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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia says nuclear fuel can be shipped to Iran's NPP in 3 days

RIA Novosti

01/06/2007 13:52

NOVOSIBIRSK, June 1 (RIA Novosti) - Fuel for Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant can be shipped from West Siberia within three days, an expert at the Novosibirsk nuclear fuel production facility said Friday.

Russia's Atomstroyexport is building the Bushehr facility, Iran's first nuclear power plant, under a 1995 agreement in the south of the Islamic Republic and is to supply fuel six month prior to the physical launch.

"The fuel is being stored in transport containers and can be sent to the Bushehr NPP within three days after an order," Alexander Ustyugov said.

The $1-billion project, implemented under the supervision of the UN nuclear watchdog, was threatened with suspension after the Russian contractor said in February that Tehran had only covered 60% of the required funding by the fourth quarter of 2006, and had completely stopped payment in mid-January.

A source in the Russian Nuclear Power Agency said last week that Tehran had paid only $20 million since the beginning of the year, although the contract stipulates $25 million monthly payments to complete the project on schedule.

"The project has become unprofitable for us," the source said, adding that the completion of the plant now depends entirely on the Iranian side, and that the key remaining issue is the guaranteed financing for its construction.

The construction of the Bushehr NPP was expected to be completed July 8, 1999, but the deadline has been revised five times since then.

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