Iran starts work on two new nuclear reactors as it comes in from the cold

Construction began on two new nuclear reactors in Iran on Saturday, the first such project since the country returned from the diplomatic wilderness last year. Iranian and Russian officials held a soil-breaking ceremony for the power generators which will have a total capacity of more than 1,000 megawatts after their completion. They are being built at the same site as Iran’s current sole nuclear plant, in the southern port city of Bushehr. The project, which is expected to take a decade to complete, could cost as much as $10bn.

When these two units become operational, 11 million barrels of oil will be saved per year and emission of seven million tonnes of greenhouse gas will be avoided

Project manager Mahmoud Jafari

Iran reached a deal with Russia, the US, Britain, France, Germany and China last July in which saw international sanctions on the country lifted after it agreed to curb its nuclear programme. It is trying to reduce its reliance on oil and gas, with officials claiming the two new reactors will reduce the Islamic republic’s oil usage by 11 million barrels. Western nations do not view the plant as a security risk as Russia supplies fuel for the reactor and removes the spent material that could otherwise be used to make weapons-grade plutonium.

The construction of the first reactor proved that Russia always fulfils its obligations towards foreign partners, regardless of the changes in the world’s political climate

Sergei Kirienko, boss of Russian partner Rosatom