TEHRAN, Iran (The Blaze/AP) -- Iranian state radio says the country's first nuclear power plant has been connected to the national power grid for a test run, making it the first Middle Eastern country to produce commercial electricity from atomic reactors.
The Sunday report quotes Mohammad Ahmadian, Iran's deputy nuclear chief, as saying the plant began to generate 60 megawatts of electricity about midnight.
Ahmadian says a ceremony marking the connection to the power grid will be held Monday. He expressed hope the plant would feed the grid at full capacity in coming months.
The power plant in the southern Iranian port of Bushehr has a capacity of 1,000 megawatt power generations, or about 2.5 percent of the country's energy consumption. Iran built the plant with Russian help.
The plant was supposed to go online over the past years but it was repeatedly postponed.
According to Reuters, experts say bringing the plant online will not bring Iran closer to building a nuclear bomb, because Russia will supply the enriched uranium for the reactor and will take back spent fuel that could be reprocessed into weapons-grade plutonium.
Iran said it will only be enriching uranium to lower levels necessary for power, medical or agricultural purposes.
Still, those declarations have done little to allay fears about the the country's nuclear weapons intentions: Just last week, an International Atomic Energy Agency report said Iran was continuing to defy U.N. resolutions aimed at curbing its nuclear program, and cited increasing concerns it may be developing nuclear weapons.
In August, Iran finally allowed a U.N. inspector to view the site where it is developing advanced centrifuges that can be used to make nuclear fuel and to arm warheads. The move was considered a significant one after years of the country stonewalling IAEA requests for greater access.