Iran loads fuel into the Bushehr nuclear reactor

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Iran loads fuel into the Bushehr nuclear reactor
Media at the gates of the Bushehr nuclear power station 20 Aug  2010
Iran says the launch of its first reactor is a victory over its enemies

Iran has begun loading fuel into the core of its first nuclear power plant, state television has reported.
Iranian and Russian engineers started moving nuclear fuel into the main reactor building at Bushehr in August but this was halted and the work delayed.
Russia will operate the facility in southern Iran, supplying its nuclear fuel and taking away the nuclear waste.
Iran says the plant will begin generating electricity in early 2011.
German engineers began work on the Bushehr nuclear facility began in 1975. The project, completed with help from Russia, has been plagued by delays.
Iran has been subject to four rounds of UN sanctions because of its separate uranium enrichment programme.
Experts say that as long as the Bushehr plant is Russian-operated, there is little chance of proliferation.
The uranium fuel it will use is well below the enrichment level needed for a nuclear weapon. Weapons-grade uranium must be enriched by more than 90%. In contrast, the uranium at Bushehr is enriched by 3.5%.
The Bushehr fuel has been supplied by Russia, although Iran is already producing its own uranium enriched to fuel grade.
Iran has also begun a pilot program to enrich uranium to 20% which it says is needed for a medical research reactor.
It is that programme that has alarmed some Western governments and Israel.
Some governments fear Tehran wants to build a nuclear weapon, but Iran insists its plans are for peaceful energy production.

 Iran's known nuclear facilities


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