Preparations Underway to Build New Nuclear Units

Preparations Underway to Build New Nuclear UnitsPreparations Underway to Build New Nuclear Units

A senior official at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said preparations are underway to start the construction of two new nuclear power plant units in the southern port city of Bushehr, a month after Tehran and Moscow signed an agreement to build the new units.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, who is a spokesperson for the AEOI, told ISNA, "Following the finalization of the contract, preparations have begun and the construction work will commence next (Iranian calendar) year (which starts on March 21, 2015)."

The AEOI and Russia's state-run nuclear corporation Rosatom in November signed the agreement on the construction of the new units.

They also signed a memorandum of understanding, under which Moscow will also cooperate with Tehran on the construction of more nuclear power plants and consider producing nuclear fuel components in Iran.

The projects are part of the government's plan to generate 20,000 megawatts of nuclear power as approved by parliament.  

Meanwhile, Ali Asghar Zarean, a deputy head of the AEOI, said on Monday that in the first phase of the implementation of the parliament's decision, "the plan is to generate 5,000 megawatt of electricity," adding, "Another contract for generating 2,100 of megawatt electricity has been signed."

Iran already runs one Russian-built reactor in the Bushehr power plant which generates 1,000 megawatts of electricity. The plant, whose construction was delayed for years, was officially launched in September 2011.

Zarean made the remarks on the sidelines of a visit by over 50 Iranian envoys and heads of diplomatic missions to the Fordo nuclear enrichment facility, IRNA reported. The Fordo facility is Iran's second enrichment plant which is located near the central city of Qom.  The facility is intended to hold advanced gas centrifuge cascades.  He also said the central topic of the talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) on Tehran's nuclear program "is not the process of enrichment but the amount and size of enrichment."

Iran has already installed about 19,000 at two of its nuclear enrichment facilities in Natanz and Fordo, of which, according to official accounts, about half have not been fed with uranium gas.

Back in December, nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi had said that Tehran had no plan to launch its uranium enrichment machines that are installed but are not operational as long as the talks between Iran and the major powers on a final nuclear deal are underway.

Salehi said Tehran has decided not to feed uranium gas into a series of advanced centrifuge machines it is developing, including IR8, IR6 and IR4, for the duration of the talks, IRNA reported.