Yuriy Humber and Ladane Nasseri
Aug 21, 2010
Iran, under United Nations sanctions for its nuclear program, said it ended a 36-year quest to join the club of atomic-powered nations when Russia’s Rosatom Corp. switched on a reactor along the Persian Gulf coast.
The start of the 1,000-megawatt power reactor near the southern city of Bushehr, makes Iran the first country in the Middle East with a nuclear-energy facility, freeing more of its fossil fuels for export. Iran also becomes only the second Muslim state after Pakistan to have nuclear power, with ambitions to build enough plants to generate 20,000 megawatts within 20 years.
Iran began loading the Bushehr plant with nuclear fuel, the state-run news channel Press TV said, showing images of Iranian and Russian nuclear officials inside the plant.
“I’d like to thank our friend Russia and its people for helping us build this station,” Iranian Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi, who also heads the country’s Atomic Energy Organization, told reporters today before the opening ceremony.