Iran's Nuclear 'Plan B': Plutonium

Until now, international powers have been focusing on uranium

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 27, 2013 7:46 AM CST

(Newser) – The Telegraph has details today of what it calls Iran's "Plan B," a second path to creating a nuclear bomb: New satellite images show that Iran has activated its Arak heavy-water production plant; heavy water could eventually power a nuclear reactor that would produce plutonium for bomb-making. Previous nuclear talks with Iran have focused on the country's attempts to enrich uranium, not plutonium. The heavily-guarded Arak facility has barred international inspections for a year and a half, but the images show a telltale cloud of steam.

Currently, Iran doesn't have the technology to reprocess plutonium in order to actually produce a nuclear warhead, but North Korea does have such technology. The new information comes as two days of international nuclear talks with Tehran ended. An EU official says the six international powers made a new offer to Iran, but Iran must deliver "results," the Wall Street Journal reports; further talks in March and April are planned. A US official says the new offer includes easing some sanctions in exchange for Iran ceasing 20% uranium enrichment and other suspect activities. Iran's top official at the talks said they had reached a "turning point" for the better, the AP reports. He called the talks "positive" and noted that the new offer is a "more realistic" compromise.

In this Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011, file photo, a part of Arak heavy water nuclear facilities is seen, near the central city of Arak, 150 miles southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran.
In this Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011, file photo, a part of Arak heavy water nuclear facilities is seen, near the central city of Arak, 150 miles southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran.   (AP Photo/Fars News Agency, Mehdi Marizad, File)
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