Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:57PM
File photo shows Iran’s nuclear power plant in the southern city of Bushehr.

File photo shows Iran’s nuclear power plant in the southern city of Bushehr.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi says Russia is Tehran’s first choice to participate in the construction of Iran’s second nuclear power plant. “The Russian Federation is the first priority for the construction of the new nuclear power plant in Iran,” Salehi told reporters in Moscow on Tuesday. “Under a 1992 Iran-Russia agreement, we have agreed to build nuclear power plants with a capacity of up to 5,000 megawatts in cooperation with Russia,” he said. Salehi noted that the country’s current facility in Bushehr produces up to 1,000 megawatts of electricity, which leaves the country with 4,000 megawatts of nuclear-derived electricity to be generated by new power plants. The minister noted that the Islamic Republic eyes to achieve a capacity of 20,000 megawatts before long. Salehi also hailed the mutual understanding between Tehran and Moscow for the implementation of the 1992 agreement on cooperation in peaceful use of nuclear energy, expressing hope that the two sides would soon start the construction of the second unit of the Bushehr power plant. The Bushehr plant was originally scheduled for completion in 1999. However, the project was repeatedly delayed by the Russian side due to intense pressure exerted on Moscow by the United States and its Western allies. In September 2011, the Bushehr nuclear power plant officially began its operations, generating electricity at 40 percent of its capacity. The plant, which is operating under the full supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency, reached its maximum power generation capacity for the first time on August 30, 2012. Iran and Russia have assured the international community that the plant is fully compliant with high-level safety standards and IAEA safeguards. MRS/SS
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