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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Countdown begins for heart beating of world's exceptional nuclear power plant

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Tehran, Aug 20, IRNA -- On Saturday, the main fuel of Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant will be transferred to a pool located beside the heart of the reactor.

The transfer would mark operation of 163 nuclear fuel facilities at the reactor, which is the beating heart and the most exceptional nuclear facility worldwide.

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi says the main fuel for the power plant is brought out of a storage house outside the reactor compound in presence of the IAEA inspectors and is kept at the fuel pool.

Salehi says that after eight days, fuel will be transferred to heart of the reactor from the pool in case related operations are successfully completed and necessary arrangements are made for the purpose. Within about 10 days, 163 nuclear fuel facilities will start operation, making delivery of 82 tons of initial fuel to the heart of the reactor possible.

Some 82 tons of fresh fuel assemblies for Bushehr nuclear power plant with 1.6 to 3.6 purity was imported in eight consignments to Iran from Russia from December 17, 2007, to January 28, 2008.

Salehi says that once the fuel fully enters heart of the reactor, the power plant will be ready for operation. Of course, certain other groups take entry of the first fuel complex to heart of the reactor as the startup stage. We however, believe that entry of all fuel complexes into heart of the reactor marks the operation point.

Salehi believes that the so-called Iran-style start-up will take place early September. Operation of the power plant reactor, however, does not mean connection of the reactor’s electricity to the nationwide power grid. Rather, reactor will start generating power but it would take about two months to get it connected to the nationwide power grid.

The chief of Russia’s nuclear energy agency, Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko, is scheduled to visit the power plant concurrent with operations for transfer of main fuel to Bushehr reactor.

Germany’s Siemens in 1974 started two operations for construction of two units of the power plant 12 kms south of Bushehr. Salehi says Germans, who had received five billion marks from Iran that year to complete the projects, refused to complete them and abandoned the work immediately after triumph of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

On August 25, 1992, Iran signed a comprehensive deal with Russia for nuclear cooperation. Under the agreement, Russian nuclear agency Atomstroyexport embarked on the project on January 8, 1995.

A look at chronology of the power plant’s construction and comparing it with other nuclear power plants worldwide, it will be revealed that the power plant is the most exceptional nuclear power plant worldwide as the IAEA Chief admits to.

The nuclear power plant is exceptional in many aspects, including its political prestige, its construction based on a blend of the western and eastern technical styles, and its bombardments on several occasions, especially during the eight-year Iraqi imposed war and especially when it was put into operation. The power plant is of special significance for its operation under conditions when the Islamic Republic of Iran has been subject to strongest international sanctions.

Diplomats believe that more than one decade delay in operation of the power plant for political reasons is understandable regarding ongoing global conditions when countries only care their own interests. Russia only followed its own interests worldwide and logically, any country would take some measures to safeguard its own interests.

Russia has made its mind now to put the power plant into operation. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, supporting startup of the power plant, said it will be safe against any arms abuse and would have no application other than electricity generation as all the western leaders are assured of.

Despite Iranian officials’ all-out criticisms of Russia’s approaches over recent months, Salehi has been appreciative of Russians’ contribution to operation of the power plant.

Salehi said that as Russia joined Iran in the industrialization process, it will honorably side it in the nuclear technology domain too.

Once the fueling operations are completed, Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant will reach an irreversible point. It will be subject to all international regulations and protocols, including the IAEA and the UN Security Council resolutions and regulations as well as the final statement of the NPT Review Conference would and any attack on the facility will hence be regarded as an international crime due to its global consequences.

Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei too recently warned against the US’ likely military threats, saying, “It would be unlikely for them to take the foolish action. All should know however that in case of observing such a threat, the Iranian nation’s scene of confrontation will not be restricted to our region, rather it will be in an area wider in scope.”

Besides issuing military threats on the eve of the power plant’s fuel loading, the US has announced that Iran will hence have no need to uranium enrichment. Nuclear specialists and experts, however, believe that about 30 tons of fuel is annually needed to exchange part of the power plant’s fuel. Thus far, only a deal to supply the power plant with fuel for two years has been signed.

Nuclear experts believe that regarding the fact that international developments are not predictable and nuclear fuel sales do not follow a specific formula as well as regarding indefinite global prices of the commodity in the future and annual need of Bushehr nuclear power plant it will be necessary for Tehran to embark on supplying the power plant and the like power plants in the future with fuel so as to not to come across with difficulty.

Diplomats believe that operation of Bushehr facility will bring negotiations internationally into a new phase.


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