Iran to begin operation of 1st nuclear power plant on Wednesday

Iran's first nuclear power plant will begin preliminary phase operation on Wednesday after a series of delays, the country's official news agency said. The Sunday report by the IRNA agency said "pilot stage operation" of the power plant would start on Wednesday during a visit by the head of Russia's state Rosatom Atomic Corporation, Sergey Kiriyenko. The long-awaited 1,000-MW power plant, which was built in the city of Bushehr with the help from Russia under a $1 billion contract, was expected to become operational in fall of 2008. Some 700 Iranian engineers were trained in Russia to operate the plant. Tehran also plans to build a 360-megawatt nuclear power plant in Darkhovin, in the southwestern Khuzestan province.