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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran says wants to make nuclear fuel due to delayed Bushehr NPP

RIA Novosti

08/04/2007 19:17 TEHRAN, April 8 (RIA Novosti) - Delays in completing the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran prompt the Islamic Republic to produce nuclear fuel on its own, Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Sunday.

The $1 billion project being built under a 1995 contract was in jeopardy after the Russian contractor Atomstroyexport said that Tehran had not made any payments for the NPP construction since mid-January, and that by the fourth quarter of 2006 the project had only received 60% of the required funding.

The company warned that the launch of the NPP and nuclear fuel deliveries could be delayed as a result.

On March 26, Atomstroyexport announced that Tehran had resumed financing of the Bushehr nuclear power plant and it had received the first payment from Iran.

"Almost all financial issues [with Russia] concerning the construction of the Bushehr NPP have been resolved. However, delays in the commissioning of this [nuclear power] plant suggest that Iran must move towards its own nuclear fuel production to avoid similar situations," Mottaki said.

The Bushehr project implemented under the supervision of the UN nuclear watchdog was originally scheduled for commissioning at the end of 2006, but the date has been postponed five times.

The project was originally started by Germany's Siemens in 1975, but work stopped following the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

A Russian delegation will leave for Tehran next week to continue talks on completing the Bushehr NPP in Iran, Atomstroyexport said Friday.

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