Iran Prepares for Initial Testing of Arak Nuclear Reactor

Initial testing of fluid systems expected soon

Iran has informed the IAEA that they intend to conduct initial testing at the Arak heavy water reactor soon, with a focus on fluid and support systems. They did not set a specific day, but said it would be somewhat after Iranian new years, which is Sunday.

Iran designed Arak to replace the Tehran Research Reactor as a source of medical isotopes. The Iran nuclear deal saw Iran scrap that reactor in favor of an alternative design, and after substantial delay it seems ready for testing.

The testing could begin in days, and the expectation is that Iran could have the site fully active and operational later this year. This would finally resolve a long-standing concern about the age of Iran’s research reactor.

Under the deal, the new Arak reactor, which produces small amounts of plutonium byproduct, will have to see its waste shipped abroad. Iran has assured it will do so, and has made no effort to even attempt to extract any byproducts from the waste.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of