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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid