Iran reactor to be fueled Aug. 21

ByJPOST.COM STAFF, ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 13, 2010 13:40

Report: Russia will load fuel into nuclear reactor at Bushehr station.




THE BUSHEHR nuclear plant in southern Iran will so

THE BUSHEHR nuclear plant in southern Iran 311. (photo credit:AP)

Russia has announced that it will start loading uranium fuel into the nuclear reactor of the Bushehr nuclear power station in Iran on August 21, a spokesman for Russia's state atomic cooperation reportedly told Reuters Friday.

According to the report, the spokesperson was quoted as saying that the addition of fuel will be crucial to initiating the country's first nuclear reactor, although it will not become operational.

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In a telephone conversation Rosatom spokesman Sergei Novikov said, "The fuel will be loaded on Aug 21. This is the start of the physical launch (of the reactor)."


"From that moment the Bushehr plant will be officially considered a nuclear-energy installation," he told The Associated Press.

The United States has called for Russia to delay the startup until Iran proves that it's not developing nuclear weapons. Russian officials said that the latest UN sanctions against Iran won't affect the Bushehr project.

Novikov said that Rosatom chief Sergei Kiriyenko will travel to Bushehr in southern Iran for the Aug. 21 ceremony, which will also be attended by the Iranian Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi, who also heads the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

Moscow has said that the Bushehr project has been closely supervised by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency. Russian officials said that Iran had signed a pledge to ship all the spent uranium fuel from Bushehr back to Russia for reprocessing, excluding a possibility that any of it could used to make nuclear weapons.

On March 18, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced that his country planned on starting up the Bushehr reactor by the summer of 2010.

Russia signed a $1 billion contract in 1995 for building the Bushehr plant, but it has dragged its feet on completing the project for years.

Moscow has insisted that the Bushehr project is essential for persuading Iran to cooperate with the IAEA and fulfill its obligations under international nuclear nonproliferation agreements.

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