EghtesadOnline: Programs are underway to triple nuclear power, the energy minister said.
The Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant off the Persian Gulf now produces 1,000 megawatts and two more 1 GW units are planned to boost output to 3,000 MW, Tasnim News Agency reported Reza Ardakanian as saying.
The minister said increasing nuclear power is a priority to diversify energy sources. “However, financial constraints have slowed work on the two units undertaken by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.”
Pouring concrete at the site of the second unit of Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant in the southern namesake city has made 82% progress.
Despite financial issues due to the illegal US sanctions, work on the second unit continues, he added.
The United States imposed tough economic sanctions on Iran in August 2018 targeting banking, insurance, shipping and industrial sectors. In the May of that year US president, Donald Trump, tore up the landmark 2015 nuclear deal Iran had signed with the six world powers (five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) and has pushed for a new and comprehensive agreement turned down by Tehran.
In November Washington announced a second round of restrictions targeting the key energy sector. Moreover, problems created by the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed the pace of construction as strict health protocols are observed in the workplace
The first unit of the plant, built with Russian help, came on stream in 2011 and reached full capacity (1,000 MW) the following year.
The plant is Iran’s only nuclear energy facility and generated over 40 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity from 2011 to 2019 that is equivalent to energy produced by burning 60 million barrels of crude.
In 2014, Iran signed an agreement with the Russian company Rosatom and its subsidiaries to build two more reactors. The second unit is scheduled to come on stream by 2025 and the third two years later.
The Bushehr plant is the first civilian nuclear power facility in the Middle East and operates under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Almost 25% of the electricity produced in the last fiscal (ended in March) was generated from renewable sources.
An estimated 313 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity was produced in 2019, of which about one-fourth or 80 billion kWh was by steam units in combined cycle power plants, hydropower stations, the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant and renewables.