Iran plans four new nuclear plants

February 7, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News
The Bushehr nuclear power station, a 915-MWe facility, came on line in 2013. It is Iran’s only operating nuclear power plant. (Photo: Bushehr NPP)

A ceremonial ground-breaking event took place last week at the site where the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says four new nuclear reactors will be built over the next 20 years.

While details are limited about the reactor plans, Mohammad Eslami, head of the AEOI, said that $15 billion will be invested into the “super-project” to build four 1,250-MWe reactors over the next nine years.

Iranian leaders have said they want to produce 20,000 megawatts of nuclear energy by 2041. It’s a lofty goal, given that the United States, France, China, Russia, and South Korea are the only countries in the world that currently have more than 20,000 megawatts of nuclear capacity installed.

There is currently just one active nuclear plant in Iran. That facility, Bushehr-1, produces 915 MWe and went on line with help from Russia in 2013.

Concerned parties: For several years, nuclear watchdogs have raised concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. The International Atomic Energy Agency said last year that Iran has increased the rate at which it is producing near-weapons-grade uranium.

IAEA director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said in a report that Iran “in recent weeks had increased its production of highly enriched uranium, reversing a previous output reduction from mid-2023.” Iran had previously slowed the rate at which it was enriching uranium to 60 percent purity, which is just a short technical step away from the weapons-grade level of 90 percent.

Iranian officials continue to say the country is not producing or trying to acquire nuclear weapons.

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