Iran’s Nuclear Power Plant Start Set for August

Posted June 27th, 2011 at 11:45 am (UTC-5)
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Russian officials say Iran's Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant will likely be providing electricity by August.

Russian news agencies quoting Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Monday say tests are nearly complete on the Islamic Republic's first nuclear power-generating facility.

Iran started loading fuel rods into the 1,000-megawatt reactor last August, but the process encountered several delays, pushing back by months its scheduled November start-up.

Western nations accuse Iran of pursuing nuclear technology in order to make nuclear weapons – a charge Tehran denies.

While Western officials do not see the Bushehr power plant as a threat, they worry any progress in Iran's nuclear program could help Tehran get closer to becoming a nuclear-armed power.

Work to build the reactor began in the 1970s by a German company during the reign of the deposed late Shah.

Iran and Russia have bickered often over the $1 billion deal to build the plant, with Tehran accusing Moscow of causing delays to appease Western concerns.