Iran said on Saturday that the nuclear reactor in Bushehr will be activated on September 16 despite Russia's announcement that it will be launched next week.
In an interview with Iranian state television Iranian atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi said, "The necessary steps were taken, and equipment installed in Busheher and fuel for the device are ready to be transferred into the reactor." Salehi added that the Russia's Nuclear Energy State Corporation chief Sergei Kiriyenko will arrive in Iran on Friday and will visit the Bushehr reactor the following day.
The completion of the Bushehr reactor has been postponed several times in the last 10 years. Construction began in 1975 by German companies including Siemens, however the project was suspended in 1980 due to the Iran-Iraq War.
German companies abandoned the project after a US-imposed boycott leaving room for Russia to step in, in 1994. Four years later Moscow signed a $1 billion deal with Tehran for the completion of the reactor. According to the original plan the reactor should have been ready by the end of 2006 but repeated delays prevented work from being finished, including Russian diplomatic pressure on Iran.
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