Puneet Varma

Darkhovin Nuclear Power Plant

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Country  Iran
Units under const.  1 x 360 MW
Construction began  2008
Location  Darkhovin
Units planned  1 x 360 MW
Darkhovin Nuclear Power Plant
Owner(s)  Nuclear Power Production & Development Co. of Iran
Operator(s)  Nuclear Power Production & Development Co. of Iran

The Darkhovin Nuclear Power Plant (also known as Esteghlal Nuclear Power Plant) is a planned nuclear power plant located about 70 kilometers south of Ahvaz, Iran at the Karun river. One reactor is firmly planned. Some other projects on this site were cancelled.



Before the Iranian Revolution, Iran had signed a 2 billion dollar contract with French company Framatome to build two 910 MW pressurized water reactors, at Darkhovin. After the Revolution, France withdrew from the project and the engineering components of the plant were withheld in France. The Iranian components were then used to build the units 5 and 6 of Gravelines Nuclear Power Station in France which went online in 1985. Construction of the power station was halted during Iran-Iraq war. In 1992, Iran signed an agreement with China to build two 300 MW reactors at the site, which were to be completed within ten years and would have been similar to Chashma Nuclear Power Plant in Pakistan which is built by China. But later on China withdrew from the project under United States pressure.

The project was subsequently taken up by Iran itself, as no other country was ready to cooperate in its construction. Iran started to indigenously design the reactor for Darkhovin Nuclear Power Plant basing the design on IR-40 reactor using heavy water. The Iranian nuclear reactor design has a capacity of 360 MW. The plant was announced in 2008, originally scheduled to come online in 2016, but construction has been delayed. There is currently no public information on how many reactors the power station is planned to house. The plant is going to be Iran's first indigenously designed and built nuclear power plant besides the research reactor of IR-40.

In fiction

In 1976 novel of Paul Erdman, Crash of '79, Darkhovin Nuclear Power Plant is mentioned to have been completed by France and Mohammed Reza Pahlavi the then Shah of Iran uses the plant with the help from Israel and Switzerland to manufacture a dozen salted bombs.

Reactor data

Plans for the site are not clear


Darkhovin Nuclear Power Plant Wikipedia

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