Iran announced Monday that its Bushehr nuclear power plant is up and running after months of delays and malfunctions.
The state-run FNA news agency said Iranian and Russian scientists finished loading fuel into the reactor and that “nuclear fuel consumption has started in the power plant, meaning that it is now running actively.”
According to FNA, the facility operates “under the full supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The plant, located on the Iranian coast, is less than 100 kilometers from Saudi Arabia across the Persian Gulf.
It is expected to run for two weeks before it begins to generate electricity and will be hooked up to the national grid within two months.
Iran signed a deal with Russia in1995 for construction of the plant, which was originally set for completion by 1999. However, there were numerous delays, which Iran blamed on Russia “due to the intense pressure exerted on Moscow by the United States and its Western allies.”
Although scientists began loading fuel into the reactor last October, they were forced to remove it this past February, citing “safety reasons.”
Officials said Monday they were pleased with the cooperation of the Russian scientists who had helped build the facility, and that it was constructed to the “highest safety levels possible.” They added that the kind of problems that struck the Fukushima plant in Japan after the recent earthquake and tsunami would not occur at Bushehr.