The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran has started building two new nuclear power plants in the Southern province of Bushehr, AEOI Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi announced on Monday.
“We have entered the executive phase of the construction of these two nuclear power plants based on the contract signed between Tehran and Moscow in March to construct the plants,” Kamalvandi said today.
He noted that his recent visit to Russia was also aimed at finalizing the legal, trade and technical aspects of the same agreements with Rosatom.
“We believe that we can sign a relevant protocol and memos as well as its various side contracts in the next few months, and start the construction phase during this (Iranian) year,” he said.
In March, Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation and the AEOI reached an agreement to construct at least two more nuclear power plants in Bushehr.
According to Kamalvandi, the agreement is part of a 1992 deal between the two countries on further nuclear cooperation.
Under the agreement, the new facilities will be built next to the first unit of the Bushehr nuclear power plant and each will have the capacity to produce at least 1,000 megawatts of electricity, Kamalvandi said, adding that the deal also includes the construction of two desalination units.
In September, AEOI Chief Ali Akbar Salehi said that Tehran would sign a contract with Russia in the near future to build two new nuclear power plants in Bushehr.
“At present the AEOI deputy chief is negotiating in Moscow and the contract between Iran and Russia for building new power plants will be inked before the meeting between Mr. (Vladimir) Putin (the Russian president) and Mr. (Hassan) Rouhani (the Iranian president) which will be held within the next one month,” Salehi said on the sidelines of a ceremony to inaugurate Bushehr nuclear power plant’s desalination unit.
He said that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had also pursued the negotiations in Moscow.
“We consider Russia a highly important neighbor and we hope that based on the words of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution (Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei), powerful Russia beside independent Iran can be important allies for each other,” Salehi said.
In earlier remarks in June, Kamalvandi had announced that the two power plants to be built by Russia would be built beside the country’s current nuclear power plant in Bushehr.
Kamalvandi also dismissed alleged concerns voiced by certain regional states about the safety of Iran’s nuclear power plant construction, and said, “Many regional countries either have already started or have plans to build similar facilities, including the UAE which has 4 nuclear power plants under-construction, Saudi Arabia which has earlier announced willingness to build nuclear power plants and Turkey which has plans for construction of 8 nuclear power plants, “and this shows the region’s need to this type of energy”.
Salehi has on different occasions announced that Iran is ready to continue its mutual cooperation with Russia in peaceful nuclear energy.
On February 3, Salehi said that Iran is in talks with Russia on the construction of new nuclear power plants to produce 4,000 megawatts of electricity.
On January 16, Zarif said he had exchanged views with senior Russian officials on the construction of new nuclear power plants in Iran during his visit to Moscow.
The Islamic Republic signed the Bushehr contract with Russia in 1995 and the nuclear power plant reached its full capacity by August 2012. It is located about 18 kilometers South of the provincial capital.