Critics complain as U.S. shops in Iran's nuclear bazaar

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Science  29 Apr 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6285, pp. 502-503
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6285.502

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Mere months ago, Iran's nuclear program was an international pariah. Now, it's supplying the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) with a strategic substance that the United States can't produce. Defying criticism, DOE last week consummated a deal to purchase 32 tons of heavy water—water containing the hydrogen isotope deuterium—from Iran. The $8.6 million sale helps Iran meet a commitment under last July's nuclear deal to shed heavy water, and it will have a swords-to-ploughshares payoff. DOE will resell a portion to industry for uses such as nuclear magnetic resonance imaging and protecting optical fibers against deterioration, and it will send 6 tons to Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee for an upgrade of the Spallation Neutron Source, an accelerator that generates powerful accelerator beams of neutrons for research.