Iranian experts have completed overhaul and maintenance work on unit 1 of the Bushehr nuclear power plant for the first time and reconnected it to the national grid, the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) said.
The VVER-1000 reactor came back online after it was shut down in early April for refuelling and repair by Iranian technicians without the help of Russian technicians.
“For the first time, the annual fuel change and periodic repairs of the main equipment at Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant were carried out by the capable specialists of this advanced nuclear power plant," AEOI said.
“With the summertime peak consumption period just beginning, the plant successfully resumed electricity generation and [was] hooked up with the national electricity grid,” it added.
Summer began on 20 June, according to the Iranian calendar, during which temperatures can reach 50 degrees Celsius in some southern cities.
Reza Banazadeh, director of Bushehr NPP said refuelling is “a very sensitive and complex process”. Iranian operators used a robot to discharge one-third of fuel and load new uranium fuel rods to the core of the reactor after a series of specialised activities, he added.
AEOI spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi had said in May that Iran would probably cut its dependence on Russian engineers and become self-sufficient in maintenance work on the Bushehr plant by 2022.
The Bushehr nuclear plant constructed by Russia, began operation in September 2011. Iran started building two more reactors at Bushehr in a joint project with Russia’s Rosatom in November 2017.
Photo: Bushehr nuclear power plant