Moscow (AFP) Dec 13, 2007
Iran and Russia have resolved all disputes holding up construction of the Islamic republic's first nuclear power station at Bushehr, the head of the Russian contractor said on Thursday.
"The difficulties with the Iranian client are resolved and we have an agreement on the timetable for construction," said the head of the Atomstroiexport company, Sergei Shmatko, at a briefing with journalists.
"I will make a more precise announcement on the agreed timetable at the end of December," he said.
"We absolutely intend to complete Bushehr. Accordingly we will certainly fulfil our obligations to deliver fuel" for the power station, he said.
Tehran has complained of repeated delays by Russia in work on the flagship power station at Bushehr, in the south of the country, while Moscow has previously complained of delays in payment.
However Russia earlier refused US calls for the project to be suspended due to Washington's suspicions about Iran's nuclear intentions.
Moscow has generally played a mediating role in the row over Tehran's nuclear ambitions, the subject of intense international scrutiny.
Shmatko said the company had decided not to reveal the sensitive delivery date of the nuclear fuel to be used at Bushehr, although it has already been prepared for delivery.
"As we've already said the fuel will be delivered about half a year before the technological start up of Bushehr.
"As this theme is too politicised we have decided not to announce the date of delivery of fuel. You'll hear of the fact of delivery when it's delivered," Shmatko said.
Washington's concerns about Bushehr were related to its suspicions that Iran was trying to develop a nuclear weapons programme, a charge vehemently denied by Tehran.
However US efforts to isolate Iran have been undercut by a report by the US intelligence community earlier this month that said Iran had halted its nuclear weapons programme in 2003 and that US charges about Tehran's atomic goals had been overblown.
Shmatko said that Russia had been training Iranian staff to operate Bushehr and that a joint enterprise could be set up to manage the plant.
"I don't rule out that to ensure safe exploitation of Bushehr we'll create a joint enterprise with Iran to carry out its exploitation, having in mind our responsibility for building the power unit and guaranteeing its safe use in future," he said.
The plant at Bushehr will have a 1,000 megawatt capacity. Shmatko on Thursday insisted that Russia had overcome the stigma attached to its nuclear industry by the Soviet-era nuclear power station disaster at Chernobyl in 1986.
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France to supply nuclear reactors to Libya: presidency
Paris (AFP) Dec 10, 2007
France signed an agreement Monday to supply "one or more nuclear reactors" to Libya at a ceremony hosted by President Nicolas Sarkozy for visiting Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, the French presidency said.
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