Plant
The Shahid Rezaeinejad Yellowcake Plant turns uranium ore into concentrate, also known as yellowcake, on an industrial scale. It is located near the city of Ardakan, and is one of the two sites which Iran uses to handle commercial milling and yellowcake production. The plant near Ardakan produces up to 70 tons of yellowcake (uranium ore concentrate) annually. The plant’s raw material is provided by the nearby Saghand mine. The Shahid Rezaeinejad plant was originally a pilot-scale facility built with China’s assistance. In September 2003, Tehran informed the IAEA about plans to upgrade the plant to a full-scale milling facility. The infrastructure and processing buildings of the Shahid Rezaeinejad plant were completed in 2004. The facility officially started production in April 2013. It is named after the Iranian scientist Darioush Rezaeinejad, who was assassinated in Tehran in 2011. Iranian authorities blame his assassination on the United States and Israel.

Iran carries out its uranium conversion in the central city of Esfahan. The Esfahan Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) has an annual production capacity of 200 tons of uranium in the form of UF6.
The project to build the site started in 1991, when Iran and China began negotiations on the construction of an industrial-scale conversion facility in Esfahan. The UCF was supposed to be built under a turn-key contract, but Beijing cancelled the agreement in 1996 due to US pressure. Nonetheless, Iran retained the original engineering designs from China and was able to complete the facility on its own. In July 2000, Tehran provided preliminary design information about the facility to the IAEA. Operations at the Esfahan UCF began in 2006.
As part of the original contract with China to build the Esfahan UCF, Beijing also agreed to build a turn-key Zirconium Production Plant (ZPP).
The ZPP was designed to produce some 10 tons of zirconium alloy tubing annually, an amount sufficient for the Bushehr nuclear power plant’s annual fuel requirements.
Zirconium alloy tubing is used in the production of fuel rods at the Esfahan Fuel Manufacturing Plant.
Iran also plans to use the UCF to produce UO2 powder from UF6 enriched up to five percent U-235, uranium metal ingots from natural and depleted UF4 (uranium tetrafluoride), and UF4 from depleted UF6. Natural and enriched UO2 can then be sent to the Esfahan Fuel Manufacturing Plant for processing into fuel for research reactor and power reactors.

There are three sites where Iran carries out its uranium enrichment activities.
Shahid Masoud Alimohammadi (Fordow) Fuel Enrichment Plant
Iran produces UF6 enriched up to 19.75 percent at the Shahid Masoud Alimohammadi Fuel Enrichment Plant. The site, which is also known Fordow, is a centrifuge enrichment plant built deep underground near the city of Qom. The area is located some 100 km from the Iranian capital, Tehran. In 2009, Iran informed the IAEA about its plans to build the facility.
Fordow was completed in 2011 and is designed to hold as many as 2,976 centrifuges, divided between Unit 1 and Unit 2. According to the IAEA, Iran had installed 2,784 centrifuges at Fordow as of August 2013, though only around a quarter of these centrifuges were in operation at the time.
As of August 2013, Iran had produced about 195 kg of UF6 enriched up to 19.75 percent at Fordow since the inauguration of the plant. The site is named after the Iranian scientist Masoud Alimohammadi, who was assassinated in Tehran in 2010. Iranian authorities blame his assassination on the United States and Israel.
Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant
The Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant, or FEP, is a facility designed for the production of enriched uranium. Operations at the plant first began in 2007. It is divided into Production Hall A and Production Hall B. In all, eight units are planned for Production Hall A, with 18 cascades in each unit. That is a total of some 25,000 centrifuges in 144 cascades.
Iran had fully installed 89 IR-1 centrifuge cascades in Production Hall A as of August 2013.
It had also partially installed one other IR-1 centrifuge cascade and completed preparatory installation work for the other 36 IR-1 centrifuge cascades. As of August 2013, Tehran additionally declared that it was feeding 54 of the fully installed cascades with natural UF6.
As of August 2013, six cascades of the more advanced IR-2m centrifuges were fully installed in one of the units of Production Hall A, though under vacuum. Thus, a total of 1008 IR-2m centrifuges are at the site. Meanwhile, preparatory installation work had been completed for twelve other IR-2m centrifuge cascades in the unit.
As of August 24th 2013, 15,416 IR-1 and 1,008 IR-2m centrifuges were installed at the FEP. As of the same date, none of the IR-2m centrifuges had been fed with natural UF6. Iran has indicated that the performance of IR-2m cascades will be tested using the six cascades. Since its launch, the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant has produced some 10,000 kilograms of UF6 enriched up to five percent U-235.
Natanz Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant
Iran carries out research and development at the Natanz Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP). Uranium enrichment also takes place at the site, which came into operation in October 2003. The PFEP has a hall that can accommodate six cascades, and is divided between an area designated for the production of uranium enriched up to 19.75 percent and an area designated for research and development.
As of August 2013, Iran was feeding up to five percent-enriched UF6 into Cascades 1 and 6 in the production part of the PFEP, which consist of 328 IR-1 centrifuges. The UF6 that is fed into these machines is enriched to 19.75%. In the research and development area, natural UF6 has been fed into a number of IR-6s centrifuges as single machines and into IR-1, IR-2m, IR-4 and IR-6 centrifuges. As of August 2013, the site has produced approximately 178 kg of UF6 enriched up to 19.75 percent.

