Iran is planning to construct two new nuclear power plants in the near future, the Fars News Agency quoted a senior Iranian nuclear official as saying Saturday.
“The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) has put construction of the second and third (nuclear) power stations on its agenda due to the government’s programs and the emphasis laid by the President (Hassan Rouhani),” Fars quoted AEOI Deputy Chief Hossein Khalfi as saying. Iran currently has one such operational nuclear power plant at Bushehr.
The announcement came as Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers were negotiating a deal in Geneva that would see Tehran curb its controversial nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Iranian officials said in April that they planned to build more nuclear reactors at the Bushehr site, which is located in a highly seismic area on Iran’s Gulf coast and began operations in 2011 after decades of delays.
The Bushehr site is capable of holding six power reactors and Tehran has identified 16 sites elsewhere in the country suitable for other atomic plants.
The Russian-built plant is estimated to cost some $11 billion over four decades, making it one of the world’s most expensive plants.
Khalfi was quoted as saying Saturday that the Bushehr plant would prevent the flow of seven million tons of various types of pollutants, which are dangerous to the environment, into the air.
The Bushehr reactor is not suspected of serving a military function, however Iran’s Gulf neighbors have expressed safety concerns over the plant’s location in an area prone to earthquakes.