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Iran to offer tender for nuclear power plants

TEHRAN, Dec. 10 (Mehr News Agency) -- Director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Gholamreza Aqazadeh said here on Saturday that Iran will announce the tender for the construction of nuclear power plants early in the next Iranian calendar year, which starts on March 21.

"We are currently preparing for the bid as one of our first steps for producing 2000 megawatts of nuclear electricity, and if the Management and Planning Organization (MPO) provides us with the necessary funds, we will negotiate with foreign companies on the issue early next year," he told reporters at a press conference.

Aqazadeh noted that the power plants would probably be constructed in either Khuzestan or Bushehr province.

The government recently announced it plans to build two nuclear power plants, each with a 1000 megawatt capacity, in Khuzestan Province. However, Aqazadeh said the project could be implemented in several units.

The nuclear official added that preliminary studies would also be carried out for a project in which Iranian experts would construct a light water nuclear power plant with a capacity of 360 megawatts.

"This power plant will be built in Khuzestan Province, and the International Atomic Energy Agency has been informed of the process, and its construction is currently underway.

"It will be a light water power plant designed entirely by Iran."

It will take six or seven years to complete, he added.

The Majlis has obliged the government to produce 20,000 megawatts of nuclear electricity over the next 20 years.

On the nuclear fuel required by the power plants, Aqazadeh stressed, "I have no doubt that our efforts to produce fuel domestically will bear fruit.

"There is no doubt about the fact that we must carry out (uranium) enrichment in the future."

He noted that a number of countries have announced their initial readiness to participate in the enrichment process at the Natanz nuclear complex.

Turning to the resumption of nuclear talks with the European Union states of Britain, Germany, and France, which reportedly are scheduled to start later this month, Aqazadeh said, "We do not want endless or purposeless talks."

He added that negotiations would revolve around objective guarantees on enrichment activities at Natanz and not nuclear research.

"We have not restarted enrichment at Natanz and will not do so during the talks," he stressed.

On the Russian proposal to transfer UF6 from Iran to Russia for enrichment, Aqazadeh said, "The Russians have not presented any specific and official proposal to Iran. They only mentioned some ideas that have serious problems."

He stated that the Bushehr nuclear power plant was more than 90 percent complete and would come on stream in 2006, according to the agreement between Tehran and Moscow.

On the remarks of IAEA Director General Mohammad ElBaradei that Iran would only be months away from producing a nuclear bomb if it resumed enrichment (published in The Independent), Aqazadeh said, "We have recognized the terms of many treaties and are implementing them."

He noted that Iran seeks to conduct uranium enrichment, but, like Canada, Germany, Japan, and other countries, does not have a nuclear weapons program.

"The West should guarantee that our nuclear fuel needs will be met, but it is also necessary for Iran to produce a certain amount of fuel itself, since, due to political developments, there is no guarantee the West will provide Iran's requirement."

... Payvand News - 12/11/05 ... --

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