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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Bushehr power plant to become operational after November

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Moscow, March 12, IRNA
Iran-Russia-Atomstroiexport
Russian Atomstroiexport official said on Monday that Bushehr nuclear power plant would not become operational sooner than November.

"Considering Iran's two-month delay in funding construction of Bushehr nuclear power plant and unreadiness of peripheral equipment by a third country, the power plant would not become operational sooner than November," the company official told Monday edition of Kommersant daily on condition of anonymity.

The official said that even if Iran reimburses the overdue financing, Bushehr nuclear power plant will not join Iran's power grid before 2008.

The source claimed that the Russian company had set the timetable for operation of Bushehr power plant based on mathematical and not political calculations and due to the same reason, part of the power plant's works might be halted.

Based on an Iran-Russia deal, Bushehr nuclear power plant should have been put into operation by December and get connected to the national power grid by November the same year.

Recently, an aide to Russian Rosatom chief Sergei Novikov said it abides by its commitment for fuel shipment and completion of Bushehr nuclear power plant.

Novikov told reporters that under an agreement signed last September Iran was due to pay Russia 25 million dollars (19 million euros) a month for the Bushehr project.

But, he said, "in the fourth quarter of 2006, the Iranians failed to pay 60 percent of the sums foreseen by the agreement. In January they paid only 5.1 million dollars, or 20 percent of the sum anticipated, and in February they paid nothing."

Novikov said that however, Russia is committed to fulfill all its obligations considering time of construction and delivery of nuclear fuel to the powerplant.

"If the lack of finance could effect the project calendar, it will also affect the date of sending nuclear fuel," Novikov said.

He said the first fuel consignment will be shipped to Iran six months before the compound's physical operation.

Iran's Atomic Energy Organization has reportedly denied Russia's claim of payment delay and said Iran has acted on all its financial commitments regarding the power plant.

Russia's Atomstroiexport project supervisor Vladimir Pavlov also claimed that late payments by Iran might delay the commissioning of Bushehr nuclear power plant.

"Certainly such issues affect the completion date," said Pavlov in an interview with reporters recently.

The project supervisor said that under a contract signed with a third country on delivery of the cooling equipment for the security system of the compound the shipment process has been postponed to late 2007.

He said that last September the two sides agreed on a new timetable under which Russia would deliver fuel to the power station this March, in order to start operation in September and produce energy in November.

He added that based on the schedule, the nuclear fuel for the power plant should be sent to the facility six months prior to its operation.

Head of Russian Rosatom Federal Agency for Nuclear Power Sergei Kiriyenko has also claimed that Bushehr nuclear power plant would be completed on schedule if no financial problem arose in the process.

Main contractor of the project Atomstroiexport announced late last year that about 95 percent of operations related to construction of the power plant had been implemented.

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