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The Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant is a nuclear power plant in Iran 17 km southeast of the city of Bushehr, between the fishing villages of Halileh and Bandargeh along the Persian Gulf.
Construction of the plant was started in 1975 by German companies, but the work was stopped in 1979 after the Islamic revolution of Iran. A contract for finishing the plant was signed between Iran and the Russian Ministry for Atomic Energy in 1995, with Russia's Atomstroyexport named as the main contractor. The work was delayed several years by technical and financial challenges as well as by political pressure from the West. After construction was again in danger of being stopped in 2007, a renewed agreement was reached in which the Iranians promised to compensate for rising costs and inflation after completion of the plant. Delivery of nuclear fuel started the same year. The plant started adding electricity to the national grid on 3 September 2011, and was officially opened in a ceremony on 12 September 2011, attended by Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko and head of the Rosatom Sergei Kiriyenko.
The project is considered unique in terms of its technology, the political environment and the challenging physical climate. It is the first civilian nuclear power plant built in the Middle East. Several research reactors had been built earlier in the Middle East: two in Iraq, two in Israel, one in Syria and three in Iran.
There have been safety concerns about the Bushehr plant, associated with construction of the plant itself, aging equipment at the plant, and understaffing.
In August of 2013, the head of Russian nuclear regulator Rosatom has said that state company will soon sign documents transferring operational control of the Bushehr nuclear power plant to Iran, and on September 23rd of 2013, operational control was transferred.
- The Guardian, September 4, 2011: Iranian nuclear power station 'begins generating electricity'
- RIA Novosti, September 12, 2011: Iran launches Bushehr nuclear power plant
- CNN, September 12, 2011: Iran's first nuclear power plant to get official launch
- International Atomic Energy Agency, January 4, 2013: Research Reactor Database