Financial problems contribute to Bushehr delays

20 February 2007

Delays in payments by Iran could delay the supply of fuel from Russia for the Bushehr reactor, putting back the start up date.

Iranian officials deny that payments have been late, and blame the delay on Russia’s refusal to accept payment in euros, instead of US dollars, without contractual amendments. Iran is reported to have settled less than 25% of the January bill and missed the February instalment completely. Speaking in December, Sergei Shmatko of Atomstroyexport, the Russian company building the plant, said the company had already provided a $140 million loan to Iran to finance construction because of late payments.

Russia had agreed to deliver the fresh fuel six months before start up, with first criticality planned for September 2007 and first power in November 2007. Completion of the plant is also being held up by delays of delivery of safety system cooling equipment from "third countries", which now appears to have been delayed until late 2007.

The Bushehr project is excluded from the UN Security Council’s 23 December resolution giving Iran 60 days to suspend uranium enrichment activities.

Further information

WNN: Delaysat Bushehr