Iran will primarily launch the 40MW nuclear reactor in Arak, which will use “virtual” (non-nuclear) fuel, in the next Iranian calendar year, beginning on 21 March.

Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) director Fereydoun Abbasi made this announcement in relation to the latest UN nuclear agency’s report on the country’s nuclear programme, reported Tehran Times.

The UN report said that Iran is progressing with its development of the Arak research reactor, situated in the central Iranian province of Markazi.

Abbasi also said that 150 batches of nuclear fuel had been produced, which will be delivered to the Arak nuclear plant, while the process of completing the reactor is progressing as per plan.

In April 2012, Iran said that the production line of "virtual" fuel for the Arak nuclear reactor had commenced at a nuclear facility in Isfahan.

On Thursday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a report to member states saying that Iran had nearly completed installation of cooling and moderator circuit piping in the heavy water plant near the town of Arak, according to Reuters.