Iran to Begin Construction on Two New Nuke Plants

Iran President Hassan Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani / AP
January 19, 2016

The head of Iran’s atomic energy organization announced on Tuesday that the Islamic Republic, with assistance from Russia and China, will move forward on the construction of two new nuclear power plants, according to comments published in Iranian state-controlled media.

Ali Akbar Salehi, who heads the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, told Iranian reporters that construction on these new nuclear plants will begin in the "near future," according to Fars News Agency.

"Construction of two 1000-MW power plants will start soon," Salehi was quoted as saying. "We will build two other small power plants too in cooperation with China," he added.

A handful of European and Asian countries have expressed renewed interest in cooperating with Iran to help develop its nuclear industry now that the landmark nuclear agreement has been implemented, according to Salehi.

"Certain European and Asian states, including China, Japan and South Korea, are ready for cooperation, and conditions have changed compared with the past," Salehi said.

Iran announced in December that it would begin construction on another new nuclear plant that is being built by Russia, which signed a contract to build two reactors in the country.

Iran is permitted under the nuclear agreement, as well as by the United Nations, to continue building nuclear reactors, despite worries from some experts that the technology could be used to clandestinely continue weapons research.

A State Department official confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon last year that this would not violate past agreements with Iran.

"In general, the construction of light water nuclear reactors is not prohibited by U.N. Security Council resolutions, nor does it violate the JPOA," the official said at the time.

Meanwhile, Iran is reportedly considering building an oil refinery in Spain that has the capability to produce 200,000 barrels a day.