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Talks on Bushehr NPP to continue until April 13 - official

RIA Novosti

09/04/2007 19:54

MOSCOW, April 9 (RIA Novosti) - A current round of negotiations on the construction of Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant to break a stalemate over the project's financing will continue until April 13, Atomstroyexport said Monday.

"A Russian delegation, led by Vladimir Pavlov, the Atomstroyexport official in charge of the Iranian project, is currently discussing the technical aspects of construction at the Bushehr site, while another delegation is conducting talks on the future financing of the project by Iran in Tehran," a company spokesman said.

The $1 billion project being built under a 1995 contract was in jeopardy after Atomstroyexport, the general contractor, said that Tehran had not made any payments for the NPP's 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 that it had received the first payment from Iran, but reiterated that Russia expected future payments on time to avoid further delays in the construction.

"It is positive that our Iraqi partners have overcome the difficulties, but it is a long way from compensating us for the construction needs that have emerged over the [non-payment] period," said Sergei Novikov, an aide to the head of the Russian Nuclear Power Agency.

An Atomstroyexport spokesman said the management of the company's financial department will head for Iran Tuesday to continue talks on financing the Bushehr NPP.

"Talks on Iran's financing of the Bushehr NPP construction will continue Wednesday, April 11," the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani reiterated Monday that the Islamic Republic will not give up its right to civilian nuclear technology and continue to build up its nuclear fuel production capacity.

He said one of the reasons why Iran wanted to produce fuel for nuclear power plants independently was a distrust of European countries regarding the nuclear sphere.

"Even having 20 NPPs, the Iranian nation will not feel independent if we need to rely on nuclear fuel from Europe," Larijani 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.

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