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. Iran building first 'indigenous' nuclear plant
TEHRAN, May 19 (AFP) May 19, 2007
Iran has begun building a nuclear power plant using indigenous technology and know-how, the deputy head of Iran's atomic energy organisation was quoted as saying on Saturday.

"Building of the first indigenous nuclear plant with a capacity of 360 megawatts has started," state-run television quoted Mohammad Saeedi as saying.

He did not say where the plant would be located, but added: "Iran will join the club of countries that build nuclear plants in the next 10 years."

Saeedi added that Iran's first nuclear power station, which is being built by Russians at Bushehr in the south of the country, will be launched by the end of the Iranian year in March 2008.

Its launch and fuel delivery have been delayed by what the Russian contractor has said were financial problems with Tehran.

The United States, which is spearheading an international campaign against Iran's disputed nuclear programme, has urged Russia to halt construction of the Bushehr plant.

Iran is under United Nations sanctions for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, the process which the West fears could be diverted towards atomic weapons development.

Tehran insists that its enrichment programme is aimed only at making nuclear fuel to meet the growing energy needs of its population.

In August 2006 Saeedi said that Iran was working on a 360-megawatt light water reactor to produce electricity.

It is also building a 40-megawatt heavy water reactor in Arak, central Iran, which is scheduled to be completed in 2009.

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