MOSCOW, September 13 (Itar-Tass) — On Monday, Iran held a ceremony of commissioning the first power unit of the Bushehr nuclear power plant that was built by Russia’s Atomstroiexport (ASE). The NPP start has ended the first phase of the construction of Iran’s key nuclear power facility. Taking part in the NPP opening ceremony were Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko and head of the Russian State Nuclear Corporation Rosatom Sergei Kiriyenko.
In their speeches Iranian officials reiterated that Tehran’s nuclear ambitions are peaceful and not aimed at creating nuclear weapons, Novye Izvestiya notes. Shmatko, who arrived in Tehran for talks with the Iranian colleagues and participation in the work of the 9th Iranian-Russian joint commission on economic cooperation, promised that Moscow would continue to take part in such projects also in the future. He obviously referred to Tehran’s plans to build a network of nuclear power plants by 2020 with the total capacity of 20,000 megawatts in order to sell more oil and gas overseas.
Before the Obama administration’s coming to power in Washington, Russian-Iranian cooperation on Bushehr had caused an actively negative reaction of the United States that did not hide its apprehensions that Tehran could use the Bushehr reactor to produce weapons-grade nuclear materials, Kommersant recalls. Washington has repeatedly urged Moscow to wind down the Bushehr project. The situation changed after the IAEA that exercises controls over the Bushehr nuclear power plant confirmed its peaceful nature. These assessments have forced Washington to reconsider its position. The problem is not the Bushehr reactor, the problem is nuclear facilities such as Natanz and secret facilities in Qom and other places where we think, nuclear weapons are produced, US Secretary of State Clinton warned.
On the eve of Monday’s ceremony, an important message came from Vienna, where the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency are located, stresses Rossiiskaya Gazeta. “On the night of September 4 the IAEA registered the Bushehr NPP as an operating station,” President of Atomstroiexport Alexander Glukhov told journalists. According to him, by the end of the year the nuclear power unit in Bushehr may attain the design capacity of 1,000 megawatts. In the meantime, it is operated at 40 percent of the nominal load.