Arak Heavy Water Complex

Also Known As: 

Qatran Nuclear Site
Arak Qatran Complex
Qatran Complex
Arak Qatran Heavy Water Complex
Qatran Arak

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear


Arak, Iran

Satellite image of Arak on August 18, 2001 (Satellite image courtesy of Space Imaging Eurasia)

The site of a heavy water production plant and a 40 megawatt heavy water reactor; 
overseen by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).


Heavy water production plant (HWPP)

Construction confirmed to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 2003; commissioning underway in March 2005, according to IAEA inspectors; designed to produce 16 tons of nuclear-grade heavy water annually; approximately 100 tons of reactor-grade heavy water produced between 2014 and when production began in 2006; not subject to regular IAEA inspection.

Iran Nuclear Research Reactor (IR-40)

Tank-type 40 MW(th) reactor designed to contain 150 fuel bundles and a heavy water moderator and coolant; construction begun in March 2005; not operational as of September 2014; declared by Iran to be used for research and development and for the production of radioisotopes for medical and industrial use; major components installed as of September 2014 include moderator and primary coolant heat exchangers, moderator storage tanks, pressurizer for cooling system, a heavy water concentration column, cooling and moderator circuit piping, and reactor vessel; reactor vessel positioned and connected to cooling and moderator piping; will be fueled by natural uranium oxide (UO2) produced at the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) and made into fuel assemblies at the Fuel Manufacturing Plant (FMP); approximately ten tons of natural UO2 will be needed to fuel the reactor each year.

Foreign experts consulted on reactor design, reportedly from Russia; plans to construct hot cells for the production of "short-lived" and "long-lived" isotopes announced in November 2003; hot cells for "long-lived" isotopes abandoned because of difficulty in obtaining technical information, manipulators, and shielding windows; specifically, Iran unsuccessfully attempted to procure from France high-density radiation shielding windows, which would have provided protection equivalent to 140 cm of concrete, and remote manipulators; according to the IAEA, these procurement attempts are excessive for hot cells intended for radioisotope production and are more suited to hot cells for handling spent fuel.

Entities reported to have been involved in construction and installation at the complex, and to have provided equipment include:

Azar Ab Industries Co.
Azar Energy Company
Kankav Laboratory
Machine Sazi Arak
Maysun Co.
Mesbah Energy Company
Modern Industries Technique Company
Modieriat Saakht Niroogahaye Atomi Iran
Mohandesi Toseh Sokht Atomi Company
Nargan Consulting Engineers
Novin Energy Company
Pasargad - Jonub Civil and Engineering Co.
Pentane Chemistry Industries
Tanootas Taban Engineering and Construction Company
Tarh O Palayesh
Tosse Silooha

Entities reported to have been involved in procurement for the complex include:

Marou Sanat
Negin Parto Khavar
Noor Afza Gostar

Personnel reported to have worked at the complex include:

Ali Hajinia Leilabadi
Behman Asgarpour
Hossein Tanideh
Manuchehr Madadi
Mohammad Qannadi
Seyyed Hussein Husseini

Mentioned Suspect Entities & Suppliers: 

Date Entered: 

January 26, 2004

Date Last Modified: 

September 30, 2014