Tuesday, August 9, 2011

'Iran to build more nuclear plants'

A general view of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran

Source: Press TV

A senior Iranian lawmaker says the Islamic Republic plans to build more nuclear power plants in upcoming years as the country moves forward with its nuclear program.

Hossein Amiri Khamkani, a member of a special parliamentary committee set up to examine the status of the Bushehr plant, made the remark in an interview with Majlis news agency (ICANA) on Monday.

He said that the construction costs of a nuclear plant are by far more than fossil ones in the beginning but nuclear plants offer long-term benefits, which make them more economical than fossil ones.

He also noted that the Islamic Republic plans to build more nuclear plants in line with its national interests.

Khamkani, however, said that Russia may not be Iran's partner in future plant projects since Moscow had reneged on its promises to complete and launch Iran's first nuclear power plant on several occasions.

He blamed Russia for the delay in launching the Bushehr plant and said the plant was supposed to go on stream in January according to the latest agreement between Iran and Russia.

He pointed out that the committee has sent its final report on the status of the Bushehr plant to the Majlis (parliament) Presiding Board.

In the report, no exact date for the final launch of the plant was given but the report mentions that the Bushehr plant will not go on stream as planned for the end of August, he further explained.

Majlis has passed plans for setting up 20 more nuclear plants and the Iranian government is bound to build them.

The construction of Bushehr power plant started in 1975 when Germany signed a contract with Iran. Germany, however, pulled out of the project following the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iran then signed a deal with Russia in 1995, under which the plant was originally scheduled to be completed in 1999, but the completion of the project was repeatedly delayed. The nuclear power plant was finally finished with the help of Russia following a three-decade delay.

In October 2010, Iran started injecting fuel into the core of the reactor at Bushehr nuclear power plant in the initial phase of its launch. However, engineers began removing the fuel rods in late February for safety reasons.

The unloading of the fuel delayed the plant's joining the national grid, initially scheduled for the beginning of 2011.

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