Highlights

  • Iran begins procedures to build Darkhovin Nuclear Plant
  • 'New chapter will be opened in Iran's nuclear industry and technology'
  • Project is expected to cost between $1.5 billion and $2 billion

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Iran starts construction on $2 billion new nuclear power plant

The Darkhovin Nuclear Power Plant is a planned nuclear power plant located about 70 kilometres south of Ahvaz, Iran at the Karun river, as part of its nuclear program of Iran. The nuclear power plant will be operational under a pressurised water reactor system

Iran on Saturday began construction on a new nuclear power plant in the country's southwest, Iranian state TV announced, amid tensions with the US over sweeping sanctions imposed after Washington pulled out of the Islamic Republic's nuclear deal with world powers.


The announcement also comes as Iran has been rocked by nationwide anti-government protests that began after the death of a young woman in police custody and have challenged the country's theocratic government.


The new 300-megawatt plant, known as Karoon, will take eight years to build and cost around USD 2 billion, the country's state television and radio agency reported. The plant will be located in Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan province, near its western border with Iraq, it said.


The construction site's inauguration ceremony was attended by Mohammed Eslami, head of Iran's civilian Atomic Energy Organisation, who first unveiled construction plans for Karoon in April.

Also Watch| Iran protests: military reveals how many people killed so far; 'official' death toll below NGO estimates

Iran has one nuclear power plant at its southern port of Bushehr that went online in 2011 with help from Russia, but also several underground nuclear facilities.


The announcement of Karoon's construction came less than two weeks after Iran said it had begun producing enriched uranium at 60 per cent purity at the country's underground Fordo nuclear facility. The move is seen as a significant addition to the country's nuclear program.


Enrichment to 60 per cent purity is one short, technical step away from weapons-grade levels of 90 per cent. Non-proliferation experts have warned in recent months that Iran now has enough 60 per cent-enriched uranium to reprocess into fuel for at least one nuclear bomb.


The move was condemned by Germany, France and Britain, the three Western European nations that remain in the Iran nuclear deal. Recent attempts to revive Iran's 2015 nuclear deal, which eased sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program, have stalled.

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