Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

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Iran's Nuclear Plant to Get Russian Fuel Next Week

VOA News 13 August 2010

Russia has announced it will begin loading fuel into a reactor at Iran's first nuclear power plant on August 21 despite objections by the United States and other Western powers.

A spokesman for the Russian nuclear agency on Friday said loading the reactor with fuel will be a key step toward starting the power plant in the southern city of Bushehr. But he said the reactor would not be considered operational until September.

Russia has been helping Iran build the plant since the mid-1990s. The project has been delayed several times due to tensions surrounding Iran's nuclear program.

Western powers accuse Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons under the cover of its civilian nuclear program - a charge repeatedly denied by Iranian authorities.

Under the agreement, Iran will be obligated to return to Russia all the depleted uranium used by the plant, to ease concerns that it could be used to make nuclear weapons.

President Dmitri Medvedev said Thursday that although the two countries have an active trade partnership, Russia is not indifferent to the way Iran is developing its nuclear program.

Last month President Medvedev called on Iran to explain its nuclear program and to fully cooperate with the international community.

In June, Russia joined other world powers in approving a fourth set of U.N. sanctions on Iran for its refusal to suspend its uranium enrichment operations.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.



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