This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran says it's scaling down plutonium production plans at the country's only, partially built heavy-water reactor, an announcement seen as a gesture toward next week's negotiations with world powers over the Islamic Republic's controversial nuclear program.
According to the announcement, the reactor at Arak in central Iran will be redesigned to make less waste plutonium than what is required for the core of a nuclear weapon.
Iran's nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, told the official IRNA news agency late on Wednesday that instead of 10 kilograms (22 pounds) as initially planned, the reactor will make less than 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds).
"The amount of production of plutonium in Arak ... will be less than one kilogram," Salehi said. "We are redesigning the reactor."
The change of plans is part of a deal that Iran is negotiating with world powers to ensure that its nuclear program will not produce an atomic weapon, in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.
Salehi's remarks were the first indication of production plans, although he indicated during negotiations in April that plutonium production could be limited.
Since striking an interim deal in November, Iran and the six world powers — the five permanent U.N. Security Council members and Germany — have held several rounds of talks to try hammer out a final deal.
Under the November agreement, Tehran stopped enrichment of uranium to 20 percent — which is a possible pathway to nuclear arms — in exchange for the easing of some Western sanctions.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.