Iran Says Bushehr Nuclear Plant to Be Ready by September

The 1,000-megawatt unit of the Bushehr plant was scheduled to be finished at the beginning of the decade but has been delayed at least five times.

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Iran said Wednesday that the Bushehr nuclear power plant, a joint project with Russia, would be ready for operation in two months, the ISNA news agency reported.

The reactor under construction near the Iranian city of BushehrCredit: AFP

Atomic agency chief Ali-Akbar Salehi said important, so-called hot tests have been concluded and, according to both Russian and Iranian experts, the plant would be ready by September.

The 1,000-megawatt unit of the Bushehr plant was scheduled to be finished at the beginning of the decade but has been delayed at least five times.

The Russian side gave technical reasons for the delay, but some Iranians suspected political considerations behind the holdups and accused Moscow of using the project as a political tool both against Iran and the United States.

Iran so far had to tolerate the delays in the construction because it has no other potential nuclear partners.

Western powers suspect Iran of secretly pursuing a nuclear weapons capability, a charge Tehran denies. Iran is the subject of several UN Security Council resolutions for its lack of cooperation with nuclear inspectors and its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.

Although Russia has not yet completed the first plant, Iran has promised Moscow it would have priority in future nuclear projects.

The light-water reactor in Bushehr is internationally tolerated because of Russia's involvement and guarantees that the nuclear fuel would be delivered from and nuclear waste returned to Russia, reducing fears of nuclear proliferation.

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