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Thursday, January 10, 2008       Free Headline Alerts

Iran seeks partners for construction of 19 reactors

NICOSIA — Iran is preparing to launch a multi-billion-dollar nuclear energy project that would be open to foreign firms.

Officials said Teheran plan to issue a tender for the construction of 19 nuclear power plants. They said the tender would be open to both Iranian and international companies and establish energy reactors throughout the country.

A leading parliamentarian said each of the energy reactors would have the capacity to generate 1,000 megawatts of electricity, Middle East Newsline reported. Kazem Jalali, a spokesman for parliament's national security and foreign policy committee, said 19 nuclear energy facilities would be built.

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Jalali's disclosure marked the latest statement of intent regarding Iran's nuclear program. Over the last year, Iranian officials have reported plans to construct from two to six nuclear reactors.

In a $1 billion project, Iran has sought to complete its first nuclear reactor at Bushehr. The prime contractor, Russia's state-owned Atomstroiexport, said Bushehr would not be operational until at least 2009.

Officials said Bushehr would help Teheran with the tools to construct nuclear reactors without foreign assistance. On Dec. 25, Deputy Energy Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Yusef-pour said Iran would be capable to build its own nuclear reactor by 2013.

Yusef-pour said the state-owned Iranian Atomic Energy Organization would issue a tender for the construction of a 360 megawatt nuclear power plant in Darkhowain. He said Darkhowain would be operational by 2016.

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