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Sept. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Iran’s first nuclear power plant, Bushehr, has been connected to the country’s national power grid, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said, according to state-run Press TV.
The 1,000-megawatt Russian-built plant joined the national electricity network with a capacity of about 60 megawatts at 11:29 p.m. local time yesterday, Iran’s nuclear body said, according to a report today on the news network’s website.
The Bushehr power plant will reach 40 percent of its capacity at a ceremony to be held on Sept. 12, Press TV said. Tests will be carried out in coming days to ensure the plant’s coordination with the national grid, Iran’s state television said in a separate report on its website.
Electricity generation at Bushehr, which Iranian officials had estimated would start before September 2009, has been repeatedly delayed because of technical glitches and a dispute over Iran’s nuclear activities.
The Persian Gulf country is under international sanctions over its nuclear program, which the U.S. and the European Union say may be a cover for the development of atomic weapons. Iran rejects the allegation, saying it needs nuclear power for its growing population.
Russian and Iranian officials held a ceremony to mark the opening of Bushehr on Aug. 21, 2010, and Iran began loading fuel into the reactor in October, a process that it said ended about a month later. In February, Iran said it was removing fuel rods following Russia’s request for tests to be performed on the plant.
Iranian officials acknowledged last year that Bushehr’s computer systems and its centrifuges for enriching uranium had been affected by malicious computer software, though they denied this was the reason behind technical setbacks at the plant. Symantec Corp., the world’s largest maker of computer-security software, said in a Nov. 12 study that the so-called worm, Stuxnet, may have been created to sabotage Iran’s nuclear installations.
--Editors: Tim Farrand, Bruce Stanley
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