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Iran, Russia resume talks to build new nuclear power plant

Iran’s Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian says the country has restarted negotiations with Russia to build a new nuclear power plant capable of generating up to 3,000 megawatts of electricity.

“Talks are underway to construct a new 3,000-megawatt nuclear power plant to increase electricity generation capacity to 4,000 megawatts from the current 1,000 megawatts,” Tasnim news agency quoted Ardakanian as saying on Saturday.

In November 2014, Tehran and Moscow struck a deal to build eight more nuclear power plants in Iran.

Russia has already built a power plant in Bushehr in southern Iran. The agreement for the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant was finalized in 1995, but the project was delayed several times due to a number of technical and financial issues.

The 1,000-megawatt plant, which is operating under the full supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), reached its maximum power generation capacity in August 2012.

In September 2013, Iran officially took over from Russia the first unit of its first 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plant for two years.

Back in May, Russia’s state nuclear agency Rosatom said Russia has begun “soil stabilization” work on the site of Phase 2 of the Bushehr Power Plant.

“On May 3, 2018, soil stabilization works under the reactor building of power unit No 2 commenced at Bushehr-2 NPP construction site,” the agency said on its website.

The construction of the power plant’s second and third phases began in November 2017. It was reported at the time that the two phases would begin supplying electricity to Iran’s power grid in 10 years.

The resumption of talks between Tehran and Moscow came as the United States has ramped up pressure on Iran after US President Donald Trump withdrew Washington in May from the landmark Iran nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reached between Iran and the 5+1 group of countries in 2015, and decided to re-impose unilateral sanctions against Tehran.

Under the deal, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.

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