The safety of the
Bushehr nuclear power plant is Iran's first priority, so Iran has tried to observe all necessary safety precautions before launching the reactor, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said, Tehran Times reported.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran's first priority has always been the safety of the power plant... so it was no problem that we waited for two months, and unloaded, double checked, and reloaded fuel," Salehi told reporters.
"The plant has already reached the criticality stage, which means it has been successfully launched," Salehi, a nuclear physicist, stated.
The criticality, or the fission process, allows the atoms to split by themselves in a reaction without interference from operators.
"This stage lasts for two months, and within two month the Bushehr plant will reach 40 percent of its capacity," Salehi said.
The Iranian foreign minister again assured that the latest technologies have been used in the construction of the power plant, making it one of the safest nuclear power plants in the world.
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) has recently announced that the Bushehr power plant will be connected to the national grid by July 9.
The power plant first was launched in August 2010 as engineers loaded 163 fuel rods into the reactor under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
On January 28, Salehi, the former AEOI director, announced that the Bushehr power plant will be connected to the national grid by February 20. He also said that the plant would be able to work at full capacity by mid-April. But in February, Iran unloaded fuel from the reactor.
Foreign media outlets claimed that the Stuxnet computer worm has caused delay in the launch of the power plant, but Iran said its nuclear facilities have not been affected by Stuxnet.
On May 9, Iran announced that it has completed reloading fuel into core of the Bushehr reactor.
When the plant, which is located near the port of Bushehr on the coast of the Persian Gulf, is first connected to the national grid, the reactor will be producing 400 megawatts of electricity and within two or three months it will reach 100 percent of its capacity and produce 1000 megawatts of electricity, which will account for one-fortieth of the electricity output of the country.