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Iran: Bushehr nuclear plant operational

May 18, 2011 at 7:22 AM   |   Comments

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TEHRAN, May 18 (UPI) -- Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has announced the "successful" start-up of the Bushehr nuclear plant, saying it has reached the critical phase.

"As we have previously announced, Bushehr power plant has reached the critical stage. It has been successfully launched," the official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Salehi saying.

"(The) Bushehr nuclear facility is one of the safest ones in the world. It has entered the critical phase and in other words it has been started up," the Iranian Student News Agency quoted Salehi as saying.

Addressing the Economic Cooperation Organization in Tehran Tuesday, Salehi said the critical stage when the fissile material is self-sustaining should occur "within the next two months," the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

"This stage lasts for two months. We hope the plant will gain some 40 percent of its power within the next one or two months," Press TV quoted him saying.

Olga Tysleva, a spokesperson for the Russian Atomstroyexport company, which built the plant, said Friday the fuel loading of the reactor at the plant is complete and the reactor is functioning at "the minimum controllable level of power," Press TV said.

In September 2010 Iran disclosed a malicious computer virus called Stuxnet had attacked high-value industrial sites but refused to acknowledge it caused delays at the Bushehr nuclear plant.

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