Bushehr Power Plant

A parliamentary committee says the Islamic Republic would probably have been better off building a new nuclear power plant from scratch, instead of constantly trying to finish construction of the decades-old Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant.

The committee, which has been investigating the delay in putting the plant into operation, determined that opting for a new plant would likely have been more efficient and economically feasible.

The construction of the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant began before the 1979 Iranian Revolution by Germany’s Siemens. The project was halted by the Revolution but a decade later it was handed to Russian contractors for completion.

Mehr News Agency reports that Mohammad Hassan Ghafourifard, head of the parliamentary committee, criticized the repeated delays in the launch of the plant.

Bushehr Power Plant was supposed to join the power grid over six months ago, but in March, the fuel was removed from the reactor due to technical difficulties.

Ghafourifard said: “We could have begun a new contract with China or Russia, and that would certainly have helped the project move forward much faster.”

He noted that the plant was 85-percent completed before the Revolution. “Now 15 years has elapsed since we first signed a contract with the Russians, and during this time we have seen ten years of delays.”

Atomstroyexport, the Russian contractors building Bushehr Power Plant, announced on April 8 that re-fueling of the nuclear plant is once more underway. The head of the plant confirmed that all necessary inspections have been carried out to complete satisfaction, and the plant is ready for the fuel to be transferred into the heart of the reactor.

Fuel was first injected into the heart of the Bushehr reactor last September but was removed after a month due to safety concerns.