Russia has agreed to help Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) build two 1GW nuclear power plants, while a third, with a capacity of 1.4GW, has already begun.
The announcement was made this week by Hamid Chitchian, Iran’s energy minister.
"The contract has been signed between the AEOI and Russia, and includes building two 1GW nuclear power plants, the construction of which is about to start," he said, reports China’s state-run news agency Xinhua.
The 1.4GW plant is under way in Hormozgan province, across the Persian Gulf from the UAE.
In February, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Moscow was willing to finalise energy contracts with Iran. Iran is planning a large construction programme of power plants and Russia may receive a significant share in building contracts, Novak said.
Russian nuclear power provider Rosatom agreed to help build two reactors in Iran in 2014, with a further six to follow in the future if both sides agreed. Russia will also provide nuclear fuel for the reactors for the entirety of their service life, and will reprocess the spent fuel in Russia.
Russia has already helped Iran to build a plant at Bushehr. This 1GW reactor, which became fully operational in 2013, was the first civilian nuclear power plant built in the Middle East.
In January last year, Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the AEOI, announced that Iran and China were to go ahead with a deal agreed in July 2015 to build two 1GW nuclear power plants on Iran’s southeast coast near the port city of Chabahar, close to Iran’s border with Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Hungary says it is preparing to cooperate with Iran to design and build a small nuclear reactor for sale to poorer countries in Africa and Asia.
Image: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani with Ali Akbar Salehi in front of the Bushehr Nuclear Plant (Hossein Heidarpour)