Iran has begun loading fuel into the core of its first nuclear power plant, state television has reported.
The plant situated in the southern city of Bushehr, will come online in 2011 and will produce electricity under Iran’s peaceful neuclear programme.
Russia has been contracted to operate the facility, supply the nuclear fuel and take away the nuclear waste. The UN nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will supervise the project.
However Iran’s uranium enrichment programme has come under fire from Western nations, who fear that Iran’s enrichment programme is not solely for peaceful purposes and have subjected Iran to four rounds of UN sanctions because of its nuclear programme.
The plant is expected to produce 1,000 megawatts of electricity once all the fuel rods are loaded into the core of the reactor.
The construction of the Bushehr plant started in 1975 when Germany signed a contract with Iran. Germany, however, pulled out of the project following the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The process of fuling the reactor with 160 fuel rods will take about 20 days.