Iran, Russia in talks on new Bushehr nuclear plant

Western powers suspect Iran's uranium enrichment may be aimed at developing nuclear weapons, a claim Tehran denies.

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Iran and Russia are in talks to build another nuclear plant at Bushehr, with construction set to begin in 2014, media Sunday reported nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi as saying.

"With the progress made in the Geneva talks, next year we will see the start of construction on another nuclear power plant in Bushehr," said Salehi of the landmark deal clinched with world powers on Tehran’s disputed nuclear drive.

He did not elaborate on the new plant’s power capacity, but Iran has planned to build 1,000-megawatt plants.

“We are negotiating with the Russians to produce 4,000 megawatts of electricity, and they have expressed their readiness to build,” added Salehi, according to the website of state broadcaster IRIB.

He said that in the next phase, Iran sought to produce 5,000 megawatts in electricity output from nuclear power.

Iran’s sole Bushehr nuclear power plant, which produces 1,000 megawatts, came into service in 2011 after several delays blamed on technical problems.

In September this year, Iranian engineers took complete control of the Bushehr facility.

Iran has said it aims to produce 20,000 megawatts of electricity from nuclear power, which would necessitate building 20 such reactors.

Western powers and Israel suspect that the Islamic republic’s nuclear program masks a covert weapons drive, a charge Tehran denies, saying it is entirely for peaceful purposes.

Under the interim Geneva agreement, Iran agreed to roll back some parts of its nuclear program in exchange for partial easing of punitive sanctions choking its economy.

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