Iran to assume control of Bushehr nuclear plant

The Islamic Republic’s only power-producing facility was operated by Russians; handover ceremony scheduled for Monday

Iran is set to assume control of its Bushehr civilian nuclear reactor on Monday. The plant, built by Russia, has been operated by Russian technicians in an agreement sanctioned by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“The 1,000-megawatt Bushehr nuclear power station will be handed over to Iran” Monday, Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, told the official IRNA news agency, according to AFP’s translation. “But for another two years, it will be under Russian guarantee and a number of Russian experts will remain in place to give advice and technical assistance.”

Construction of the Bushehr plant, on the coast of the Persian Gulf, was initiated by German companies in the 1970s, but work was halted as the Islamic Revolution swept Iran. In 1995, Russia agreed to complete the construction of the facility in a deal estimated to be worth $1 billion.

Russia and Iran signed an agreement in 2005 making Moscow the sole supplier of nuclear fuel for the site, and requiring spent fuel to be returned to Russia. After a series of delays, Russia sent the first delivery of fuel in December 2007. The plant became fully operational in early 2011, and started supplying electricity to the national grid in September of that year.

In August 2012, it was announced that the plant was finally operating at full capacity.

In June 2013, two IAEA diplomats leaked information that Bushehr had been damaged in a series of earthquakes, claiming that long cracks were apparent in at least one section of the structure.

Full article: Iran to assume control of Bushehr nuclear plant (The Times of Israel)

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