Iran's first nuclear power plant to launch Aug 21: Russia
Iran's first nuclear power plant, being built by Russia in the southern city of Bushehr, will formally launch next week, a spokesman for the Russian atomic agency told AFP on Friday.
"The fuel will be charged in the reactor on August 21. From this moment, Bushehr will be considered a nuclear installation," Rosatom spokesman Sergei Novikov said.
"This can be considered as the physical launch," he added.
Officials said the launch would be marked at a ceremony in Bushehr including the head of Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko.
Russia has been helping Iran build the plant since the mid-90s but its involvement has been marred by a series of delays and the issue is hugely delicate amid the standoff over Iran's nuclear programme.
Relations between Moscow and Tehran have cooled over the last months as Russia toughened its line on the Iranian nuclear drive but Prime Minister Vladimir Putin confirmed the plant would start up this summer.
© 2010 AFP