MOSCOW Ñ Iran and Russia said they have completed construction of
the nuclear power reactor at Bushehr.
The announcement came less than two months after Iran said Bushehr would
not begin operations until late 2006, three years behind schedule. At the
time, officials said Bushehr Ñ a project estimated at $1 billion Ñ was
delayed by the Russian revision of the original nuclear reactor design,
drafted by the German firm Simens in the 1970s.
But officials from both countries said on Thursday that Russia completed
the construction of Bushehr and the installation of the first 1,000-megawatt
light-water reactor unit. They said the key remaining task was for Russia to
with the nuclear fuel required to operate Bushehr, Middle East Newsline reported.
"We're done," a spokesman for Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency,
known as Rosatom, said. "What remains is for the Russian specialists to
assemble the unit's control and safety equipment."
Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Iran and
assured his hosts that his government would provide the nuclear fuel for
Bushehr, a move that has been delayed because of Iran's refusal to bear the
costs of returning the spent nuclear fuel to Moscow. Earlier, a senior
Iranian official said nuclear fuel deliveries must begin seven months before
the facility was scheduled to launch operations.
"All we need to do now is work out an agreement on sending the spent
back to Russia," the Russian Atomic Energy Agency spokesman was quoted by
Itar-Tass agency as saying.
The spokesman made his remarks after Rosatom director Alexander
Rumyantsev met a key Iranian parliamentarian to discuss Bushehr. Iran has
long complained of delays in the project, and in a briefing in August Mehran
Zia Sheikholeslami, head of technical operations at Bushehr, said Teheran
was pressing Moscow to meet Iran's latest deadline for the start of the
facility's full operations, October 2006.
The Iranian who met Rumyantsev was identified as the chairman of
parliament's Foreign Policy and National Security Committee, Alaeddin
Borudjerdi. Borudjerdi agreed that Russia was required to do little more
than provide the nuclear fuel for Bushehr.
"The [nuclear fuel] agreement is practically ready," Borudjerdi said.
"If the experts agree on a few remaining commercial matters, it could be
Rumyantsev could visit Iran in December to conclude the nuclear fuel
agreement, officials said. They said Russia would first wait for the meeting
of the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Nov.
25, meant to determine whether Teheran was honoring its pledge to
cooperate with the international community regarding Teheran's nuclear