Monday 21 January 2008

Russia delivers more than half fuel for Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant

TEHRAN, (Xinhua) - Russia has delivered more than half of the nuclear fuel for Iran's first atomic power plant in Bushehr after a fourth consignment arrived on Sunday, the official IRNA news agency reported.

"The fourth shipment of fuel, weighing 11 tons, for Bushehr nuclear power plant arrived in Iran Sunday morning," IRNA quoted Iran's Organization for Production and Development of Nuclear Energy as saying in a statement.

Russia has reportedly agreed to provide Iran with a total of 82tons of fuel for the Bushehr plant. The remainder of the fuel, about 40 tons, was scheduled to arrive in four separate shipments in the coming months, the report said.

As the first nuclear power station in Iran, Bushehr had been expected to start operation last September.

But the start-up has been delayed and the project remains under construction due to a dispute between Russian contractors and Iran over the terms of payment.

Russia and Iran reached an agreement late last year that paved the way for the delivery of nuclear fuel.

Iran received its first shipment of nuclear fuel from Russia on Dec. 17.

Iranian officials have said that the Bushehr nuclear power plant would be launched in the summer of 2008, but the plant's Russian constructor has said that it would not go on line until the end of the year.

The United States and some other Western countries have been alleged that Iran may try to develop atomic bombs under a civilian cover.

Iran has denied all the charges, saying it's nuclear program was just aimed at generating electricity and would never abandon its legal rights.

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