Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Iran conducts test run of Bushehr Nuclear plant

In addition to bringing the Bushehr plant online, Iran should also
concentrate more of it's military forces in the Bushehr/Kharg Island
region. Considering the outcome of the zionist elections and who is
running things over there now they may use this as an excuse to provoke
an attack. Not only does Iran need this plant as a source of
electricity, but what Iran chooses to do with it's nuclear material is
it's own business, especially in the face of aggression.
Peter Khan Zendran


Iran tests its first nuclear power plant
By NASSER KARIMI, Associated Press Writer Nasser Karimi, Associated
Press Writer
1 hr 22 mins ago

BUSHEHR, Iran – Iranian and Russian technicians are conducting a test
run of Iran's first nuclear power plant, officials said Wednesday, a
major step toward launching full operations at the facility, which has
long raised concerns in the U.S. and its allies over Iran's nuclear
ambitions.

At the same time, Iran claimed another advance in its nuclear program:
The number of centrifuges carrying out uranium enrichment had increased
to 6,000, the country's nuclear chief said — up from 5,000 in November.

His announcement was the latest defiance of United Nations' demands that
Tehran suspend its enrichment program because of fears it could be used
to produce material for a warhead. Iran denies it seeks to build a
nuclear bomb, saying its nuclear program aims only to generate
electricity.

The power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr, built with Russian
help, is meant to be the first in a number of reactors for an energy
program. But the opening of the 1,000-megawatt light-water reactor has
long been delayed by construction and supply glitches. The United States
for a time tried to dissuade Russia from helping the project.

It's unclear when the reactor could be switched on.

The tests, which began 10 days ago, "could take between four and seven
month," the nuclear chief, Vice President Gholam Reza Aghazadeh, told
reporters at Bushehr. It was not known how long after the tests the
reactor could start up.

The plant, which will run on enriched uranium imported from Russia, has
worried the West because the spent fuel could be turned into plutonium,
a potential material for nuclear warheads.

U.S. concerns over the reactor softened after Iran agreed to return
spent fuel to Russia to ensure Tehran does not reprocess it into
plutonium. Washington largely dropped its opposition to the project and
argued instead that the Russia fuel deal shows that Iran does not need
its own domestic uranium enrichment program. Russia's fuel deliveries to
Iran began in 2007.

Enrichment is a concern because while low-enriched uranium is used as
fuel for a reactor, higher-enriched uranium can be used to build a bomb.
In the enrichment process, uranium gas is pumped through a series of
centrifuges and spun at supersonic speeds to remove impurities.

Aghazadeh announced that 6,000 centrifuges were now operating at Iran's
enrichment facility in the town of Natanz. He said Iran hopes to install
over 50,000 centrifuges there over the next five years. "We are doing
what we need to do in Natanz on the basis of a specific time schedule,"
he told a press conference.

Iran says it intends to use the enriched uranium fuel in its first
domestically made nuclear power plant, in the town of Darkhovin, which
it wants to start operating in 2016. Aghazadeh said any delay in
enrichment will mean a delay in opening Darkhovin.

The tests at Bushehr are a computer run of the equipment to ensure there
are no malfunctions in the future when enriched uranium fuel is
introduced into the reactor. No electricity is produced during the
testing.

In the first stage of the test, technicians for the past 10 days have
been loading a "virtual fuel" into the reactor. The virtual fuel
consists of lead, which imitates the density of enriched uranium, said
Iranian nuclear spokesman Mohsen Shirazi.

Once the fuel is fully loaded, "we will check to see how the reactor
will operate," said Russian nuclear agency chief Sergei Kiriyenko, who
was inspecting the process. "This (test) is one of the major elements of
an extensive project," he said.

Kiriyenko said Bushehr witnessed "remarkable progress in recent months"
but that work remains to be done to "speed up the launching of the
site." The Russian-Iranian team was "approaching the final stage" before
the plant becomes operational, he said.

Aghazadeh, who was accompanying Kiriyenko, said the test was going well
and engineers told him they expected no problems.

"Today was one of the most important days for the Iranian nation,"
Aghazadeh said. "We are approaching full exploitation of this plant."

In Israel, Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said, "Iranians are
showing again that they are making progress in their nuclear race."

"This should be understood as very bad news for the whole of the
international community," Palmor said, calling for "immediate and very
determined steps in order to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear
power."

The Bushehr reactor was meant to start up in 2008, and some 700 Iranian
engineers were trained in Russia over four years to operate the plant.

The Bushehr project dates backs to 1974, when Iran's U.S.-backed Shah
Mohammed Reza Pahlavi signed an agreement to build the reactor with the
German company Siemens. The company withdrew from the project after the
1979 Islamic revolution toppled the shah. In 1992, Iran signed an
agreement with Russia to complete the project and work began on it in
1995.

Russia says there is no evidence that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons
and has joined China in weakening Western-backed sanctions in the U.N.
Security Council, arguing that punishing Tehran too harshly for its
nuclear activities would be counterproductive.

The U.N. Security Council has passed three sets of sanctions against
Iran over uranium enrichment and is considering further measures.

____

Associated Press Writer Matti Friedman contributed to this report from
Jerusalem.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The
information contained in the AP News report may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written
authority of The Associated Press.

1 Comments:

Blogger DON'T TREAD ON ME said...

Seems kind of hypocritical for the West to say Iran doesn't need Bushehr because Iran has plenty of oil/gas reserves, as the West has signed several agreements in 2009 to build nuclear power plants in the United Arab Emirates. The U.S. is leading the pack, former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission executive director hired by UAE as a regulatory consultant...

6:56 PM  

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