Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/01/2014 -- The deal between Iran and the international community, brokered in late 2013, has stoked optimism that the way can be cleared for the Iranian government to push ahead with developing the country's nuclear power industry. However, a more wide-ranging deal has yet to be agreed, and risks are growing that the hoped-for loosening of international sanctions will not materialise.
Iran will continue to rely largely on conventional thermal sources for electricity generation, with many of the power projects that are currently under construction slated to increase the nation's natural gas generation capacity. At the same time, the government appears committed to plans to increase its nuclear capacity, plans which have been boosted by the recent agreement between Iran and the international community, which will see the US, the EU and other nations ease sanctions on Iran in return for the country ending its pursuit of military nuclear capability. Although the Bushehr plant - at present the country's only nuclear reactor - has suffered from significant teething problems, the plant has now become fully operational and has continued operating at capacity even despite a strong earthquake. With abundant natural resources, a large and growing population driving up demand for electricity, and many of the country's neighbours suffering from energy shortfalls, the government will continue to invest in capacity expansion over the coming years, and could see exports to energy-hungry neighbours such as Turkey and Pakistan grow significantly over the coming decade.
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Key Trends And Developments
- Iran has come to a preliminary agreement with the international community over its nuclear ambitions. The government has agreed to halt any activity that could lead to the development of a nuclear weapon for the next six months, in return for a loosening of international economic sanctions. However, a longerterm agreement has yet to be reached, raising risks that the hoped-for easing of international sanctions may not materialise.
- Iranian officials took control of Iran's first nuclear power plant in Bushehr in October 2013, according to the head of the plant. The plant, which has suffered from multiple teething problems since it became officially operational in 2011, had been under Russian management. The plant - which has capacity of 1,000MW - is now fully operational and connected to the country's electricity grid. Reports in December suggest that Iran and Russia are in talks to build a second nuclear reactor at the site in 2014, although details about its planned capacity have yet to emerge.
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