Russia says fuel for Iran NPP insufficient for weapon use
12/12/2007 18:16 MOSCOW, December 12 (RIA Novosti) - Uranium supplied by Russia for the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran will not be enriched to a level capable of producing nuclear weapons, Russian nuclear fuel producer TVEL said on Wednesday.
Russia is currently building the Bushehr plant, which will be Iran's sole nuclear plant on completion, and according to data from the UN watchdog Iran has enriched uranium to a level of 3.7% of U235, insufficient for producing nuclear weapons, which would require enrichment to around 90%.
"Fuel for the Bushehr NPP will not exceed the uranium enrichment level achieved by the Iranians," said Mikhail Solonin, an aide to the company's president.
During a November 26-30 inspection at a Siberian chemical plant, experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency and Russian nuclear specialists checked and sealed nuclear fuel containers set for delivery to Iran.
"Inspection of fuel rod arrays confirmed the enrichment of uranium-235 to lower than 5%, and there have been no complaints about the quality of nuclear fuel and its storage conditions by IAEA inspectors," said Konstantin Grabelnikov, deputy general director of the Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant.
He said the fuel would be dispatched when it was required and the relevant instructions were received.
During his visit to Tehran in October, Russian President Vladimir Putin assured Tehran that Russia would complete the construction of the Bushehr plant. The statement came after repeated delays in the $1 billion project, which Moscow attributed to payment arrears, but Iran blamed on Western pressure.
Western nations suspect Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons. Tehran has insisted it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity, as is its right under the international non-proliferation treaty.
The Islamic Republic is currently subject to two sets of UN Security Council sanctions over its defiance to halt uranium enrichment, needed in both weapons and electricity production. A further round of tougher sanctions has been blocked by Russia and China.
IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said in a report last month that Iran had been truthful, in general, about key aspects of its "nuclear dossier," but noted that Tehran was continuing to work on uranium enrichment, despite persistent international demands to fold the program.
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