MOSCOW, April 9 (RIA Novosti) - Iran plans to build a new 360-MW nuclear power plant in the south of the country, Naser Shariflou, a former manager of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, said on Tuesday, according to the IRNA news agency.
The plant, in the Darkhoein region, is “at the design stage,” he said, adding the necessary equipment for it will be manufactured at home.
Iran celebrates National Nuclear Technology Day on Tuesday.
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered the launch of the Shahid Rezaeinejad yellowcake production plant and Saghand uranium mines in Ardakan on Tuesday, as well as the country’s first Rhodotron accelerator in the city of Taft, the ISNA news agency reported.
The uranium extracted from the Saghand mines in Yazd will be processed into yellowcake at the Shahid Rezaeinejad complex, which has a capacity of 60 tons of yellowcake a year.
Fereydoun Abassi Davani, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said on Tuesday the operation of the Bushehr nuclear power plant will be officially handed over to Iran before the end of April, IRNA reported.
Construction at Bushehr by West Germany's Kraftwerk Union AG began in the 1970's, but was plagued by delays. German involvement ceased in 1980 due to concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions and the change of regime in the country. Russia signed a billion-dollar deal with Tehran to complete the plant's Power Unit 1 in 1995, according to Atomstroyexport.
The plant's launch in August 2010 prompted Israel and other nations to express fear that the reactor could help Iran create an atomic bomb. Tehran has denied the allegations, saying the facility will be used for peaceful power generation only.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said in February Tehran expected to start work on a second reactor at the Bushehr nuclear power plant, with a capacity of up to 5,000 megawatts, in cooperation with Russia.
Last summer Russian nuclear corporation Rosatom head Sergei Kiriyenko denied Russia was negotiating with Iran over joint construction of a second reactor at Bushehr.
Western powers say Iran is attempting to build an atomic weapon, but Tehran insists its program has entirely peaceful purposes and has decried international pressure as unacceptable interference in its sovereign affairs.
Talks last week in Kazakhstan between six major powers and Iran over its nuclear program foundered over the issue of Iran's insistence on its right to enrich uranium.