News / Europe

Iran's Nuclear Chief: Bushehr Plant Will Go Online by Month's End

The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Akbar Salehi, indicated Friday that Iran's controversial nuclear power plant at Bushehr will go online seven to eight days after Russia delivers its nuclear fuel supply on August 21.  Russia indicated that it would start loading fresh nuclear fuel into the reactor on that date.

Iranian state media on Friday trumpeted the imminent start-up of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in what appears to be a display of national pride.  Past announcements that the plant would come online had been met with repeated deceptions.

Atomic Energy Chief Ali Akbar Salehi told journalists that the plant would be launched next week, when nuclear fuel is "transferred inside the Bushehr plant."  He added that it would then require "seven or eight days to place [the fuel] inside the reactor."

He says that from our perspective as you introduce the fuel into the reactor, that reactor becomes operational.  However, a conventional power plant is different from a nuclear power plant, because the nuclear plant takes more time to be up and running.

The spokesman for Russia's atomic energy agency, Rosatom, Sergei Novikov, discussed the matter earlier Friday.

He says that the process of loading fresh nuclear fuel into the reactor building would begin on August 21, at which point it would be inside the pre-reactor storage facility.  He emphasizes that the nuclear reactor will then officially be classified as a nuclear energy installation.  The testing phase, he adds, will then be complete and the physical launch will begin.

Novikov went on to say that the entire process would take place "under the supervision of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors."

Iranian nuclear chief Salehi noted that the "fuel is sealed," adding that "IAEA inspectors must be present to remove [those] seals."

Iran's Mehr News Agency reported that a second and final injection of nuclear fuel would take place on September 5.  At that point, according to Salehi, the plant would reach "50 percent of its electrical generating capacity."  He added that six or seven additional months would be needed for the plant to be fully operational.

German firms first began work on the Bushehr plant in 1974, which came to a stop after Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution.  Russia took over the stalled project in 1994, progressing slowly.

Political and commercial ties between Russia and Iran have soured in recent months amid mutual recriminations.  Russia voted in June, along with the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, to impose fresh sanctions on Tehran for refusing to stop enriching uranium.

Tehran insists that its controversial nuclear program is intended entirely for civilian purposes, pointing specifically to the Bushehr plant.  Western states suspect that Iran's civilian program is masking covert activity to build nuclear weapons.

Iranian-born analyst Alex Vatanka of the Middle East Institute in Washington thinks the Bushehr plant start-up is more of a symbolic victory than a technical achievement.

"One thing that we have to bear in mind when we are talking about the Bushehr plant: It isn't so much the value that the Bushehr plant has in terms of the overall nuclear program that Iran has going on," said Alex Vatanka. "It's just one aspect of a much broader nuclear sector that they are setting up.  But from a diplomatic point of view, particularly in this day and age where Iran is feeling the pressure on the sanctions front.  What they can do, which might be enough for them, in terms of take it and run with it, what they can do is to use this and say, 'gotcha.'  All the talk about putting pressure on us, containing us, limiting our ties to the world, well, they're not working."

Vatanka argues the opening of the Bushehr plant will also be a major victory for the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose opponents have criticized the amount of money that Iran has spent on the Bushehr plant with little to show for it.

You May Like

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid