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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran blames technical problems for Bushehr NPP delay

RIA Novosti

09/09/2008 15:52 TEHRAN, September 9 (RIA Novosti) - Delays in the completion of the Bushehr nuclear power plant currently being built by Russia in the south of Iran are due to technical problems, a top Iranian official said on Tuesday.

"The existing problems are of a purely technical nature. Taking into account the recent visit to Iran by Atomstroyexport head Leonid Reznikov and the serious measures that are being currently taken, we hope that these problems will be solved soon," said Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of Iran's parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy. .

Atomstroyexport is a Russian nuclear power construction company.

The official added that the parliamentary committee would soon go to Bushehr to study the situation on the ground.

"The sides [Russia and Iran] are doing all they can to complete construction as soon as possible," he said.

Reznikov said on Monday the start-up of the first reactor at Bushehr would be 'irreversible' by February next year.

Russia is building the $1 billion Bushehr facility, Iran's first nuclear power plant, under a 1995 contract. The project is also subject to UN monitoring following Iran's refusal to halt its uranium enrichment program and Western suspicions that Tehran is seeking to build nuclear weapons.

The Bushehr project was originally scheduled to go into operation at the end of 2006, but the launch date has been postponed several times.

Russia delivered its eighth and final nuclear fuel shipment to Bushehr on January 28, supplying a total of 82 metric tons of low-enriched uranium to the plant's light-water reactor.

Russia's nuclear power chief Sergei Kiriyenko said in early June that preparations for the launch of the Bushehr project, including nuclear fuel operations, would start in the fall. He said with confidence that the safety of nuclear fuel storage was not in doubt.

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