Iran is playing up plans for expanding its nuclear power capacity, despite problems with both its Bushehr power plant and its controversial uranium upgrading program. The 1GW Bushehr plant has been offline since February for repairs to the turbine generator (MEES, 1 March). While Russian firms are repairing the generator ahead of final commissioning of the plant, Tehran is keen to begin work on two new 1GW units at Bushehr.

Russian state atomic energy firm Rosatom has held preliminary talks with Tehran over new projects, but negotiations will not begin until Bushehr is fully operational and under the control of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI). This is expected by the end of 2013. Meanwhile, Iran’s recently elected (relatively) moderate President Hassan Rohani has appointed former foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi to head the AEOI, which the international community hopes signals a more open approach from Tehran over the nuclear program. (CONTINUED - 567 WORDS)