Nuclear Fuel Fabrication
The Esfahan Nuclear Fuel Research and Production Center is spread over approximately 2400 hectares of land. It consists of Nuclear Engineering, Metallurgical and Fuel, Chemistry and Miniature Neutron Source Reactor departments.
Esfahan Fuel Fabrication Laboratory
Iran produces fuel pellets at the Esfahan Fuel Fabrication Laboratory (FFL). The facility came online in 1985, and Tehran informed the IAEA about the site in 1993. Iran provided the Agency with design information of the FFL in 1998. The IAEA reports that the FFL can produce fuel pellets on a small scale. The FFL manufactures sintered pellets, using some 50 kg of imported depleted UO2.
Esfahan Fuel Manufacturing Plant
Iran provided the IAEA with preliminary design information for the Esfahan Fuel Manufacturing Plant (FMP) in 2003. Construction of the plant began in 2004 and the site was launched in 2009. The FMP is a facility designed for the fabrication of nuclear fuel assemblies for power and research reactors. It is slated to produce 40 tons of UO2 per year with a maximum enrichment of 5% U235. More specifically, it is designed to produce fuel for the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant and the Arak Heavy Water Research Reactor. In August 2013, the IAEA carried out an inspection at the FMP and confirmed the ongoing manufacturing of pellets for the nascent IR-40 Reactor in Arak, using natural UO2.

Iran is currently operating one nuclear power plant while another one is under construction.
Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant
The Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant is located in southwestern Iran and currently has a 1000 MW electric pressurized water reactor. There are plans to build at least one more 1000 MW reactor at the site. The project to construct the Bushehr nuclear power plant was initiated in the 1970s.
The contract was awarded to then West Germany’s Kraftwerk Union AG (a joint venture of Siemen’s AG and AEG Telefunken) to build two reactors. The deal was worth $4-6 billion at the time. West Germany was to provide enriched fuel for the reactors for ten years as well.
In August 1975, Siemens/Kraftwerk Union started work on the plant, and a year later, in July 1976, the AEOI finalized the formal contract with the West German firm.

However, after Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, Siemens/Kraftwerk Union abandoned the project with one reactor 50% complete and the other 85% finished. In August 1979, the firm formally withdrew from the project. During the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, the unfinished plant was bombed several times and almost completely destroyed. Construction resumed soon after Iran signed a contract with Russia in 1995.
Operations at the Bushehr nuclear power plant began in May 2011.
On February 11th 2012, it was connected to the national grid at 40% capacity, generating 700 megawatts of electricity. Its output reached full capacity in August 2012. It is the first nuclear power plant in the Middle East.
The building that houses the nuclear reactor in Bushehr is strong enough to withstand an earthquake of eight magnitude on the Richter scale as well as the head-on collision of a Boeing 747 passenger jet. In September 2013, Russia handed over operational control of the first unit of the plant to Iran. It consists of seven parts, including: the reactor building, reactor auxiliary building, solid waste building, turbine building, emergency feed water building and ventilation chimney.
In 1977, a $2 billion agreement on the construction of two 950-megawatt reactors in Darkhovin was finalized with the French firms Framatome, Spie-Batignolles and Alsthom Atlantic. However, Paris withdrew from the project after Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. In 1992, Iran signed a contract with China instead to build smaller reactors at the site. However, in 1996, Beijing also withdrew from the project, under US pressure.
Since then, Iran has taken up the project itself. In 2008, it declared that it had entered the design stage for the construction of a domestically-built pressurized water reactor with a capacity of 360 MW in Darkhovin. In September 2009, Iran provided the IAEA with preliminary design information for the plant, with plans to finish the project in 2015. Darkhovin is going to be Iran’s first indigenously designed and built nuclear power plant.

