Iran begins concrete pour for second Bushehr nuclear reactor

Iran held a ceremony on Sunday to mark the first concrete pour for its second reactor at the Bushehr nuclear power station. The event was attended by Ali Akbar Salehi, president of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI), and Alexey Likhachev, director general of Rosatom, Russian’s state-owned nuclear developer.

Bushehr unit two, which is due to be completed in October 2024, is being built on a turnkey basis by Rosatom subsidiary AtomStroyExport. It will be fitted with a VVER-1000 reactor, Rosatom’s flagship generation III-plus pressurised water reactor, which has an output of 1,057MW. A third unit is scheduled for completion in April 2026.

Rosatom previously built Bushehr unit one, the first nuclear power unit in the Middle East, which was completed in September 2011.

Ali Akbar Salehi speaking at the ceremony (AEOI)

Salehi said at the ceremony that the project was ahead of schedule. He said: "When these projects are finished, we will have 3,000MW of nuclear plant-generated electricity." He added: "Nuclear power provides reliable electricity … and each power plant saves us 11 million barrels of oil or $660m a year."

Likhachev commented: "I am sure that this largest Russian-Iranian project is the symbol of our cooperation for our generation and the generation of our children. Bushehr 1 has already generated 25 billion kWh of electricity and this is a serious contribution to the economy of Iran which gives an opportunity to channel additional funds to development of both the social sphere and industry of the country."

Iran and Russia agreed the Bushehr reactors in November 2014, and work started in December 2016. The AEOI said that so far, more than 3 million cubic metres had been excavated for the reactor’s foundations, and 3,000 tons of Iranian-built rebar has been installed.

The cost of the project, which has been put at about $10bn, is being met by Iran.

Top image: Work under way at Bushehr (AEOI)

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