Entries in Bushehr Nuclear Plant (2)


Iran Officially Opens Nation's First Nuclear Power Plant

IIPA via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Iran celebrated the official opening of the nation's first nuclear power plant Monday, a worrisome milestone for Western critics of the Iranian nuclear program.

Iranian and Russian officials came together in a ceremony for the formal launch of the long-delayed facility, the first nuclear plant in the Middle East, in the southern port city of Bushehr on Monday, Iranian state news said. The plant has been under construction by a Russian company for nearly two decades.

"The launch of Iran's first nuclear plant is a demonstration of self-belief and perseverance to defend sovereignty," Iran's Atomic Energy Organization chief Fereydounn Abbasi said, according to a report by Iran Press TV.

Abbasi said that the facility is currently running at 40 percent of its capacity and won't reach full capacity – 1,000 megawatts – until December.

Though the U.S. has publicly supported Iran's quest for a peaceful nuclear power program at Bushehr, some U.S. officials have said the civilian program could be used as a cover for a nuclear weapons program at other sites.

State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the official opening of the Bushehr plant was still "troubling" since Iran is now the only country in the world with an operating nuclear reactor that has not ratified the international Convention on Nuclear Safety.

The head of the International Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, said at the start of a five-day U.N. meeting that the organization is "increasingly concerned" about Iran's nuclear program and that Iran was still not providing the agency "necessary cooperation" with its nuclear program.

Iran has maintained its nuclear ambitions are limited to strictly peaceful power plants.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Iran Begins Injecting Fuel into First Nuclear Reactor

Photo Courtesy - Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images(BUSHEHR, Iran) -- Iran began injecting fuel into its first nuclear reactor Tuesday, according to the country's state-run Press TV.  The fuel rods are being transferred into the core of the Bushehr nuclear plant located in the southern city of Bushehr.  Once all 163 fuel rods are in place, the plant will become operational.

The fuel is coming from Russia, who has been helping Iran build the power plant since the 1995, when both countries signed a deal.  The plant was originally scheduled for completion in 1999, but a series of delays postponed the project three decades after construction began on it in 1975.

The reactor will be used exclusively for power generation.  Iranian officials predict it will be fully functional by early 2011.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio