Iran Nuclear Chief Says Tehran to Build New Nuclear Plant by Early 2014

Speaking to state-run TV, head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran says will build a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plant in Bushehr; work on existing plant in the area has suffered many delays.

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Iran plans to complete another nuclear power plant by the early 2014, the head of the country's nuclear agency was cited as telling Iranian state TV on Sunday.

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According to a report by the French news agency AFP, Fereidoun Abbasi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said that "Iran will build a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plant in Bushehr next year."

Abbasi was apparently referring to the Iranian calendar year, running from March 2013 to March 2014.

Delays have been plaguing Iran's existing Bushehr plant ever since its construction began in the 1970s by a German consortium, only to be abandoned after Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution.

These holdups returned even after Russia began work to complete it under a billion-dollar deal with Tehran in the mid-1990s.

Earlier this year, Abbasi told Fars news that Bushehr plant, located along the Persian Gulf coast, will reach its full capacity of 1,000 megawatts by February 1." However, it is not clear if the plant indeed reached the mark.

In the past, Iranian officials indicated that the plant would supply 2.5 percent of the country's electricity demands.

In March, Abbasi told state-run television network Press TV that Iran was “capable of designing and building pool reactors in the country because the main problem was the production of fuel plates which our fuel [production] complexes are currently producing.”

“Pool reactors are similar to the Tehran [Research] Reactor which has a capacity of 5 megawatts (MW) [of electricity] and we are planning to build a similar reactor with a capacity of up to10 MW in the country," he added.

The Tehran reactor was established in 1967, and the fuel was initially provided by Argentina, but this stopped a few years ago. The fuel was then to be provided by Russia and France, but a deal struck in October 2009 failed.

Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, Oct. 26, 2010.Credit: AP

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