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Iran Plans Additional Plants

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran on Sunday announced plans to build two more nuclear power plants despite international pressure to curb its controversial nuclear program.

Ahmad Fayyazbakhsh, the deputy head in charge of power plants at Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, said the plants would be light-water reactors, each with the capacity to generate up to 1,600 megawatts of electricity.

Each plant would cost up to $1.7 billion and take up to 11 years to build, he told reporters in a news conference.

The country has been locked in a dispute with Russia over the funding of Iran's first nuclear power plant outside the southern city of Bushehr.

Russia delayed Bushehr's launch, which had been set for September, and refused to ship uranium fuel for the reactor last month as earlier planned, citing Iran's payment arrears. Iranian officials denied any payment delays under the $1 billion contract, and accused Russia of caving in to Western pressure.

Iran is building a 40-megawatt heavy-water reactor in Arak, central Iran, and is also preparing to build a 360-megawatt nuclear power plant in Darkhovin, in southwestern Iran.

Fayyazbakhsh said the two new plants would be built near Bushehr. He also said he planned to travel to Russia next week to try to ease tensions and get the Bushehr plant back on track.

The bids for the two plants have been published on the nuclear organization's web site.

(The Moscow Times 16.iv.07)

 
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