TEHRAN, October 5 (Itar-Tass) — Iran’s nuclear power industry will be developing in two spheres: power generation at nuclear power plants and uranium enrichment for peaceful uses of atom in various sectors, in particular – medicine, pharmaceuticals, industry and agriculture, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Channel Two of Iranian television on Wednesday.
“The Bushehr NPP has successfully been connected to the Iranian power grid. We plan to hold a festive ceremony on the occasion of the forthcoming commissioning of the plant. We will invite to it Russian officials, as well as representatives of the neighbouring countries. However, it is so far only 1,000 megawatts (design capacity of the Bushehr power unit). And our plans envisage the creation of 20,000 megawatt nuclear capacities,” the Iranian president noted referring to the government programme for the development of the national atomic power industry designed for 15-20 years.
Ahmadinejad admitted that the construction of Iran’s first nuclear power plant took rather a long time. “At first one European contractor came. Then this contractor left, the work stopped and was not resumed for a long time. After that another contractor took up the project. This should not have happened, but what is done cannot be undone. We hope that this will not happen with the next facilities of the Iranian atomic power industry,” he said.
Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said at the Bushehr NPP launch ceremony on September 12 that the plant will be put into commercial operation only after the required full-scale testing and completion of the start-up programs. According to Iranian sources, this will happen in some three months.
Experience, gained over construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, should be used in future, Shmatko told a news conference earlier while answering a question whether Russia would support Iran in construction of other nuclear energy objects. “The level of cooperation between Russian and Iranian engineers, gained over the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, is our mutual value, and I believe it should be used in future,” he said. “As for other projects, I have to admit that nuclear energy has been going through tough times after the dreadful accident at Fukushima.” “I believe that Russia and Iran have big future in implementation of other projects in nuclear energy, but we should remember that this activity should be synchronised fully, should be integrated into the processes, which happen in the world nowadays regarding nuclear energy,” Shmatko said.
On September 12, co-chairs of the intergovernmental commission Sergei Shmatko and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic Ali Akbar Salehi, as well as Head of Rosatom Russian State Nuclear Corporation Sergei Kiriyenko took part in the ceremony of putting operational the first power unit of the Bushehr NPP, which has been constructed by Russia’s Atomstroiexport. Under the terms of Russia–Iran agreement, approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Russia will be responsible for operating the plant, supplying the nuclear fuel and managing the spent fuel for the next two or three years before passing full control to Iran. Before the plant attains full capacity in November, it will be disconnected from the grid for several weeks to make a number of tests.