Iran launches construction of new nuclear power plant

Iran begins construction of new nuclear power plant


Iran has started construction of a new nuclear power plant in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency (OIEA) announced on Saturday.  

The project, the launch of which was announced on state television by the head of this agency Mohammad Eslami, should last seven years.

The 300 megawatt power station, erected in the Darkhovin district, will cost between 1.5 and 2 billion dollars, Eslami added.

Iran also operates a nuclear power plant in Bushehr, in the far south of the country, with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts.

Originally, the Dharkovin plant “should have been built by a French company” which backtracked on “its commitments” after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, according to the head of the organization for atomic energy.

“Then other countries avoided cooperate with the Islamic Republic of Iran because of the sanctions,” Eslami continued.

As part of a historic agreement reached in 2015, Iran agreed to freeze its uranium enrichment activities at Fordo, an underground plant located 180 kilometers south of Tehran.

Tehran undertook to limit the enrichment threshold to 3.67% within the framework of this agreement concluded by Iran on the one hand, and by the United States, China, France, the United Kingdom, Russia and Germany on the other.

The pact (JCPOA) offered Iran relief from international sanctions in exchange for guarantees that Tehran would not acquire atomic weapons, a goal that the Islamic Republic has always denied pursuing.

However , after the US withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018 under President Donald Trump and the reinstatement of US sanctions that are stifling its economy, Tehran has gradually freed itself from its obligations.

Iran has thus initiated in January 2021 the process intended to produce 20% enriched uranium in the Fordo plant. Then in April 2021, it announced that it had started producing 60% enriched uranium at Natanz, approaching the 90% needed to produce an atomic bomb.

Last month, Tehran announced that it had started producing 60% enriched uranium at Fordo, another breach of its commitments.

Negotiations to revive the 2015 agreement began in April 2021, but have stalled in recent months, after renewed tensions between Iran and the major powers participating in the agreement.