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Russia, Iran to draw up nuclear power plant operation plan by May

RIA Novosti

15/02/2008 17:40 BUSHEHR, February 15 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and Iran will work out a plan for a joint venture to operate the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran within the next two months, a senior Atomstroyexport executive said on Friday.

"A plan for setting up the joint venture will be drawn up within two months, and the composition and number of Russian and Iranian personnel at the Bushehr NPP will be determined," said Gennady Tepkyan, vice president of the Russian nuclear power equipment and service export monopoly.

He said the joint venture was designed to "provide Iranian specialists with expertise in operating the nuclear power plant," adding that around 760 personnel from Russia and Iran would work there.

Atomstroyexport's chief executive had said on Thursday that the joint venture could be established within three months.

Sergei Shmatko praised a recent conference at the Bushehr nuclear power plant attended by his company and subcontractors to discuss the final stage of construction. Iran hopes its first nuclear power plant will be ready for operation in October.

Russia delivered its final fuel shipment to Bushehr on January 28. With the eighth delivery of five metric tons, Russia had supplied a total of 82 metric tons of low-enriched uranium to the light-water nuclear power plant, which has been the focus of international attention over fears that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. Tehran insists it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity.

The first delivery of fuel to the plant arrived on December 16, 2007, following months of delays that Moscow attributed to payment arrears, but which Iran blamed on pressure from Western nations.

Two sets of UN Security Council sanctions are currently in place against Tehran over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.

The five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany have agreed a draft for new measures against the Islamic Republic, strengthening two previous rounds of sanctions but falling short of the punitive steps proposed by Washington.

Tehran plans to hold tenders for the construction of 19 new nuclear reactors and to generate 20,000 megawatts of electricity at its nuclear power plants in the next two decades.

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