The IR-40 reactor is shaded red and the heavy water facility is shown with blue markers. The perimeter of the plant is shown in Orange. (Click on button to replay tracing)
IR-40 is a nuclear reactor near Arak, Iran. The government states that this reactor is intended for research and development as well as medical and industrial isotope production. There are concerns whether it might also be used to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons. Officially, though, the reactor is not yet operational with construction halted since November as Iran negotiates with the international community.
Last week, Iran agreed to alter the design to generate less plutonium. Negotiations will likely continue until July 20th, when construction is scheduled to start again. During this time satellite monitoring of the facility is key — here is a look at imagery from Skybox on Dec 29th, 2013 shows functioning steam exhausts on the deuterium oxide (heavy water) production section of the facility. High frequency access to imagery that allows for regular monitoring is one of the reasons we’re excited about integrating Skybox imagery into the Mapbox API and cloud platform.