Tehran : In what could further increase the West’s worry over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, a top Iranian official said Sunday the Islamic country would soon float an international tender for construction of 19 new 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plants.
The measure will be taken in line with a Majlis (Iranian parliament) approval for generating 20,000 megawatt of electricity to meet domestic demand, said Kazem Jalali, rapporteur of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of Iran, official IRNA news agency reported.
Jalali, who is also a member of Majlis, hoped that Iran would soon be able to make up fully its power generation shortfall after the proposed plants become operational.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Energy Minister Parviz Fattah has said that the country’s first nuclear power plant, the Bushehr plant, will be operational by next year and would operate to full capacity by March 2009.
Russia last week shipped the first consignment of nuclear fuel to the Bushehr plant after several months of delay, which Russia had attributed to payment dispute but Iran alleged the delay was due to western machination.
Iran’s nuclear power project has been mired in controversy as some western countries, especially the US, accused Iran of ostensibly making weapons under the cover of power generation. But Iran has been insisting that its nuclear programme is for civilian purpose.