Hydrogen is the only element without a neutron. If a neutron is added to hydrogen’s nucleus, the resulting isotope is called deuterium or heavy hydrogen (D or 2H). Water which contains deuterium is known as heavy water. Iran is building a heavy water research reactor in Arak for several reasons. For one, constructing this type of facility gives a country access to the needed advanced technology and allows it to utilize natural uranium, thereby reducing reliance on enriched uranium.
Arak Heavy Water Research Reactor
In 2002, Iran completed the basic design of a heavy water moderated research reactor (IR-40) in Arak. The IR-40 reactor will be used for research and development, radioisotope production and training.
The facility is slated to produce 40 MW thermal power, using natural uranium oxide as its fuel.
Construction of the reactor started in 2004 and the facility is scheduled to be completed in 2014. The heavy water research reactor is designed to hold as many as 150 natural uranium fuel assemblies. In 2013, Iran installed the main components of the IR-40 reactor, including the containment overhead crane, the moderator and primary coolant heat exchangers, circuit piping and purification systems, the moderator storage tanks as well as the pressurizer for the reactor cooling system. Tehran also confirmed the following commissioning schedule for the IR-40 Reactor:

Phase 1:
Pre-commissioning – use of dummy fuel assemblies and light water scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2013.
Phase 2:
Commissioning – use of real fuel assemblies and heavy water scheduled for the first quarter of 2014. This phase is expected to become operational during the third quarter of 2014.
The AEOI is planning to transfer some of the Tehran Research Reactor’s production load, in terms of radiopharmaceuticals, to the Arak facility once completed.
Heavy Water Nuclear Reactors (HWR) hold several advantages.
Instead of enriched uranium, they run on cheap natural uranium, which is readily available in Iran. Hence, a HWR is desirable because it can reduce reliance on enriched uranium.
Heavy water is also more efficient as a moderator – to slow down neutrons in a controlled nuclear chain reaction – compared to regular water, which is used in light water reactors. Canada has designed several heavy water reactors which work in this manner.
If light water is used as modulator and/or coolant, the water absorbs a significant amount of neutrons in order to keep the reaction going. This means that light water reactors must be large in size and use a lot of regular uranium and modulator.
Esfahan Heavy Water Zero Power Reactor
The Esfahan Heavy Water Zero Power Reactor is a 100 W heavy water reactor. It has been in operation since the mid-1990s. It was built with Chinese assistance in 1991 and began operations four years later. The reactor uses heavy water as a moderator and runs on natural uranium metal fuel. It is one of the three research reactors in operation in Iran under IAEA safeguards. In May 2013, the IAEA inspected the facility and verified the existence of 36 prototype fuel assemblies. Iran is using the reactor to gain experience in the control aspect of heavy water reactors in preparation for managing larger units, including the IR-40 reactor in Arak. The purposes of this reactor include:
Research related to heavy water reactors
Training and computer design of nuclear reactors
Esfahan Miniature Neutron Source Reactor
The Esfahan Miniature Neutron Source Reactor is a 30 kW light water research reactor in operation since 1994. It is part of the Esfahan Nuclear Fuel Research and Production Center, which was established with French assistance in 1974.
The reactor is used for the production of short-lived radioisotopes as well as neutron activation analysis. The reactor has a lifetime supply of about one kilogram of 90.2% enriched fuel.
The main purpose of this reactor is research and development into designing a practical industrial reactor. The facility holding the Miniature Neutron Source Reactor houses a control room, production room and a measurement laboratory. The reactor is designed for:
Conducting analysis for research, scientific and industrial centers
Research in the fields of food & agriculture, medicine and industry
Neutron-related research
Academic programs for universities
Jabr Ibn Hayan Multipurpose Research Laboratory
The Jabr Ibn Hayan Multipurpose Research Laboratory (JHL) is located at the Tehran Nuclear Research Center. It is a multipurpose nuclear and chemistry research complex that conducts research on most aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle, including conversion, enrichment, purification, and reprocessing. In May 2003, Iran provided preliminary design information for the facility to the IAEA. JHL is one of Iran’s most important research centers. Over 800,000 patients (most of whom suffer from cancer) rely on this facility for treatment. JHL’s operations directly rely on the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR). Operations at the JHL were interrupted at times in recent years. This was due to the IAEA’s inability to facilitate sales of needed fuel for the TRR. However, this issue has been resolved as Tehran is now capable of making the fuel on its own.
Molybdenum, Iodine and Xenon Radioisotope Production Facility
The Molybdenum, Iodine and Xenon Radioisotope Production Facility is a laboratory located at the Tehran Nuclear Research Center. It is designed to produce radioisotopes of molybdenum, iodine and xenon from natural uranium oxide. It is a hot cell complex for the separation of radiopharmaceutical isotopes from targets, including uranium, irradiated at the Tehran Research Reactor. The facility is not currently processing any uranium targets. Iran began building the facility in 1995 and completed construction in 2005. However, it has not yet been commissioned.
Tehran Research Reactor
The Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) is Iran’s largest research reactor in operation. The TRR produces medical isotopes. It is a five megawatt-thermal (MWth), pool-type light water research reactor. The TRR is situated in a facility under a protective dome. The reactor is surrounded by cooling systems, a water pump and an ionic filtration system.
The TRR makes it possible for Iranian scientists to conduct research in the fields of reactor and neutron physics, in addition to studies of the effect of particle beams on different materials. The main purpose of the reactor, however, is the production of radioisotopes for use in medicine, industry and agriculture. More precisely, the TRR’s main functions are:
Production of radiopharmaceutical drugs
Production of industrial radioisotopes
Applications for neutron reactors
Applications for ‘fast neutrons’
Applications for neutron flux traps
Training in the field of industrial nuclear energy
The TRR is interconnected with the JHL, radioisotope laboratories, Hospitals and medical research centers. Thus, as the main producer of radioactive isotopes in Iran, it plays an important role in the provision of healthcare.
The TRR is exclusively under the supervision of AEOI, which oversees the production of 55 different types of radiopharmaceuticals and related products for more than 130 nuclear medical centers in the country.
The United States supplied the GA Technologies reactor under the Atoms for Peace program in 1967. Moreover, the United Nuclear Corporation of the United States supplied Iran with about 5,585 grams of weapons-grade uranium (93% U-235) to fuel the TRR. In March 1969, France agreed to repair the reactor.
After Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, the US stopped supplying fuel for the TRR, forcing the facility’s shutdown for a number of years. In 1987, Tehran paid Argentina’s Applied Research Institute $5.5 million to convert the reactor to run on uranium enriched to slightly less than 20% rather than weapons-grade uranium. In 1993, the reactor was fitted to use 19.75% enriched uranium as fuel. In the same year, Argentina delivered 115.8 kg of the needed enriched uranium to fuel the reactor.
In 2009, Iran informed the IAEA that it needed fuel for the TRR as it was running out. The Agency tried to facilitate a fuel-swap deal between Iran, Russia and France. The proposal called on Iran to transfer most of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium out of the country in exchange for fuel needed for the reactor. The proposal never materialized.
Thus, the year after, in 2010, Iran was forced to step up the level of its enrichment to 19.75% U-235 in order to supply fuel for the TRR. In 2012, Tehran announced the finalization of indigenously produced fuel plates for the TRR.
With more than 45 years in operation, the TRR is expected to go out of commission in the foreseeable future. This has led Iranian authorities to seriously seek a replacement reactor. Thus, after extensive studies, a 40 MW heavy water research reactor was chosen as the most suitable replacement for the TRR. The latter facility is being built in Arak, as outlined above.
Nuclear Training Facilities

