Iran begins work on second reactor at Bushehr plant

Nov. 10 (UPI) — Iran officially started construction Sunday on a second nuclear reactor at its Bushehr power plant site.

Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said when fully operational in 2027, the plant will generate 3,000 megawatts of nuclear energy, saving about $600 million in power cost annually.

Officials said the second reactor will add 1,000 megawatts to the plant.

Loading of fuel into the first reactor core, with help from Russia, was finished in November 2010, according to the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

“The Bushehr power plant enjoys full safety and security, and the Armed Forces have ensured its security,” Salehi said. “Its safety is monitored by international organizations, which constantly check the power plant’s safety issues and make the necessary recommendations to us.”

Salehi added that plant will also provide local residents with 200,000 to 400,000 cubic meters of potable water in the future.

Officials noted the Nuclear Power Production and Development Company of Iran and Russian officials signed two contracts to work on parts of the second and possible third units at the plant back in 2014, but Iranians will do the vast majority of the work.

Iran has been increasing its nuclear activities since the United States last year walked away from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, signed under President Barack Obama in 2015. The Trump administration since has been adding economic sanctions again Iran in an effort to force them back to the bargaining table.

The remaining countries in the deal — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — had sought to keep Iran compliant despite the U.S.’s departure.