The Bushehr plant
Photo: Reuters
Iran: Bushehr nuclear plant fueled
Tehran's Press TV says 163 fuel rods placed in plant's reactor. Facility expected to begin generating electricity in early 2011

Iran has begun injecting uranium fuel rods into the core of Bushehr's nuclear power plant, the Islamic Republic's Press TV reported Tuesday.


Some 163 fuel rods are being loaded into the core, and once the process is finished, it will be rendered fully operational. Tehran said it expected the plant to begin generating electricity in early 2011.


The Bushehr nuclear facility operates under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.


The construction of the Bushehr plant started in 1975 when Germany signed a contract with Iran. Germany, however, pulled out of the project following the 1979 Islamic Revolution.


Iran then signed a deal with Russia in 1995, under which the plant was originally scheduled to be completed in 1999, but completion of the project was repeatedly delayed. The nuclear power plant was finally finished with the help of Russia following a three-decade delay.


The reactor was launched in August amid a standoff with the United States and its allies over allegations that the Islamic Republic is following a military nuclear program.


Iran also started loading fuel into the Bushehr nuclear plant on Tuesday.


Iran says the Russian-built, 1,000-mw nuclear plant will start producing energy in early 2011 after years of delays and that its launch shows the West is wrong to accuse it of seeking to develop atomic bombs.


Rueters contributed to this report.



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