Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor 311 Reu.
(photo credit: Raheb Homavandi / Reuters)
A provisional acceptance agreement transferring Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power
plant over to Iranian technicians has been delayed by three months, the Russian
state company contracted to construct the facility confirmed late
Iran has signed an agreement with NIAEP-Atomstroyexport, a
subsidiary of Russia’s state nuclear agency Rosatom, to construct the Bushehr
Vladimir Pavlov, Atomstroyexport’s deputy director responsible for
constructing power plants in Iran and Turkey, told Russia’s RIA Novosti news
agency that the Bushehr nuclear power plant had originally been scheduled to be
transferred to Iranian technicians for operation by late December but will now
take place in late March 2013.
The three-month delay is due to technical
considerations arising from the need to integrate Russian- built components into
the original German-constructed plant, Pavlov said.
After Iran signs the
acceptance agreement, the plant will operate at a rate determined by Iranian
technicians, according to reports in Iran’s state media.
plant predates the Islamic Republic. Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi first began the
project in 1974, when Iran signed a $4-6 billion contract with a German company,
Kraftwerk Union AG, a joint venture between Siemens and AEG Telefunken, which
began construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant a year
However, work stopped on the plant in January 1979 and Kraftwerk
pulled out of the project in July that year, two months after Iranians voted to
become an Islamic Republic.
One reactor was left half-complete and the
other around 85 percent finished.
Iran tried to revive its nuclear
program in 1990, but it was not until 1995 that Tehran signed a contract with
Russia’s Atomic Energy Ministry to complete the work.
In 2011, Iran said
that it had started using 500MW of nucleargenerated electricity from the plant,
around 50% of its nominal capacity. In August, Atomstroyexport announced that
Bushehr’s first power unit had been brought to 100% capacity.
August, Atomstroyexport has continued to test the plant, prior to transferring
it to Iranian technicians.
Atomstroyexport had originally scheduled to
transfer operations of the plant to Iran in December, NIAEP director Valery
Limarenko told Russia’s Interfax news agency earlier this
Limarenko said that after operations of Bushehr plant is
officially transferred to Iran, around 300 Russian nuclear specialists would
remain in Iran to assist their Iranian colleagues to operate the facility.