In an interview on Iranian TV on January 14, Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, explained that the core of the nuclear reactor at Arak had been removed and would be preserved whole, "as a symbol of our nuclear industry."
Following are excerpts:
Interviewer: Have you already removed the core of the nuclear reactor [at Arak]?
Behrouz Kamalvandi: Yesterday we carried out the final step of removing the core, and we completed the work about an hour ago. I'm talking about the openings, not the actual core. In the past this has been misunderstood, I'm sad to say. The core is a central component, which we are required to replace. It has openings that will be filled with cement. At first, they wanted us to divide the core into several parts, but we did not agree. We want to preserve it whole, as a symbol of our nuclear industry. This work has been completed, and I think that tonight, this will be confirmed by IAEA inspectors, and will be presented in their reports. One or two minor operations are still necessary, and I think that they will be completed today or tomorrow. I think that we will reach the stage of implementation very soon.
Interviewer: We are required to fill the reactor with cement, right?
Behrouz Kamalvandi: Yes. As I said, the core was supposed to have been divided into several parts. The cement is not placed in the openings of the reactor. There is a small part in the center of the core. To illustrate, it is like the cylinder in the keyhole of a door. You remove the original cylinder, replace it with a new one, and inject cement into the holes of the old one. The important thing is that the main part is preserved.