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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid