Iran is so close to integrating its first nuclear power plant into the grid.
Located on the coast of the Persian Gulf, near the Iranian port Bushehr, construction on the plant began in 1975, initiated by German companies.
Since then, the construction has faced countless delays, the first occurring in 1979 when the U.S. placed an embargo on hi-tech supplies to Iran.
In 1998, however, work sparked back up again when Russia showed interest and signed a contract with the Iranian government to complete the plant, reports Xinhua News.
Again, delays and pauses occurred for all sorts of reasons: financial issues, supply problems, and sanctions from nations fearing the worst from nuclear technology in Iran.
Now, however, the plant is nearing completion. Testing is close to finished, and the plant is heading into pre-operation stages.
Initially, officials hoped to have the plant in its first phase by the end of August, a phase that included a trial run and a connection to the national grid.
At full capacity, the plant will generate 1000 megawatts of electricity and supply 40% of the nation’s power to the grid.
But at the beginning of this month officials announced yet another delay, the details of which were not provided.
Iranian officials did, however, claim that Russia was partly to blame.
Lawmaker Asgar Jalalian told Reuters:
“One of reasons for continued payment to the Russians is that our contract with them does not have a financial ceiling and lacks clear timing on contract termination.”
This comes less than a year after the last delay.
In October of last year, operators began injecting fuel into the plant in anticipation of beginning its operation.
But in February, Russian officials urged them to remove the fuel out of fear that it had been contaminated by metal particles from the equipment used in the initial construction in the ‘70s, reported Reuters.
Although these delays have set it back once again, Fereydoun Abbasi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), announced that he still hopes the inauguration can occur in mid-November or December.
The reactor, Reuters reports, is worth an estimated $1 billion, and the nation hopes that it will show peaceful intentions with its nuclear program.
According to the contract, Russia will supply the enriched uranium and remove the waste fuel that could otherwise be used for plutonium.
The plant is still on track for its late 2011 inauguration, which would draw Russian and Iranian officials.
That’s all for now,