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Iran to solicit bids for the construction of 19 nuclear power plants, lawmaker says

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TEHRAN, Iran - Iran plans to build 19 more nuclear power plants and will soon solicit international bids for their construction, a lawmaker said.

"Contracts for the construction of 19 nuclear power plants, each with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts, will be put into international tender in the near future," Kazem Jalali was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

Jalali, a member of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said the bids will be in line with parliamentary legislation that calls for production of 20,000 megawatts of electricity through nuclear power plants in the future.

Jalali, who made his comments on Sunday, gave no time frame for the projects. He comments do not necessarily represent the position of Iran's executive branch, headed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or its supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran currently does not have any operating electricity-producing nuclear power plants.

Russia is completing a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plant for Iran outside the southern city of Bushehr. Iran received the first shipment of nuclear fuel from Russia last week, paving the way for the startup of the reactor in 2008.

The government has previously announced plans to built six more reactors like Bushehr to produce 7,000 megawatts of electricity through nuclear energy by 2021. Some lawmakers say have called on the government to produce 20,000 megawatts of electricity through nuclear energy by then.

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