President Mohammad Khatami arrived in Dezful, the southwestern province of Khuzestan, on Tuesday morning to inaugurate the hydroelectric power plant over the Karkheh River, IRNA reported.
President Khatami and his accompanying delegation, including Minister of Energy Habibollah Bitaraf and a number of ranking officials, were welcomed by the supreme leader's representative in Khuzestan province and local officials.
Speaking to reporters upon arrival at the airport, Khatami said that during the one-day visit, he is scheduled to meet local people and attend the inaugural ceremony of the water plant.
He also termed as 'very important' the province's role in the country's national economy, adding that the region has a high capacity in fields of oil, gas, water, dam and power plant.
Khatami said that the Karkheh hydroelectric power plant has a production capacity of 400 megawatts, and noted that the Masjed Soleiman hydroelectric power plant would be inaugurated in the near future.
The Karkheh hydroelectric power plant will be the first such plant built in the country after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Meanwhile, Managing Director of Iran's Water Resources and Energy Development Company Ali-Akbar Zahmatkesh said that the Karkheh plant has three production units each with a capacity of 133.3 megawatts, adding that the units bring the total production potential of the plant to 400 megawatts.
Zahmatkesh said Karkheh plant has been established by using an investment of 1.025 trillion rials, stressing the project to construct the whole building of the dam and the plant had cost as much as 3.57 trillion rials.
Zahmatkesh said the project to construct Karkheh plant had been launched in early 1998, and that the first unit of the plant had been inaugurated last September. He added that units 2 and 3 of the plant had come on stream last January and the past June, respectively.
In another development, Zahmatkesh told IRNA on Sunday that the capacity of Iran's hydroelectric power plants would reach 25,000 MWs by 2021, which constitutes around 25 percent of the entire production capacity of the nationwide power plants.
He added that some 4,400 megawatts will be added to the national grid by next March and that the remaining 5,600 megawatts will be produced at an average annual rate of 1,000 megawatts.
Karkheh dam -- Iran's largest dam ever -- is located 20 kilometers northwest of Andimeshk, Khuzestan province, on the Karkheh River. The dam is 3,030 meters long and 127 meters high. It is capable of storing 7.3 billions cubic meters of water in its reservoir to make Iran's largest artificial lake.
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