Russia to Build 2 More Nuclear Plants in Iran

Russia to Build 2 More Nuclear Plants in IranRussia to Build 2 More Nuclear Plants in Iran

Iran will start the construction of two nuclear power plants this month in cooperation with Russia, which would further strengthen Tehran-Moscow nuclear ties over the next decade, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said in an interview.

"The new units will be built in Bushehr Province in cooperation with Russia at an estimated cost of $10 billion," Ali Akbar Salehi was also quoted as saying by Shana in a televised interview late on Wednesday. The nuclear units are slated to go under construction in a groundbreaking ceremony on September 10 which will be attended by Salehi, First Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri and Sergey Kiriyenko, the head of Russia's State Atomic Energy Corporation, known as Rosatom.

According to Salehi, it will take 10 years to build the second and third phases of nuclear power plants that would curb domestic oil consumption by 22 million barrels per year once they become fully operational.

Russia has been at the forefront of Iran's nuclear power industry in over 20 years. It took over the construction of Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant from Germans in 1995 and commissioned the plant in September 2011 on the back of technical hurdles as well as international restrictions.

The plant reportedly reached full production capacity in 2012. In April 2016, the unit was finally handed over to Iran, officially completing its construction stage. Tehran and Moscow signed an agreement in 2014 to build two more units in Bushehr with an option to extend the number of nuclear plants to six. Rosatom said last month that Bushehr nuclear plant's second and third units are scheduled for launch in October 2024 and April 2026 respectively.

  Nuclear Power Demand

Officials say that in 20 years, around 6% to 15% of Iran's demand for electric power will be provided by nuclear plants.

The country's installed power production capacity is close to 75,000 MW, with more than 80% of output coming from thermal plants. Salehi noted that tapping into domestic potential is stipulated in the contract with Russia.

According to assessments, Iran's industry will contribute to the construction of 30% of the project. Iran's nuclear chief also said "special credits will be allocated to the Iranian nuclear industry over the next 10 years" in view of the country's energy, industrial, agriculture and healthcare requirements.

"Iran is also in the preliminary stages of building a "nuclear hospital" in Tehran at a cost of €300 million ($335 million)," he said.

The hospital is reportedly a special treatment center that will offer advanced radiotherapy services.