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Russia, Iran agree to sign spent n-fuel protocol soon


Moscow, Oct 29, Itar-Tass/ACSNA/IRNA -- Russia and Iran have agreed to
sign a protocol on the return of spent nuclear fuel from the Bushehr 
nuclear power plant in the near future, a Russian Atomic Energy 
official said after bilateral talks on the issue on Wednesday. 
The negotiators reportedly discussed progress in the construction 
of Bushehr`s first reactor and agreed a detailed construction 
Russian specialists have worked on the power plant`s first unit 
since 1995. The completion rate is nearing 80-85 percent. 
Under the newly-agreed schedule the reactor is to go operational 
in the first months of 2005. About 1,500 Russian specialists are 
building the power plant. Over one hundred Russian enterprises are 
involved in the project in the capacity of providers. The first 
reactor`s estimated cost is nearly one million dollars. 
Likely cooperation in the construction of a second reactor at 
Bushehr was another issue discussed. It was agreed to form a working 
group of officials from the Russian and Iranian foreign ministries, 
Russian Atomic Energy Ministry and the Iranian Atomic Energy 
Organization for more detailed work on the subject. 
Russian Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev has spoken 
highly of Iran`s decision to sign a supplementary protocol with the 
International Atomic Energy Agency. He believes this will help advance
Russian-Iranian cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear power. 
An Itar-Tass correspondent reports from Tehran that Iran within 
days will hand over to the IAEA leadership an official declaration of 
the intention to put its signature to the supplementary protocol to 
the Nuclear Arms Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran`s representative at 
the IAEA Ali Akbar Salehi said. 
The draft message is being studied by Iranian officials concerned.
It will be presented to the IAEA after being signed by the Secretary 
of the Supreme National Security Council Hassan Rowhani. 

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