Iran and Russia dispute Bushehr startup

04 July 2007

[Associated Press, RIA Novosti, 3 July] The Bushehr nuclear power plant which Russia is constructing in Iran will be completed in September, according to Mohamed Amiri, head of a group of Iranian nuclear and radiation safety agencies. He said that Iran planned to start operating the plant shortly after. "Construction will be completed in two months, and we should receive atomic fuel for the launch of the reactor in accordance with the contract with the Russian side," Amiri told ITAR-TASS. He added that Iran "expects the delivery of fuel from Russia for the Bushehr plant at any time." However, Irina Yesipova, a spokeswoman for Russian plant constructor AtomStroyExport (ASE), said, "Construction cannot be finished in September." She also pointed out that Russia has stated that it will not ship the fuel to Iran until six months before the plant's start-up. In addition, Sergei Kislyak, a Russian deputy foreign minister, said, "It would be too ambitious, I think, to say that it can be commissioned within two months." He added, "That is unachievable physically." Sergei Kiriyenko, head of Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom), said that it was "unrealistic" the plant would start-up in 2007. He said, "It's perfectly clear... that the launch can happen no earlier than 2008." The $1 billion project has been hit with repeated delays, most recently in a dispute between Moscow and Tehran over payment.

Further information

AtomStroyExport

WNA's Iraq, North Korea & Iran - Implications for Safeguards information paper

WNN: EU agrees Iran sanctions as Russia signs Bushehr protocol
WNN: Iran: Enrichment confirmed; Bushehr delay acknowledged
WNN: Bushehr approaches commissioning

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