IAEA reports Iran exceeded heavy water limit

by WorldTribune Staff, November 18, 2016

For the second time this year, Iran has exceeded the agreed upon limit on its stock of heavy water, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said.

The IAEA reported last week that Iran’s stock of heavy water had risen above the 130-ton level set in the nuclear agreement with world powers.

Iran's heavy water plant at Arak.
Iran’s heavy water plant at Arak.

“Nothing short of full implementation will assure the international community that Iran continues to uphold its commitments,” U.S. ambassador Laura Holgate told the IAEA board of governors meeting.

“Simply notifying states that this heavy water is for sale without removing it from Iran does not fulfill” Iran’s commitments under the deal, Holgate added.

Reza Najafi, Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, said on Feb. 17 that Iran was “making the preparations” for removing the material, telling reporters that the amount to be sold abroad may even exceed five tons.

A U.S. think-tank said Iran said earlier this year that Iran had been secretly allowed to overstep certain thresholds in order to get the nuclear deal through on time.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest dismissed that report although acknowledging that he had not read it in full. He insisted on Feb. 8 that Iran “has been in compliance with the agreement” since Jan. 16, when the deal was implemented.

Heavy water, a modified form of normal water, is used in certain types of nuclear reactors. Plutonium for use in nuclear weapons can be extracted from fuel rods used in heavy water reactors.