Iranian engineers will control the Bushehr nuclear power plant from the end of this year, while Russian support will remain in place for three further years.
The new pressurized water reactor reached 100% power six days ago. This milestone normally comes shortly before the status of commercial operation is announced, at which time a reactor vendor passes control to the customer utility. According to Rosatom, the parent company of AtomStroyExport (ASE) that built the plant, this is planned for 'the end of December' at Bushehr.
However, the training of Iranian staff to take complete operational control is not yet sufficient, said ASE. It is now finalizing the details of an agreement to remain at the plant in support of Iranian workers for three subsequent years.
At the time of reaching full power, ASE's Igor Mezenin said that the Bushehr plant is of a unique design: "Our nuclear industry has managed to integrate Russian technology into equipment built by the Germans, incorporating about 12,000 tonnes of German equipment. Much work was done to assess the condition and suitability of the German equipment, buildings and structures." He added, "The designers had to develop and implement a number of original ideas and technical know-how in order to adapt the Russian technology to the existing facilities at the site."
Nuclear fuel for the reactor - including uranium mining, enrichment and fuel fabrication - is provided by Russia, where it will return after use. The power plant operates under the full safeguards regime implemented by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News