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Iran to pre-commission nuclear plant

Source: Press TV

A spokesman for Iran's nuclear program says the country's first nuclear power plant will begin preliminary phase operation on Wednesday.

Mohsen Delaviz, the Atomic Energy Organization (AEO) spokesman, said Sunday that the "pre-commission" of the plant is scheduled for Wednesday when the head of Russia's state Rosatom Atomic Corporation, Sergey Kiriyenko, plans to visit the country.

Moscow has helped Iran construct a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plant in the southern city of Bushehr over the past decade.

The construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant was started in 1975 by German companies. However, German firms abandoned work after the imposition of a US embargo on high technology supplies to Iran, RIA Novosti reported.

Russia signed a contract with Iran to finish work on the plant in February 1998.

Delaviz did not elaborate what exactly the pre-commissioning would involve but said it was an important step toward its launch.

The launch of the Bushehr plant has been delayed several times due to what Russian ambassador to Tehran Alexander Sadovnikov described as "sanctions imposed by Western powers" against Iran.

Tehran says the only aim of its nuclear program is the civilian applications of the technology. The US, Israel and their European allies -- Britain, France and Germany -- accuse the country of pursuing military purposes.

A UN nuclear watchdog expert said Friday that Iran was not producing weapons-grade uranium.

The UN body, through "21 unannounced inspections" at Iranian nuclear sites, has found that the country has only managed to enrich uranium-235 to a level "less than 5 percent," suitable for use in power plants.

Iranian technicians, meanwhile, are currently designing the country's second nuclear plant in Darkhovin, located in the southern province of Khuzestan.

... Payvand News - 02/22/09 ... --

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