Iran to start Bushehr nuclear plant

Updated: 2011-08-15 09:53


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TEHRAN - Head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Fereidoon Abbasi said here Sunday that the first phase of Bushehr nuclear power plant will be commissioned by the end of August if the tests underway are completed, the official IRNA news agency reported.

If the tests are completed, the first stage of the Bushehr nuclear power plant will surely become operational by the end of Ramadan (August), Abbasi was quoted as saying.

Abbasi said the nuclear power plant will join the national grid at the first phase and can consequently generate 40 percent of its total power generation, the semi-official Mehr news agency said.

Since the plant will be commissioned in various stages after necessary tests, people should not focus on such marginal issues as the accurate date of commissioning at the cost of ignoring importance of taking main safety measures, he said.

He stressed the need to observe high standard safety measures after the incidents that happened in Fukushima Power Plant already, said IRNA.

The commissioning is time-consuming in view of observing even the slightest international standards on the project, he said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has always been monitoring various stages of the project, he added.

Abbasi said the plant will be inaugurated later November or December, according to IRNA.

In July, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the construction of the plant had almost completed and it was currently in the testing stage.

He said that by the end of August the Iranian nuclear power plant would join the national grid.

"Iranian and Russian officials are currently negotiating the launch date of the power plant," Mehmanparast said.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said earlier in the month that Russia was awaiting Iran's decision on the launch date of the Bushehr nuclear power plant.

In June, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Bushehr would become operational in early August. Preparations for the launch have progressed according to the plan.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Saturday that the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant is a symbol of Iran and Russia's cooperation.

Ahmadinejad told Russia Today (RT) that, "I have already talked to President Dmitri Medvedev, who told me there is no obstacle to the plant launching its operations according to the schedule."

The Iranian president announced that the plant is now in inauguration phase and is expected to be fully operational by the end of this year.

Construction of the Bushehr plant began in 1975 by several German companies. However, work was halted when the United States imposed an embargo of hi-tech supplies on Iran after the 1979 revolution. Russia signed a contract with Iran to complete the construction in 1998.

Completion of the plant's construction has been postponed several times due to technical and financial challenges and pressure from the United States.


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