Iran seeks nuclear co-operation with China and Czech Republic

21 January 2016

Just days after the Iran nuclear deal came into effect Chinese and Iranian officials discussed a contract for constructing two nuclear unit at Makran on Iran's southern coast.

The head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Ali Akbar Salehi, said Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to discuss the issue of during his coming visit to Tehran. According to Salehi construction of the 1000MWe plants, costing $994m, will begin in February. He added that Iran is also considering the construction of several small 100MWe plants.

Salehi said Iran also plans to begin building a $331m nuclear hospital by mid-March, which will be one of the largest hospitals in West Asia. He added that the hospital will be fully operational in five years, according to Iranian media reports.

Earlier AEOI spokesperson Behruz Kamalvandi said that Iran is to sign a contract with China for the redesign of its Arak research reactor on 22 January, adding that the process will take about three years, Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported.

Regarding the timescale for the redesign of Arak reactor, Kamalvandi said: "We have provided the Chinese with a preliminary plan and are waiting for their response. If our preliminary plan is approved during the Chinese president's trip to Iran, we will enter the more detailed phase for the plan which takes about a year. The implementation of the project will take about a year and a half... we anticipate the re-designing of Arak plant to take less than three years."

Salehi also held talks with Czech Minister of Trade and Industry Jan Mladek, who arrive in Tehran the day after the Iran deal was finalised. "Given the Czech experience with safety, safety systems, providing power plant facilities and other related fields, there are opportunities for joint cooperation," Salehi reportedly told Mladek.

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