Iranian nuclear officials announced Wednesday the Islamic Republic had successfully tested the turbine of the reactor at the Bushehr nuclear power plant.
"Yesterday, tests of the turbine of the reactor of the Bushehr nuclear power plant have been successfully carried out at 3000 revolutions," Iran's Atomic Energy Organization head Fereidoon Abbasi told reporters.
Abbasi mentioned the reactor has reached 400 megawatts of power generation capacity now, adding preparations are underway to start the final pre-launch phase of the plant.
The Bushehr plant would be completed "on schedule," Abbasi claimed, but an ongoing tiff between Russia and Iran over price-overruns and delays underscores the reality that Iran is already twelve years behind schedule.
Iran had announced that its first nuclear power plant will be joined to the national power grid by the end of August.
"We hope that the Bushehr power plant would become operational by the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan (late August)," Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast said earlier this year.
Mehman-Parast added construction phase of the plant "has almost completed and it is currently in the testing stage".
Iran signed a deal with Russia in 1995, according to which the plant was originally scheduled for completion in 1999. However, the project was repeatedly delayed by the Russian side due to the intense pressure exerted on Moscow by the United States and its western allies. Russia finally completed construction of the plant last summer.
The west suspects Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons - a suspicion based on the International Atomic Energy Agency's complaints Iran has impeded inspections of its nuclear facilities and reports Iran has sought nuclear technology unique to an "implosion device," which is an atomic bomb more sophisticated than the ones the US dropped on Hirishima and Nagasaki at the end of WWII.
On October 26, Iran started injecting fuel into the core of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in the initial phase of launching the nuclear reactor.