Light Water Sub-Critical Reactor
China built the Light Water Sub-Critical Reactor (LWSCR) in Esfahan in 1988 and provided fuel for it. The LWSCR uses uranium metal fuel and has been operational since 1992. The reactor operates a few days of the year. It is mainly used for training purposes.

Radioactive waste is divided into three different types depending on the kind of radiation it emits and its intensity.
Low-grade waste: This type of waste is normally produced by hospitals and laboratories. Some is produced in the nuclear fuel cycle. The level of radiation is low with a relatively short half-life. The handling of this type of waste is not dangerous but requires more attention than handling regular excess. This low-grade waste is normally pressed or burnt.
Medium-grade waste: This type of waste is more radioactive and may require further special attention. This type of waste may include resins, chemical slag and compounds found in reactors. The handling of this type of waste is more complex and may include mixing the excess in concrete or tar and bury it at different depths in the ground, depending on the level of radioactivity.
High-grade waste: This includes waste originating from spent nuclear fuel. This type of discarded radioactive material generates lots of heat and must be cooled during transport. If spent nuclear fuel is recycled, what is left over is turned into glass-like material, put into special barrels and buried deep in the ground. Storing this type of waste doesn’t take up much space. For example, for every 25 to 30 tons of nuclear fuel spent in a normal nuclear power station, only three square meters of waste is produced. If recycled, about 97% of the spent fuel can be returned to the nuclear fuel cycle.
Anarak Nuclear Waste Storage Site
The Anarak Nuclear Waste Storage Site is located near Esfahan. It is Iran’s main nuclear waste disposal site. In 2003, Iran informed the IAEA that nuclear waste from the Tehran Research Reactor and Molybdenum, Iodine and Xenon Radioisotope Production Facility was solidified and eventually transferred to the Anarak site. In August 2003, the Agency visited the site and requested that this waste be moved to a facility at Jabr Ibn Hayan Multipurpose Laboratories in Tehran. Iran consented and transferred the waste in January 2004. The site is a subsidiary of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI). Iran also uses the Karaj Waste Storage Facility to handle some of its nuclear waste.


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