Berlin: The joint Iran-Russia nuclear power plant in the Gulf port of Bushehr in southern Iran will be inaugurated in late September, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Monday.
ILNA news agency quoted him as saying that that all tests and necessary arrangements were currently underway and the plant would be opened in one and a half months.
The spokesman added that the “real fuel” would reach the plant within months after the opening and the complex would then start its operation at “maximum level”.
The tests of the 1,000-megawatt light-water reactor have so far been carried out using “virtual fuel” as Bushehr’s nuclear fuel remains under International Atomic Energy Agency seals.
The Russians have several times delayed the completion of the plant for various reasons, including political considerations.
Russia has constantly rejected Iran’s criticism over the delay and said that the plant was not an ordinary project because Russia came into the project after the plant was first started by a German firm in the mid-1970s and so first had to adapt it to Russian technology.
Iran has received 87 tons of low-enriched uranium from Russia for the plant, sufficient to run it for about three years.
Despite concern in the West over Iran’s nuclear programme, the light-water project in Bushehr is tolerated due to Russia’s involvement and guarantees that nuclear fuel for the plant will be delivered from, and the nuclear waste returned to, Russia.
Iran says that its nuclear projects are just for civilian purposes while the West is concerned that Iran is clandestinely pursuing a nuclear weapons programme.