14 November 2019

Iran: Construction Restart of Busheer‑2

Iran: Construction Restart of Bushehr-2

WNISR, 14 November 2019

Basemat concrete for the reactor building has been poured, usually representing the official construction start, at the Bushehr unit 2 reactor as of 10 November 2019, according to the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI). Excavation for that foundation of the unit started on 31 October 2017.

However, originally, construction had started in 1976. The site also hosts the Bushehr-1 reactor, where construction had originally started in 1975. Supplier Siemens suspended construction of both units in 1978 following the beginning of the Iranian Revolution. In 1994, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) featured the units still as “under construction” (see hereunder - sorry, the quality of the 25-year-old document is somewhat mediocre).

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report, 1994
PDF - 1.5 Mb

Construction of unit one restarted in 1996 under a contract with Russian state-owned reactor-construction company Rosatom, and the reactor was finally connected to the grid on 3 September 2011, 36 years after construction first started. It generated 21 percent (6.3 TWh) of Iran’s electricity in 2018.

Iranian authorities and Rosatom stated that Bushehr units 2 and 3 are to be completed in 2024 and 2026 respectively. The construction contract for building units 2 and 3 was signed in November 2014 between the Nuclear Power Production and Development Co. (NPPD) and contractor Atomstroyexport Company, a Rosatom subsidiary. The contract included the design, construction as well as commencing operations of the two units, each with a capacity of 1057 MW electricity output. The reactor design for unit 2 is the VVER V-446. Iranian and Russian companies signed the contract for the construction of Bushehr units 2 and 3, and work started in December 2016 and AEOI stated on 10 November 2019 that pouring first concrete for marks more than 30 percent of the project’s schedule. This confirms a quite recent apparent redefinition of “construction start” (see Hinkley Point C), which helps reducing the “official” construction time, a crucial objective of the few remaining nuclear builders.