Russia Signs Agreement To Build Up To Eight Reactors In Iran

Posted by NucNet on 11 November 2014 in NucNet

Plans & Construction

Russia and Iran have today signed an agreement for the construction of up to eight new nuclear reactor units in Iran, the country’s official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) said.

IRNA said the head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI), Ali Akbar Salehi, had signed the agreement in Moscow with Sergei Kiriyenko, director- general of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom.

Rosatom said the agreement provides for the immediate construction of two new VVER reactors at the existing Bushehr nuclear site, with the possibility of two more units to follow. It also allows for four “similar units” at another site in Iran, although that site has not been named.

Russia will produce nuclear fuel for the plants during their whole service life. Spent nuclear fuel will be returned to Russia for reprocessing and storage, Rosatom said.

Russia said it will arrange for the training of Iranian specialists in nuclear plant operation, engineering support, regulation and radiation safety.

The two countries will also look at the “expediency and feasibility” of fabricating fuel rod components in Iran, which will be used at the planned units.

AEOI spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi was quoted as saying construction of the first two new Iranian reactors is expected to start “by the end of 2014” and take between five to seven years to complete.

The agreement is for the first two units to be built next to the existing Bushehr-1 reactor, a Russian-supplied VVER V-446 pressurised water reactor unit, which began commercial operation in September 2013. The agreement also includes the construction of two desalination plants.

Russia and Iran reached an agreement in principle on the first two units in March 2014.

The Bushehr site, in the southwest of Iran on the Persian Gulf, has room for four reactors.

Russia’s Atomstroyexport, a Rosatom subsidiary, was the general contractor for Bushehr-1. Work at the site was started in 1974 by the German company Kraftwerk Union AG (KWU), but was suspended in 1980 when the German government joined the US embargo on equipment supplies to Iran.

According to Atomstroyexport the Bushehr-1 project essentially used Russian- built nuclear island components and equipment and a Russian-built turbine, but with changes to buildings such as the reactor hall and turbine hall, which were designed and built by KWU.