Iran has begun loading fuel into its first nuclear power station in Bushehr in south-western Iran.

On 21 August, engineers began loading the first of 163 fuel rods into the reactor under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Russia will now operate the Bushehr plant, supplying its nuclear fuel and taking away nuclear waste.

The plant will produce 1,000 megawatts of electricity once all the rods and required fuels have been loaded into the reactor.

Iran is now the first country in the Middle East with a nuclear-energy facility and has further plans to build enough plants to generate 20,000 megawatts over the next 20 years. Western countries have not tried to prevent the reactor as their main concern is Iran’s refusal to halt uranium enrichment.

The US imposed a fresh wave of sanctions on Iran due to fears over its uranium enrichment programme.