Iran’s sole n-power plant becomes operational

May 19th, 2011 - 1:03 am ICT by IANS  

Tehran, May 18 (IANS) The Iranian government announced Wednesday that the country’s sole nuclear power plant has become operational, Xinhua quoted Press TV as saying.

“As we have previously announced, Bushehr power plant has reached the criticality stage (and) it has been successfully launched,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi told reporters.

The fission process, or criticality, allows the atoms to split by themselves in a chain reaction without intervention by operators.

“This stage lasts for two months. We hope the plant will gain some 40 percent of its power within the next one to two months,” Salehi told reporters.

The minister said the most modern technologies have been used in the construction of the plant and that it is amongst one of the safest nuclear power plants in the world, the report added.

“We assure the (Iranian) nation that safety has the final say in Bushehr power plant,” he added.

In February, upon Russia’s request, the Iranian side temporarily removed the fuel from the reactor core to conduct a number of tests and carry out technical work.

Construction of the Bushehr plant was started in 1975 by several German companies. However, work halted when the US imposed an embargo on hi-tech supplies to Iran after the 1979 revolution.

Russia signed a contract with Iran to complete the construction in 1998.

Completion of the plant’s construction was postponed several times by mounting technical and financial challenges and pressure from the US.

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