The latest quarterly report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has once again confirmed that Iran is continuing to comply with all of its requirements under the P5+1 nuclear deal, and that its stockpiles of low enriched uranium remain well below negotiated caps.
The IAEA report also confirmed that Iran has made no attempt to construct a heavy water reactor at Arak. Iran is expected to ultimately build a reactor at Arak to produce medical isotopes, though under the P5+1 deal the international community is to offer an alternative design that produces less plutonium as a waste product.
The lack of an active heavy water reactor, along with continued struggles to sell their excess heavy water on the international market, means Iran is once again nearing the “cap” on a heavy water stockpile. The P5+1 deal was supposed to assure Iran an export market for excess heavy water, to help recoup the cost of a production facility no longer needed because of the Arak redesign.
In practice, Iran has struggled to find buyers. The US bought the first shipment of heavy water, which fueled a bunch of Congressional outrage, despite heavy water posing no nuclear proliferation risk, or really any risk at all, and since then no one seems to want to buy from Iran. Iran has exported excess water for storage in Oman, until a buyer can be found, though they have also argued they really shouldn’t have to go to this expense, because the water isn’t a threat, and it isn’t their fault no one will buy from them.