Bushehr Nuclear Plant

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the Bushehr Nuclear Plant will be launched by the end of 2011, Ria Novosti Russian News Agency reports.

The report adds that Ahmadinejad said in an interview with a Russian television network that there are no financial disagreements over expenses claimed by the Russian contractors and there will be no delays in the plant’s launch.

Earlier, Fereydoon Abbasi, the head of the Iranian Atomic Agency, told the Al-Alam Arabic television network that the first stage of the Bushehr Plant would be complete by the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan (early September) and it will be tested by connecting it to the power grid.

Abbasi said the fact that it has taken so long to bring the power plant into operation indicates “the consideration of high international standards and the Islamic Republic’s sensitivity to this issue.”

The Bushehr Nuclear Plant is Iran’s first atomic power plant. Construction of this facility began 35 years ago and to date it has not reached fruition due to several delays, most notably the 1979 Iranian Revolution, which toppled the Iranian monarchy and established the Islamic Republic.

In recent years, safety concerns have caused other delays, while some experts have said the plant’s systems were infected by the Stuxnet virus, causing even further delays.