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Terrorism & Security

Iran's Bushehr plant to produce nuclear power in weeks

Iran's Bushehr plant will be ready to start producing nuclear power in early September after engineers began loading fuel rods into a reactor at the Russian-built factory on Saturday.

By Correspondent / August 22, 2010

An Iranian security guard walks past a gate of the Bushehr nuclear power plant as its reactor building is seen in background. Russia's nuclear chief said Thursday that the planned startup of Iran's first nuclear power plant will demonstrate that Iran is entitled to peaceful use of nuclear energy under international supervision.

Vahid Salemi/AP

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Iran’s first nuclear power plant is now within weeks of operation, after engineers loaded fuel rods into a reactor at the Russian-built facility on Saturday. After years of delays, the plant is finally set to begin producing electricity by early September.

The activation of the plant is significant for Iran and a number of other international players, albeit for different reasons.

For Iran, which has long worked to establish what it says is a peaceful nuclear program, the day was looked upon as a major achievement toward providing cleaner energy. For those who’ve been suspiciously eyeing Iran’s nuclear program, worried that it’s a front to develop atomic weapons, the plant adds yet another layer of concern.

STORY: Why Iran's nuclear reactor may not be an immediate threat

Although reports differ about whether the plant will pose a serious threat, it remains arguably the most contentious issue for Israel which fears a nuclear Iran would pose too great a threat to the Jewish nation. Following Iran’s announcement about the plant, Israeli Foreign Ministry officials called for the international community to apply more pressure on Iran to stop it from going nuclear, reports German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

Too late to safely bomb the plant?

Israeli hawks may now also worry that the time to safely bomb the plant without causing major civilian causalities has passed.

Former Bush administration hardliner John Bolton suggested last week that if Israel was going to bomb the Bushehr power facility, it would need to do so before the fuel rods were added or they would run the risk of “creating a radioactive cloud that would harm too many civilians,” reports the Los Angeles Times.

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