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Iran takes over control of Bushehr nuclear power plant

09-24-2013 03:00 BJT

TEHRAN, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Iran took over control of Bushehr nuclear power plant from Russia on Monday, the state-run IRIB TV reported.

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali-Akbar Salehi, Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian and the Russian contractor signed an agreement to put Iranian engineers in charge of the 1, 000-megawatt power plant at a ceremony held at Bushehr plant in southern Iran.

Salehi said Monday that during the first two-year period, the Russian engineers will provide support to the Iranian technicians and two years later the plant will be completely handed over to the Iranians.

Construction of the Bushehr plant was started in 1975 by several German companies. However, the work was halted when the United States imposed an embargo on hi-tech supplies to Iran after the 1979 revolution. Russia signed a contract with Iran to complete the construction in 1998.

The power station became officially operational and was connected to Iran's national grid in September 2011, generating electricity at 40 percent capacity. The plant reached its maximum power generation capacity in August 2012.

Salehi said the Iranian neighbors do not need to be concerned about the safety of the plant.

Iran wants nuclear energy technology for peaceful purposes and Iran's leader has emphasized this point, he said.

On Monday, Press TV reported that Iran and Russia have agreed to build a new nuclear power plant by developing Bushehr nuclear complex.

He expressed hope that the construction of the second unit of the Bushehr nuclear power plant would get underway in the near future.

Earlier in September, Russian Ambassador to Iran Levan Dzhagaryan said that Moscow was ready to increase its nuclear cooperation with Tehran after the Islamic republic takes over control of the Bushehr nuclear power plant.

According to the Iranian official, the capacity of the second unit of the nuclear power plant will add another 4,000 megawatts to the current 1,000-megawatt capacity.

On Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that " fortunately, the trend of cooperation between Iran and Russia over the past decades has witnessed a rising motion and the Bushehr nuclear power plant can serve as a symbol for further bolstering of interaction," according to the IRIB TV.

Iran is the forerunner of possessing nuclear power plant in the Islamic world and its Bushehr power plant is "an example of peaceful use" of nuclear technology, he added.

Western states have been long accusing Iran of developing nuclear weapon under cover of civilian nuclear program, but Iran says the suspicion is baseless and fabricated.

On Monday, Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign policy chief, said that Iran and the P5+1 (namely, Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States plus Germany), will hold a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly this week to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue.

The announcement followed her meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the UN headquarters on Monday. She called her meeting with Zarif as "good and constructive."

Both Iran's new government and the world powers have shown interest of resuming nuclear talks after the last round of negotiations, which were held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in April ended without tangible results.

Rouhani, who left for New York on Monday to attend the UN General Assembly, said that under his administration Iran will " interact constructively" and "seriously" with the world, in particular with the West, and will be "more transparent" over its nuclear activities.


Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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