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Iran brought the MENA region’s first nuclear power plant fully on-line last week after a troubled development. While Iran faces increasing problems in advancing its other nuclear projects, another four MENA nuclear programs are taking shape.
The 1.0gw capacity nuclear power plant at Bushehr in Iran reached full generating capacity on 1 September, bringing to a conclusion a frequently-delayed development program that began in the 1970s. Originally-planned by Germany’s Siemens, it was halted by the 1979 revolution. Construction work was only restarted in 2001, when Russian contractor Atommash laid new foundations (MEES, 8 October 2001).
Announcing full capacity operations on state TV on 1 September, Iranian Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) deputy head Mohammad Ahmadian said: “Last October the Bushehr nuclear power plant was connected to the country’s national grid for the first time (MEES, 17 October 2011). The output of the power plant has been gradually increased up to 50% and then 75% of full capacity and tests have been carried out at every stage to check the safety of the output of the plant. During this time, about 1.25 gigawatt-hours of electricity have been generated and transferred to the grid. In continuation of this process, on 30 August the power plant’s reactor for the first time reached its full capacity. This morning, also for the first time, the plant’s generated electricity passed 1gw.”
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