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IAEA inspects Russian fuel for Iran: factory

by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Nov 30, 2007
UN nuclear officials on Friday completed five days of inspections of the first consignment of Russian fuel for Iran's nuclear power plant at Bushehr, a statement from the fuel factory said.

Russian officials sealed the containers of nuclear fuel in the presence of a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog, said a statement from the TVEL defence factory in Novossibirsk.

"IAEA inspectors, representatives of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency and the Iranian clients... witnessed the preparation of the nuclear fuel," it said. No date was given for the delivery of the fuel.

Interfax news agency quoted foreign ministry sources as saying that Iranian Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari will travel to Moscow on December 13 and 14 for talks that will touch on the Bushehr plant.

Iran's top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili may also travel to Moscow in the coming weeks for talks, according to RIA Novosti news agency.

Iran earlier this month said that Russia was ready to deliver the first consignment of fuel for the power plant at Bushehr on Iran's Gulf coast.

The plant, which is being built by Russian engineers, is due to become a cornerstone of Iran's nuclear programme.

Iran insists the programme is aimed solely at providing electricity for a growing population but the United States says the Islamic Republic is trying to create nuclear weapons.

Delivery of the reactor fuel would normally be the final stage in activating the plant.

Russia had already announced in 2005 that the fuel had been produced and was being stored in a Russian plant.

But it has since said that Bushehr may not be completed until late 2008 -- much later than Iranian officials had planned.

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Cadarache, France (AFP) Nov 28, 2007
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