Minatom says it will build second reactor at Bushehr

Publish date: August 20, 2003

Russian nuclear authorities confirmed today they intend to build a second reactor at the Bushehr site.

This happened despite mounting world pressure on Iran’s nuclear programme to open its doors for more invasive inspections, and the threat of an Israeli military attack on the Moscow-built Bushehr reactor. According to Yury Bespalko, a spokesman for Russia’s Ministry of Atomic Energy, or Minatom, the second reactor—which has already been approved by Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation—will be identical to the first. That first reactor is an $800m, 1000-megawatt light water reactor, which is now slated to go online in 2005. Bespalko said Minatom’s foreign reactor construction wing, Atomstroiproekt, would be building the second reactor for “approximately the same price as the first reactor,” $800m, and that a new influx of Russian nuclear specialists into Iran—which is suspected by the West, and even some security experts and government officials in Russia, of developing a weapons programme—would follow the signing of the new reactor contract between Moscow and Tehran. Bespalko said no date had yet been set for the beginning of construction.