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TEHRAN, January 19. /TASS/. Iran plans to commission the second power unit of the Bushehr nuclear power plant within the next eight years, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Ali Akbar Salehi told the Tasnim News Agency on Monday.
Apart from that, he said, the third unit of the Bushehr nuclear plant will be built within two years after hooking up the second unit to the national power grid. In his words, Iran has set a goal of generating 20,000 megawatts of electricity from the use of nuclear energy. So far, Iran’s only nuclear plant in the southern port city of Bushehr is capable of generating 1,000 megawatts of electricity.
Tasnim said Iran is planning to build more nuclear plants in the Bushehr province, along the Gulf coastline. Speaking to journalists on the occasion of the Clean Air Day marked in Iran on Monday, Ali Akbar Salehi stressed that nuclear plants play an important role in preventing air pollution in the country’s big cities.
The Bushehr first unit was put into operation in 2011. This was one of the most difficult projects in the history because the construction started in 1974 and ended in 1980.
Twelve years later Russia and Iran agreed to resume the activities. It took 14 years to build the plant.
The Bushehr nuclear power has never been targeted by any international sanctions. The plant is being built under the control of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). In compliance with the supplements to the 1992 agreement, Iran was obliged to return spent nuclear fuel back to Russia.
Iran sits astride several major fault lines and is prone to frequent earthquakes, some of which have been devastating.
On April 9, a 6.1-magnitude quake rocked the south of Iran, with an epicenter around 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Bushehr.
Western concerns also include Iranian engineers’ abilitiy to run a power plant constructed of components from three different sources — German, Russian and domestic.