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Iran: Bushehr nuclear power plant spent fuel agreement to be signed soon

Moscow, Sept 2, IRNA -- Iran's Ambassador to Russia said in Moscow on Thursday that the agreement for transfer of spent fuel of Bushehr Nuclear power plants will be singed between Tehran and Moscow in the near future.

Speaking to reports Qolamreza Shafei added that Iran's nuclear program is fully peaceful adding "our cooperation with Russia to compete the nuclear plant s continuing."

Referring to efforts of some nations to put hurdles on the way of this cooperation he said fortunately the meeting of the heads Russia, France and Germany in the Black Sea resort of Sochi showed that all countries are willing to continue cooperation on peaceful nuclear energy programs.

"The important point was that the Russian president stressed on continued cooperation between Tehran and Moscow."

He added that production of nuclear fuel is a legitimate and legal right of Iran saying "we are still interested in producing nuclear fuel to provide for energy for our nuclear power plants."

"Building centrifuges is a right of all countries capable of building such apparatus," he added.

All of Iran 's nuclear activities are with in the framework of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and representative of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) can carry out inspection of Iran's nuclear facilities at any time, Shafei remarked.

Alluding to the "complete agreement" between Russia and Iran on return of spent nuclear fuel Shafei said after agreement is reached on associated costs based on international norms, "a spent nuclear fuel agreement will be signed in the near future."

"Furthermore, Tehran cooperation with IAEA is continuing which has also been confirmed by the international nuclear watchdog."

Russia also supports Tehran in its nuclear-related positions and interested to see Tehran continuing its peaceful nuclear activities within the framework of cooperation with the IAEA.

He also said the US dishonesty manifests itself in Washington's opposition to building of Iran nuclear program citing Iran's abundant resources while during the Shah's regime it rendered support to the project.

The US policy smacks of dishonesty and is line with efforts to drive out Russia as a viable competitor in commercial deals with Iran.

Shafei also expressed hope that the Bushehr nuclear power plant will be operational by the end of 2005.

The Iranian ambassador to Russia said that Tehran and Moscow have excellent political relations which will be strengthened with the scheduled visit to Tehran by the Russian President Vladimir Putin in the near future.

He also said the two nations cooperation is important in forging international security, combating terrorism and drugs in the region and the world.

"Tehran supports Russia's status as an observer at the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)."

On another issue, he added that Iran position on delineating a Caspian Sea legal regime is for all the littoral states to cooperate in this venture.

All the bilateral agreements are legal only when all the littoral states give their blessing to it, Shafei stated.

He strongly condemned the recent horrific events in Russia which caused many loss of lives and inflicted sever injuries.

"These acts are against Islamic teachings and principals and Iran strongly condemns such acts."

He also expressed condolences to the bereaved families and Russian government.

Iran said last week its first nuclear power plant, being built with Russian assistance in southern Bushehr, will become operational in October 2006, a year behind schedule.

Speaking to reporters here, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Asadollah Sabouri, cited some of the complexities which are dogging the project, including the deal related to the return of spent fuel and its costs.

"One subject which has not been concluded yet is related to the deal on the return of spent fuel, which is very complex," he said, stressing that 'the state decision in Iran is to return the spent fuel to Russia.

"Given that the return and transfer of the spent fuel from the power plant to Russia will be carried out eight or nine years later, it is hard to figure out the transfer costs now," Sabouri added.

The contract for the return of the spent fuel, however, has been finalized, and differences exist over the costs, the official said.

According to Sabouri, the two countries have set the deadline for Russia's delivery of nuclear fuel for the power plant to Iran at the end of 2005.

He stressed that one reason for delay in the power plant's operation was Iran insistence on nuclear protection and security requirement, including environmental safety.

So far, Iran has spent more than one billion dollars on the project and it is projected that a further three to four billion dollars has to be spent on bringing the power plant on stream, Sabouri said.

"We will receive all the equipment by the end of this year (in March 2005) and the installation work will be carried out in the second half of this year and next year," he added.

Once operational, the power plant is projected to generate 1,000 megawatts of electricity, 6,000 megawatts less than the target which Iran has set to produce by 2021 in nuclear power plants.

... Payvand News - 9/3/04 ... --

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