Iran has begun the construction of a 300 MW nuclear power plant near the town of Darkhoveyn, in the south-western Iranian province of Khuzestan. The Karun (or Darkhoveyn) nuclear plant is estimated to require an investment of US$2bn and is expected to be completed in 2030. It will comprise a pressurized light water reactor that uses 4% enriched uranium oxide as fuel.
The Karun nuclear plant project has been in the planning stage for decades, as Iran had signed, before the Islamic Revolution, a US$2bn contract with the French company Framatome to build two 910 MW pressurized water reactors at Darkhoveyn. France withdrew from the project after the revolution. In 1992, Iran signed an agreement with China to build two 300 MW reactors at the site, but China withdrew from the project as well. The project was subsequently taken up by Iran itself through its nuclear programme.
At the end of 2021, nuclear represented about 1% of Iran’s total installed capacity. The country’s first nuclear reactor, the 915 MW Bushehr nuclear plant Unit 1, was commissioned after different delays in 2011, and reached a production of 3.2 TWh in 2021. Iran is also expanding the Bushehr plant, where two 1 GW units are under development.