Iran Bushehr nuke plant reloaded, power in July: report

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Iran has finished reloading fuel into its first nuclear power plant in the southern city of Bushehr, with expectations it will start producing electricity in July, local media reported on Tuesday.

The fuel rods were cleaned, reloaded "and final tests are under way," Gholamali Miglinejad, a member of parliament from Bushehr, was quoted as saying in the government newspaper Irandaily.

Iran's Fars News Agency reported that the Bushehr plant should produce electricity "in two months time" when it is connected to national grid.

Russia's Atomstroyexport agency, which oversaw the construction of Bushehr plant's construction, said in early April that the refuelling operation began after the plant had been re-checked and its various pieces "washed through."

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, who previously headed the Islamic republic's atomic body, had at the time said he hoped the Bushehr plant could start operating again "between May 5 and 10."

Engineers began removing the fuel in late February due to an apparent technical fault.

The plant's connection to Iran's electricity grid was initially scheduled for the end of 2010 but this has been postponed several times due to technical problems.

Russia in March blamed the latest delay on internal wear-and-tear at the plant, whose construction had initially started in the 1970s with the help of Germany's Siemens company.

Russia also blamed Iran for forcing its engineers to work with outdated parts in the plant.

© 2011 AFP

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