Iran’s nuclear chief announces the nuclear plant project is proceeding “in an excellent manner” despite Iran’s economic crisis and a small budget for the power plant.
By World Israel News Staff
Iran’s nuclear chief has announced the launch of construction of two new nuclear power plants, according to the Iranian Fars news agency.
Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the country’s atomic energy organization, reportedly said that the power plants were being built in the Bushehr area in southern Iran. There already is a power plant there, and the current project apparently involves two new units to expand the current facility.
“Everything is moving ahead in an excellent manner. I was in Bushehr two or three days ago and the Bushehr 2 and Bushehr 3 power plants are being constructed,” Salehi told reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Monday, according to Fars.
He reportedly added that the infrastructure for the power plants has already been set up and that thousands of tons of concrete and cement have been used, with a larger amount of concrete to be injected within the next few months.
Iran’s first Russian-built nuclear power plant in Bushehr started operating in 2011 and reached full capacity the following year, according to reports.
The project for Bushehr-2 was presented by Russian nuclear experts in Tehran in September 2014.
Senior officials in Iran’s atomic energy organization have complained of the “minimal” budget allocated to the Bushehr nuclear power plant, according to the U.S.-funded Radio Farda broadcaster. The head and deputy head of the organization have both criticized the government, saying the budget allocated to the plant is so low that it endangers the future of the nuclear reactor, according to the report.
Salehi is quoted as saying at an industrial seminar that “the electricity produced at the Bushehr reactor is bought for $40 million, while the annual budget needed for running the plant is $120 million,” warning that “there is a deficit of $80 million for which we don’t know how to compensate.”
Iranian leaders have acknowledged that the country is currently suffering from a serious economic crisis. New U.S. economic sanctions reportedly have cut Iran’s oil exports in half, taking away significant amounts of hard currency needed for government operations.