Iran’s First Power Plant to Be Operational by March 2008

A001821213.jpgTEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iranian energy minister said his country’s first nuclear power plant will be functional within three months, contradicting earlier claims by Russian company constructing plant that it won’t be operational before end of 2008.

The Iranian nuclear plant in Bushehr will be operational within three months and could begin supplying electricity to Iran’s power grid by summertime, the CNN news network quoted Iranian Energy Minister Parviz Fattah as saying Sunday.

This statement contradicts an earlier statement released last week by the Russian company that is constructing the plant, according to which the plant will not be operational before the end of 2008.

“I can say with certainty that the plant won’t be launched before late 2008,” Sergei Shmatko, the head of the Atomstroiexport company building the nuclear plant in the southern port of Bushehr, said.

Last Monday Russia made its first shipment of nuclear fuel to the Bushehr plant, paving the way for the long-delayed startup of the 1,000-megawatt light-water reactor.

The Iranian minister told journalists Saturday that the nuclear power plant will become operational on March 21, 2008. The plant will deliver 500 megawatts of electricity to the power grid by summer and 1,000 megawatts by March 2009.

Meanwhile, spokesperson for the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Kazem Jalali told reporters Sunday that his country would soon publish tenders for the construction of 19 nuclear power plants.

Jalali said that each of the plants would be able to deliver 1,000 megawatts of electricity.

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