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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia says will complete Bushehr project 'in near future'

RIA Novosti

13:37 08/03/2011

MOSCOW, March 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will complete the nuclear reactor in Iran's Bushehr in the near future, the Russian ambassador in Tehran said Tuesday, two weeks after operation of the long-anticipated facility was delayed.

Iran had to unload fuel from the reactor at the Bushehr power plant in late February, the latest delay to hit the project. The giant plant was meant to start feeding electricity into the national grid in the same month.

The fuel was provided by Russia, which built the plant.

Russia said a breakdown in one the reactor's cooling pumps necessitated the removal of 163 fuel rods from its core.

Observers say the Stuxnet computer virus which Iran previously admitted had infected the reactor in September may be responsible.

Envoy Alexander Sadovnikov said it was better to solve the problem now in order to prevent similar setbacks happening in the future.

"We will finish the project in the near future," Sadovnikov said in an interview with Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency. "It is as much an objective for us as it is for Iran."

Iran is subject to a series of UN Security Council sanctions over its refusal to stop uranium enrichment.

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