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Russia, Iran agree deal on Bushehr NPP stable financing

RIA Novosti

23/04/2007 11:18 MOSCOW, April 23 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and Iran have signed a deal to provide stable financing for the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in the south of the Islamic Republic, the project's chief contractor said Sunday.

Russian and Iranian nuclear officials held a new round of talks in Moscow April 21-22 to address financial problems which have hampered the completion of the NPP's construction.

"A new round of Russian-Iranian talks on the completion of the Bushehr NPP construction came to an end in Moscow today [April 22]. The negotiations were held in an intensive regime. As a result, the parties signed a protocol defining a set of measures to provide stable financing for the Bushehr NPP project," said Irina Yesipova, a spokeswoman for Atomstroyexport.

The $1 billion project being built under a 1995 contract was put in jeopardy after Atomstroyexport 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.

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 construction delays.

Yesipova also said the plan approved in Moscow will help resolve some issues related to the financing of Iran's first nuclear power plant, if it is implemented successfully.

"A new round of talks on the Bushehr NPP is expected to be held in Tehran in May," Yesipova said.

Iran earlier said only 8% of the work remains to be done on the Bushehr NPP, and that "this year its construction will be completed."

The Bushehr project implemented under the supervision of the UN nuclear watchdog was originally expected to be commissioned 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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