Russia's state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom says it is ready to help Iran build another power generating unit at the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran.
Rosatom's deputy head, Nikolay Spassky said Moscow will offer Iran support on the project “if this is not prohibited, if this brings benefit and if we get a calculated project.”
The UN Security Council has permitted the expansion, so there is “nothing new in raising the issue of Russia's possible role in the construction… preliminary consultations on the issue are underway,” added Spassky.
Iran's atomic chief Fereidoon Abbasi Davani said earlier this week that the country plans to start building a second power plant with a capacity of 1,000 MW by 2014. Davani said foreign contractors would be needed for the construction.
Meanwhile, the full capacity launch of Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, the first in the country, may be postponed from May to June, RIA Novosti news agency quoted a source in Russia's civilian nuclear power corporation Rosatom as saying. “An approval from the Iranian party to launch the plant at 100 per cent capacity has not yet been received,” the source added.
Earlier, Atomstroyexport, Bushehr's Russian contractor and an engineering company of Rosatom, said the plant would be operational by the end of 2012. According to the contractor, Bushehr successfully reached 90 per cent of its nominal capacity in routine trials in early May.
The construction of Bushehr has taken more than three decades. Russia signed a contract with Iran in February 1998 to complete the plant, first began by German companies back in 1975. According to the contract terms approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Moscow will operate the plant, supply its fuel and take away all the spent fuel for the next two or three years, but will eventually hand over full control to Tehran.
The country hopes to generate 20,000 MW of nuclear-powered electricity in the next decade, according to a parliament bill.
Iran’s nuclear program faces strong opposition from the US, which alleges that the country is pursuing atomic weapons, while Tehran insists its activities are intended solely for peaceful purposes.