TEHRAN: Iran yesterday finally took control of its civilian nuclear reactor at Bushehr, a project begun 37 years ago by West Germany, wracked by setbacks, and finished by Russia.
Tehran has long touted Bushehr as proof of its peaceful nuclear intentions, but neighbouring countries and the West have expressed concern over the presence, in a volatile region, of the world’s last remaining nuclear reactor that does not adhere to the post-Chernobyl Convention on Nuclear Safety.
The ISNA news agency said Iran and Russia signed a handover contract that in effect put Iranian technicians in charge of the 1,000-megawatt power plant.
Atomic agency chief Ali Akbar Salehi said earlier that Russian experts would remain in Bushehr as part of a guarantee scheme for the operation.
“There will be a two-year warranty period, during which Russian experts will be present at the Bushehr plant,” he told state television ahead of the handover ceremony in the southern city located across Gulf waters from southern Kuwait.
“Should any problem arise the Russian contractor is responsible for removing it,” he said, adding that after that period Iran will be “fully responsible” for the plant’s operation.