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12 Sep, 2011 07:15

Nuclear power: Iran inaugurates Bushehr plant

Iran has celebrated the launch of the Bushehr nuclear power plant on Monday. The facility, which was completed with Russia's help, came on line last year and has been connected to the national power grid in early September.

The facility, which was completed with Russia's help, came on line last year.The ceremony is attended by Russian Energy Minister Sergey Shmatko, head of the Rosatom nuclear agency Sergey Kirienko, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, and head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani.Sergey Shmatko praised the efforts in working together, and promised more similar projects in the future.“Together with our Iranian counterparts, we went through difficulties and problems building the Bushehr power plant. And today we can be proud of the results that are drawing the attention of the whole world. I'm sure our further co-operation in operating the station and developing other nuclear energy projects will be distinguished by the atmosphere we created while working together,” he said. Iran expects that the Bushehr power plant will reach its planned capacity in two to three months, Salehi said on Sunday.The construction of the power plant in Bushehr is viewed with suspicion by many nations, who believe that the entire Iranian nuclear program is aimed at creating a nuclear weapon.To alleviate these fears, Russia is providing fuel rods for the plant and will return the spent fuel back for recycling.“The Bushehr power plant project is exemplary in terms of observing non-proliferation regime. Over the whole its lifetime it will be supplied fuel by Russia on the condition of its return,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry stressed on Monday.Tehran says its atomic ambitions are peaceful and have no military agenda.

Ali Fathollah-Nejad, researcher at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London believes the opening of the plant bears special significance because it was brought into operation against the background of political interference from many outside powers.  “We have now a decades-long stand-off between Iran and the West over the Iranian nuclear program,” he told RT.  “The nuclear issue was recently hyped for political reasons, in order to be able to gain support to put pressure on Iran for achieving other political ends. So, I think the nuclear issue is still being hyped, but it loses much credibility against the evidence that we have.”Fathollah-Nejad also stressed that the sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program are more of a geo-political and geo-economic nature.“If you cannot control or influence a country, you might go for isolation and weakening of the country. And the best way to do that is through economic sanctions. This is rational of sanctions,” he stated.