Iran wants Bushehr Operating 50 Percent of Capacity by Next Summer

December 31, 2007

The Bushehr nuclear power station will operate 50 percent of its capacity even in summer of 2008, said on Sunday Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. "Half of the station's capacity will be put into operation next summer," the Iranian foreign minister told reporters. "Following the delivery of fuel by Russia, which will be made in eight stages, conditions will be created for its loading (into the reactor) and for putting the station into operation," he added.

The first batch of Russian nuclear fuel was brought to the construction site of the Bushehr station from Novosibirsk on December 16.

Tehran hailed this event, stressing that these deliveries will precondition "deeper strategic relations between Iran and Russia", but warned that they would not tell on its intention to enrich uranium independently.

Earlier, Iranian representatives called various dates for commissioning the Bushehr nuclear power station. For instance in mid- December, head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation Mohammad Saidi expressed opinion that the station would start operating in three months, generating 100-200 megawatts of power and will start operating at designed capacity in one year's time.

However, president of the Russian Atomstroiexport Company (general contractor of the station's construction) Sergei Shmatko, commenting on these statements, emphasized that the Bushehr power station would not be put into operation earlier than late in 2008.