Russia to start building 2 nuclear reactors in Iran ‘next week’
search

Russia to start building 2 nuclear reactors in Iran ‘next week’

Work to take place at existing Russian-built Bushehr power plant, Moscow state-run TV says

Iran's heavy-water nuclear facility is backdropped by mountains near the central city of Arak, Iran, on January 15, 2011. (AP/ISNA, Hamid Foroutan, File)
Iran's heavy-water nuclear facility is backdropped by mountains near the central city of Arak, Iran, on January 15, 2011. (AP/ISNA, Hamid Foroutan, File)

Russia will begin construction on two nuclear reactors in Iran next week, the spokesman for the Iranian atomic agency said Tuesday.

It comes a year after Tehran signed a contract with Moscow to build two reactors at the existing Russian-built Bushehr power plant in southern Iran.

Work on the two reactors “will commence next week,” the state television website quoted Behrouz Kamalvandi as saying.

A series of agreements signed between the two countries last year foresees eventually increasing the total number of Russian-built reactors in the country to nine.

A worker rides a bicycle in front of the reactor building of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, just outside the southern city of Bushehr, Iran, on October 26, 2010. (AP/Mehr News Agency, Majid Asgaripour, File)
A worker rides a bicycle in front of the reactor building of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, just outside the southern city of Bushehr, Iran, on October 26, 2010. (AP/Mehr News Agency, Majid Asgaripour, File)

The start of construction follows a historic deal between Iran and world powers in July that ends a decade-long standoff over Tehran’s nuclear program.

According to the deal, Iran agreed to dramatically scale back its nuclear program, making it much more difficult for it to develop nuclear weapons. The accord does not however limit Iran’s development of civilian nuclear sites.

Construction of the two reactors will be bankrolled by Iran, Sergei Kiriyenko, head of Russia’s state nuclear company Rosatom, said last year.

Iran plans to build 20 more nuclear plants in the future, including four in Bushehr, to decrease its dependence on oil and gas.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) welcomes Iran's President Hassan Rouhani during the 7th BRICS summit in Ufa on July 9, 2015. (Alexander Nemenov/AFP)
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (R) welcomes Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani during the 7th BRICS summit in Ufa on July 9, 2015. (Alexander Nemenov/AFP)

Russia backed Iran during two years of nuclear negotiations with six world powers. The two countries have recently allied to prop up Syrian President Bashar Assad against opposition and jihadist groups, mainly the Islamic State organization.

Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin eased restrictions on the country’s companies working on Iranian enrichment sites — enabling Russian firms to help modify centrifuges at the Fordo enrichment site and help Tehran redesign its Arak heavy water reactor.

Under the terms of the July deal, Tehran agreed to slash by two-thirds the number of centrifuges, machines that can “enrich” or purify uranium to make it suitable for peaceful uses but also for a nuclear weapon.

Russian companies — as well as those from other nations — are eyeing business opportunities after sanctions on Iran are lifted, expected in the next two months, as the nuclear deal reaches its “implementation” stage.

read more:
less
comments
more