Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Iran's nuclear plant begins work

On Sunday 8th May, Iran's first nuclear power plant started work after months of preparations. The plant, located in the Southern city of Blusher, has begun operating on "minimum controllable level of power". It is expected to start generating electricity after about two weeks, and will join the national gird in the next several months.

In 1995, Iran penned a deal with Russia's Atomstroiexport Company which stipulated that all works should be completed by 1999; however, the project was continually delayed by Russia due to pressure from the US over Iran's nuclear programme. Construction was finally competed in 2010.

In October, Iran began injecting fuel into the power plant in the initial phase of launching the nuclear reactor while also carrying out special security measures to ensure safety. In March, after a safety scare Iran then started reloading fuel into the core of the reactor and said it would begin operating sometime in early May.

The safety of the plant was confirmed by Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Fereidoon Abbasi, and also in March by the Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Nuclear Safety and Security Department Olena Mykolaichuk who said: "We realized that Iran's safety system responsible for inspecting Iranian nuclear facilities and installations acts very well and is strong."

Sources: BBC News, Fars News Agency, AP

For more news and expert analysis about Iran, please see Iran Strategic Focus.

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