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2nd Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant Enters New Development Phase

Moscow has been at the forefront of Iran’s nuclear power industry in the past two decades
Russian-built Bushehr 1 was connected to the national grid in 2011.Russian-built Bushehr 1 was connected to the national grid in 2011.

The second Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant entered a new development phase on Tuesday, as works began on digging the foundation for the plant's reactor close to Iran's first and only nuclear power station.

According to IRNA, operational works went underway in a ceremony attended by Alexey Likhachev, chief executive of Russia's state nuclear agency Rosatom, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Mahmoud Jafari, the plant's project manager as well as members of Majlis Energy Commission.

Pointing to the first foundation stone laid in September last year for unit 2 of the plant, Jafari said, "The Water-Water Energetic Reactor-1000 unit will be built with Generation III+ technology, including the latest safety features, and has a capacity of generating 1,057 megawatts of electric power in addition to 3,012 MW of thermal power."

According to the official, AtomStroyExport—a Rosatom subsidiary and the general contractor for the Bushehr project—and Nuclear Power Production and Development Company of Iran signed an EPC turnkey contract for the construction of the units at Bushehr in Nov. 2014.

"Construction and installation work formally started on March at the site of unit 2," he said, noting that concrete casting operation will begin in September 2019 and the whole unit will go on stream in 2025.

Highlighting that ASE and  NPPD signed a protocol on the start of work on the project to build units 2 and 3, known as Bushehr II, Jafari added that operations to construct unit 3 will start in the near future and based on the terms of the contract, it has been planned to finish by 2027.

Reportedly, Russian-built Bushehr 1 was connected to the national grid on 3 September 2011 and became the first nuclear power plant in the Middle East.

"The power station has generated 25 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity since its launch that is equivalent to 11 million barrels of crude to produce the same volume of energy," Salehi said.

According to Likhachev, a technologically competent team of Russian and Iranian specialists had been formed for the first phase of the Bushehr project, which had been able to quickly navigate complex technical issues and contingencies.

"The high potential of Iranian specialists will be actively involved in the construction of 20% of Bushehr II," Likhachev added, noting that the new unit that will be built to a high standard and according to schedule is a potent symbol of collaboration between Tehran and Moscow.

Last September, ASE Director Valery Limarenko said Rosatom is keen on the "wide use" of Iranian-made materials and would therefore invite Iranian manufacturing companies to compete to work on the project via contract tenders.

Rosatom has said previously Bushehr II is expected to cost about $10 billion to build and that the physical startups of units 2 and 3 are planned for October 2024 and April 2026, respectively.

Moscow has been at the forefront of Iran's nuclear power industry in the past two decades. It took over the construction of Bushehr Power Plant, Iran's only nuclear reactor with a production capacity of 1,000 MW, from the Germans in 1995. The plant was commissioned in September 2011 on the back of long and extended technical hurdles as well as international restrictions.

Russia is expanding its footprint in Iran's nuclear energy against a backdrop of growing bilateral political and economic cooperation.

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