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Iran to Take Control of Bushehr Nuclear Plant on Sept. 24

RIA Novosti, PUBLISHED September 14, 2013

Irans nuclear chief confirmed on Friday that operational control of the Bushehr nuclear plant would be handed over from Russia to Iran on September 24, the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency reported.

That does not mean that, after the transfer, Russian specialists will leave the facility, said Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. The Russian specialists will remain at the station throughout its warranty period, he added.

Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov earlier said Bushehr would be handed over to Iran on September 24, stressing that Russian nuclear collaboration with Tehran strictly complied with the UN Security Councils sanctions related limitations on Irans nuclear program.

Construction of the power plant began in the 1970s but has been plagued by delays. Russia signed a billion-dollar deal with Tehran to complete the plant in 1998.

The plant's launch in August 2010 prompted Israel and other nations to express fears that Iran could use the reactor to create an atomic bomb. Tehran has denied the allegations, saying the facility is for power generation only.

The plant was connected to Iran's power grid in September 2011 and began operating at full capacity on August 31, 2012, as the Unit 1 reactor was brought to 100 percent capacity.

In July, Irans president said preliminary talks for Russia to help build a new Iranian nuclear power plant had been completed, and the project just needed Russian President Vladimir Putins approval to go ahead.

In April, the former Iranian manager of the Bushehr plant said Iran planned to build a new 360-megawatt nuclear plant in the countrys south. In February, Irans foreign minister said Tehran expected to start joint work with Russia on a second power unit at Bushehr.

Topics: NPP, Asia, Iran, NPP Bushehr

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