Iran will launch its first nuclear power plant next week, its atomic chief stated on Friday after years of delays to the project built by Russia in the southern city of Bushehr. "We are preparing to transfer the fuel inside the plant next week... Then we will need seven to eight days to transfer it to the reactor," said the Iranian atomic energy chief, Ali Akbar Salehi.
"On August 21, the fuel will be transferred inside the building in which the engine" of the Bushehr power station is located, Iran's Fars news agency quoted him as saying. "On the whole, there are 165 fuel bars," he said, adding the reactor would start operating around mid-September.
According to AFP, Salehi's comments came soon after Russian atomic agency Rosatom said the Bushehr plant would launch in a formal ceremony on August 21. "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.