Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor_150.
(photo credit: Reuters)
TEHRAN - Iran's first nuclear power plant will be connected to the national grid at full capacity in the coming weeks, the head of the country's Atomic Energy Organization was quoted as saying by Iranian media on Sunday.
The Russian-built Bushehr plant is part of Iran's nuclear program which Western countries believe is an attempt to develop the technology needed to build nuclear weapons.
Iran maintains the program is purely for energy and medical requirements.
Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani told the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) the plant had generated 700 megawatts from early February and will produce electricity at its full capacity of 1,000 megawatts early in the Iranian new year, which begins on March 21.
"Nuclear power with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts will be linked to the national power grid early next year," Abbasi-Davani said. "In order to realize that capacity, there will be various tests conducted at 75 percent capacity."
The plant was built by Russian contractors after the Iranian and Russian government signed an agreement in 1995. It was due to be completed several years ago but the plans were beset by technological and financial problems, as well as political pressure from the United States.