Bushehr Nuclear Plant

Iran plans to build more nuclear reactors, Iranian MP Hossein Amiri told the Khaneh Mellat website.

"Although the cost of building an atomic power plant in the preliminary stages is more than building a fossil fuel power plant, its benefits in the long run will make it more cost efficient," Amiri said. "Therefore, Iran has made plans to construct new atomic power plants for our net benefit."

Amiri added that the high cost of the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant does not accurately reflect the cost effectiveness of conventional nuclear plants. “This power plant was built under very particular and complicated conditions which made the cost of its construction several times more than building an ordinary atomic power plant," he said.

Construction of the Bushehr Power Plant began 35 years ago, and it has yet to go into operation.

Construction began during the reign of Iran’s last monarch, Mohammadreza Shah Pahlavi, who was ousted in the 1979 Iranian Revolution. The German engineering firm Siemens opted out of the project when Iran was drawn into an eight-year war with Iraq.

In 1997, a Russian company picked up the Bushehr contract, but numerous delays have kept the power plant from being hooked up to the power grid.

The latest delays was reportedly caused by the Stuxnet computer virus infiltrating the plant’s systems. Some reports suggest the U.S. and Israel jointly developed the virus with the specific aim of disrupting Iranian industry.

Iranian authorities, however, have said Stuxnet was not responsible for the latest launch delay.

While Iran’s foreign minister and the head of Parliament’s National Security Commission have announced that the plant will soon be launched, several Iranian MPs have criticized the delays, with some declaring that it would have been cheaper to build a power plant from scratch, rather than pushing ahead with the Bushehr project.