Iran preparing to load fuel into Bushehr reactor core

TEHRAN, Sept. 11 (MNA) -- Iran announced on Friday that nuclear fuel will be loaded into the core of the Bushehr reactor at the beginning of the Iranian calendar month of Mehr (begins on September 23).

Afterwards, the Bushehr nuclear power plant will begin operations, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Director Ali Akbar Salehi told the Mehr News Agency.

Salehi also said the nuclear plant will be able to produce electricity in the Iranian calendar month of Azar (November 22 to December 21).

The Bushehr nuclear power plant was launched on August 21 when engineers loaded the first of 163 fuel rods into the reactor under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Salehi and Rosatom (Russian State Nuclear Energy Corporation) Chief Executive Officer Sergei Kiriyenko attended the opening ceremony of the plant.

The plant, which is located near the port of Bushehr on the coast of the Persian Gulf, will produce 1000 megawatts of electricity once all the fuel rods are loaded into the core of the reactor.

The Bushehr reactor may save Iran 11 million barrels of crude oil or 1.8 billion cubic meters of gas per year, the London-based World Nuclear Association said in a report.

The plant will also put Iran at least a decade ahead of more prosperous Middle Eastern neighbors such as the United Arab Emirates, which plans to build four nuclear plants by 2020.


News Code 41811

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