"Heavy water" - deuterium oxide (2H2O) - is being touted as a health drink by Iranian Nuclear Chief Mohammad Sa'idi. In an interview which aired on the Iranian News Channel (IRINN) on August 27, 2006, Sa'idi claimed that heavy water can be used to treat AIDS and cancer. Who knew?
Mohammad Sa'idi: "One of the products of heavy water is depleted deuterium. As you know, in an environment with depleted deuterium, the reception of cancer cells and of the AIDS viruses is disrupted. Since this reception is disrupted, the cells are gradually expelled from the body. Obviously, one glass of depleted deuterium will not expel or cure the cancer or eliminate the AIDS. We are talking about a certain period of time. In many countries that deal with these diseases, patients use this kind of water instead of regular water, and consume it daily in order to heal their diseases."
Not for production of nuclear weapons, No Sirree Bob. I'm no expert on things nuclear, but a little web searching reveals that heavy water is used in plutonium and tritium production reactors, which are used to produce nuclear weapons. More info here. From the NY Times a few days ago:
"On Saturday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a provocative, if symbolic, gesture by formally inaugurating a heavy-water reactor. The Iranians say the plant would be used for peaceful power generation. But nuclear experts note that heavy-water facilities are more useful for weapons because they produce lots of plutonium — the preferred ingredient for missile warheads."
Sorry, Mr. Sa'idi, it's not helpful to drink heavy water, it's toxic. And why does the NY Times think that inaugurating a reactor is "a symbolic gesture"? That is, as they say, pretty heavy symbolism.
Iran sure has a lot of wacky people saying wacky things.