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arak-nuclearThe Iranian regime is taking a harder line in its nuclear dispute with world powers by dismissing as "ridiculous" one idea that could allay international concerns about Arak heavy water facility, Reuters reported.

The fate of the heavy-water reactor at Arak, which has not yet been completed, is one of several issues in talks between the Iranian regime and six powers aimed at reaching a long-term agreement on Tehran's nuclear program by an agreed July 20 deadline.

"It is ridiculous that the power of the (Arak) reactor would be cut from 40 megawatts to 10 megawatts", nuclear negotiator Abbas Araghchi said, the official IRNA news agency reported.

The Arak plant - 250 km (150 miles) southwest of Tehran - could provide a supply of plutonium - one of two materials, along with highly enriched uranium, that can trigger a nuclear explosion - once operational.

If operating optimally, Arak could produce about nine kg (20 pounds) of plutonium annually, enough for about two atom bombs, the U.S. Institute for Science and International Security says.

Araghchi made no other reference to the idea in the remarks carried by IRNA, and it was not clear whether such a reduction in electrical power at the planned facility had been formally proposed at the latest round of talks last week.

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