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Sunday, September 11, 2016, 15:44

Iran starts construction of 2nd nuclear plant

By Xinhua
Iran starts construction of 2nd nuclear plant
In this photo released by official website of the office of the Iranian Senior Vice-President on Sept 10, 2016, Ayatollah Gholam Ali Safaei Bushehri, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's representative in Bushehr province, center bottom, breaks ground in a ceremony to begin building Iran's second nuclear power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr, Iran. (Iranian Senior Vice-President's Office via AP)

TEHRAN - Iran on Saturday began the construction of a nuclear power plant, with Russian help, in the southern port city of Bushehr, official IRNA news agency reported.

The new power plant is part of a plan to develop Iran's first commercial nuclear reactor Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, the report said.

"We are opening a new page in the trend of our peaceful industrial nuclear activities," Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said at a ceremony attended by senior Iranian and Russian officials, according to local Press TV.

He added that the project will be carried out within the framework of the Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency and in line with the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Iran's First Vice President Is'haq Jahangiri and head of Russia' s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation Sergey Vladilenovich Kiriyenko attended the ceremony.

"Meeting energy needs is the prelude to economic development," said Jahangiri, adding that efforts must be made toward preservation of fossil fuels for the next generations.

Jahangiri said that the construction of the new plant is the fruit of the nuclear agreement clinched between Iran and the world powers last year, semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

Iran once again reiterates its commitment to the nuclear deal, known as JCPOA, and expects the implementation of obligations vis- a-vis the deal by the other side, which would facilitate the transfer of nuclear technology to the country, he said.

Iran is determined to use peaceful nuclear energy in medicine, agriculture, industry and electricity, he added.

On Sept 1, Salehi said Iran and Russia had agreed to build two nuclear power plants in Bushehr.

The construction, with an estimated cost of US$10 billion, would be completed in 10 years, he said.

By building these two power plants, Iran would save 22 million barrels of oil per year, Salehi added.

However, he did not detail the specifications of the two projects.

According to IRNA, the construction of the other power plant will be launched in 2018.

On Saturday, Salehi said that the construction of the new power plants will help the country prevent the emission of 14 million tons of greenhouse gas each year, Tasnim news agency reported.

The plants will also be equipped with water desalination facilities to produce 200 million cubic meters of fresh water per annum, Salehi was quoted as saying.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Kiriyenko following the ceremony on Saturday, Salehi described nuclear industry as the epitome of "strategic cooperation" between Tehran and Moscow, saying that Iran and Russia have developed cooperation on the production of stable isotopes as part of joint nuclear activities,  according to Tasnim.

The cooperation with Russia is Iran's top priority, he said. "Fortunately, the trade relations between Iran and Russia has witnessed a 70 percent growth in the current year, and we seek to preserve existing ties since the relationship between Iran and Russia is a strategic and growing one."

Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant was first constructed in 1975 by German companies. However, the work was halted when the United States imposed an embargo on high-tech supplies to Iran after its 1979 revolution, in which the US-backed monarch was overthrown. Russia signed a contract with Iran in 1998 to complete the construction.

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