Iran had asked the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for technical aid in constructing and applying a heavy-water nuclear research reactor, the Austria News Agency (APA) reported on Monday, quoting diplomats in Vienna. The heavy-water reactor would be built at Arak, about 200 km south of Tehran. The reactor could provide 12 kg of plutonium annually after its completion in 2009.
The diplomats said Iran's application would be first discussed by the IAEA's technical assistance committee next week.
According to the Charter of the IAEA, Iran's application would need to be finally ratified by the IAEA's governing board in Vienna.
The diplomats said the IAEA would not be likely to provide Iran with technical support in constructing the reactor at present. However, it could be in a position to offer some assistance to help ensure the project goes ahead safely.
Western countries, particularly the United States, claim that Iran's nuclear program could eventually lead to the production of atomic bombs, but Tehran says it only intends to generate power.