Iran has begun loading fuel into the core of its first nuclear energy plant in the southern city of Bushehr, state media reported Tuesday.
"Iran’s peaceful nuclear programs and activities are going on as scheduled,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters.
"The Bushehr nuclear power plant is one of the major projects of Iran which will help produce alternative forms of energy,” he said.
Tehran says the electricity produced by this power plant will add to the national power supply.
The United States and other world powers fear Iran is developing a nuclear program for military purposes. Iran has denied those allegations and says the plant will be used to generate electricity.
"Political pressures, like sanctions and other pressures, will not impede our progress on development and will not keep our nation from exercising their inalienable rights to peaceful use of nuclear technology,” Mehmanparast said.
"We will continue our long term programs in that regard,” he added.
The Bushehr plant opened in late August when engineers loaded 163 fuel rods into the reactor under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency. It is expected to produce 1,000 megawatts of electricity once all the fuel rods are loaded into the core of the reactor.
The construction of the Bushehr plant started in 1975 when Germany signed a contract with Iran. Germany, however, pulled out of the project following the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Iran then signed a deal with Russia in 1995, under which the plant was originally scheduled to be completed in 1999, but the project was repeatedly delayed.
The reactor was launched in August amid a standoff with the United States and its allies over allegations that the Islamic Republic is following a military nuclear program.
Courtesy : CNN – Oct 26,2010