IRANIAN NUCLEAR POWER - 2017
WNA - Nuclear Power in Iran
- A large nuclear power reactor is operating in Iran, after many years' construction, and two more are planned.
- The country also has a major program developing uranium enrichment, which was concealed for many years.
- Iran is now limiting its enrichment-related activities and ceasing its work on heavy water-related projects, under an internationally-agreed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Most enriched uranium has now been removed from the country.
Iran produced 275 TWh gross in 2014, comprising 196 TWh from gas, 59 TWh from oil, both of which it has in abundance, 14 TWh from hydro which is less reliably available, and 4.5 TWh from nuclear power. Demand is growing about 4% per year, and Iran trades electricity with Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Turkmenistan and Turkey. Net export is about 6 TWh/yr. Turkey and Iraq account for 90% of exports. Consumption in 2014 was about 223 TWh, per capita about 2700 kWh/yr.
In mid-2015 generating capacity was 74 GWe, including 12 GWe hydro. The country plans to boost generating capacity to 122 GWe by 2022, with substantial export potential.
Nuclear power developments
In 1957 a civil nuclear program was established under the US Atoms for Peace programme.
In 1974 the Shah announced a target of 23,000 MWe of nuclear capacity to free up oil and gas for export. Preliminary agreements with Siemens KWU and Framatome for four nuclear power plants were signed.
In 1975 construction of two 1,293 MWe (gross) PWR units was started 18 km south of Bushehr in Bushehr province on the Persian Gulf by Siemens KWU, based on the Biblis B reactor in Germany. The contract was actually signed in mid-1976 and some $3 billion paid. After the Islamic revolution, further payment was withheld and work was abandoned early in 1979 with unit 1 substantially complete and unit two about half complete. The plant was damaged by Iraqi air strikes in 1984-88.
At Darkhovin, on the Karun River close to the Iraq border, there were also two French 910 MWe units which in January 1979 had just started construction under a $2 billion October 1977 contract with Framatome. These were cancelled in April 1979, and their engineering components were retained in France, being built there as Gravelines C, units 5&6, which came on line in 1985. In 1992, the Islamic Republic of Iran signed an agreement with China to build two 300 MWe reactors at the Darkhovin site, similar to those at Qinshan in China and Chashma in Pakistan, but China withdrew before construction started.
The original 1974 plan called for construction of four units at Bushehr, then two units at Isfahan, 340 km south of Teheran, to come on line in mid-1980s and two units at Saveh, near Teheran. The Isfahan and Saveh units were to be 1300 MWe class KWU types with dry cooling using two 260 m tall and 170 m wide dry cooling towers. They would have been the first large nuclear plants to use dry cooling.
In 2013 and 2014 senior officials were talking of a target of 20 GWe nuclear by 2020. AEOI cites parliamentary approval for this capacity target (if not deadline) as being binding on it.
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