Iran, Russia to Discuss Power Plant Completion

A016883311.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- A delegation from a Russian nuclear power construction company Atomstroyexport will discuss the completion of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran on September 1, a company spokesman said on Friday.

Russia is building the $1 billion Bushehr facility, Iran’s first nuclear power plant, in the south of the country under a 1995 contract. The project is also subject to UN.

Commenting on the upcoming visit, Russian MP Konstantin Beschetnov, member of State Duma committee on economy and business, said it is too early to determine the precise date for the completion of the project, which has suffered numerous delays in the past.

“This project is so unique that it is too early to announce a completion date. As any business project it has experienced a number of complications,” RIA Novosti quoted him as saying.

“In effective business any disputable issues are resolved through negotiations. That is why I am certain that the Bushehr construction will be completed successfully,” Beschetnov said. “Besides, it is important for Russia’s reputation (as a reliable business partner).”

The Bushehr project was originally scheduled for commissioning at the end of 2006, but the date has been postponed several times.

Russia delivered its eighth and final nuclear fuel shipment to Bushehr on January 28, supplying a total of 82 metric tons of low-enriched uranium to the plant’s light-water reactor.

Russia’s nuclear power chief Sergei Kiriyenko said in early June that preparations for the launch of the Bushehr project, including nuclear fuel operations, would start in the fall. He said with confidence that the safety of nuclear fuel storage was not in doubt.

Russian ambassador to Iran Alexander Sadovnikov earlier said, “The Iranian nation will witness electricity generation by the Bushehr power plant early next year,”.

Sadovnikov said all elements of Bushehr would be tested by the end of 2008. In an Aug. 23 interview with the Islamic republic news agency, the ambassador said the nuclear power plant would become operational in early 2009.

“Moscow is seriously determined to complete and put into operation the Bushehr nuclear power plant,” Sadovnikov said.

Sadovnikov acknowledged delays of Bushehr. The Russian attributed this to the refusal of unidentified countries to provide Iran with nuclear components and machinery for Bushehr.

The Russian ambassador also said that the delays have been caused by “sanctions imposed by Western powers”.

Under the contract, Sadovnikov said, Russia would bear the expense of additional delays to Bushehr. He did not elaborate.

“Russia has always had a schedule to complete the power plant, but the work schedule has sometimes been out of its control,” Sadovnikov said.

Moscow has also underlined its determination to press ahead with its nuclear cooperation with the Islamic Republic on the grounds that Iran is legally entitled to use nuclear technology for electricity generation and other peaceful applications.

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