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Iran nuclear plant gets official launch

By the CNN Wire Staff
Iran's Bushehr plant is expected to produce 1,000 megawatts of electricity when fully operational.
Iran's Bushehr plant is expected to produce 1,000 megawatts of electricity when fully operational.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bushehr is the first civilian nuclear power plant operating in the Middle East
  • It was connected to the grid September 3
  • An IAEA report cites increasing concerns Iran may be developing nuclear weapons
  • Bushehr is a civilian plant, not a nuclear one
RELATED TOPICS
  • Iran
  • Nuclear Energy

Tehran, Iran (CNN) -- Iran plans a ceremony to launch a controversial nuclear power plant Monday, the country's government-backed Press TV reported, making it the first nation in the Middle East to put a civilian nuclear power plant online.

The Bushehr nuclear plant was connected to the national energy grid on September 3, the country's Atomic Energy Organization announced the following day.

Iran's Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, said Sunday that Iran was committed to nuclear non-proliferation and international atomic energy standards, Press TV reported.

Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko, whose country helped build Bushehr and who appeared with Salehi, said the plant was built to international standards and under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency, according to Press TV.

Days before the plant was connected to the grid, the IAEA cited increasing concerns that Iran may be developing nuclear weapons.

The United Nations nuclear watchdog said in a report that Iran continues to defy U.N. resolutions aimed at curbing its nuclear program.

Iran denies that it aims to build nuclear weapons.

The Bushehr plant -- which is civilian, not military -- joined the national grid with a capacity of 60 megawatts, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said on its website September 4.

The plant is expected to produce 1,000 megawatts of electricity when fully operational, about 2.5 percent of Iran's current electricity consumption, according to the IAEA.

Iran began the Bushehr plant in 1975, before the revolution that created the current Islamic republic.

The IAEA lists no other nuclear plants under construction in the region, though several other Middle Eastern countries have taken steps toward nuclear power.

Journalist Shirzad Bozorgmehr contributed to this report.

 
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