Friday, May 12, 2006

Iran gives Russia ultimatum to complete nuke plant

Times of India:
Iran has for the first time criticised Russia for the delay in completing the joint nuclear power plant in the Gulf port of Bushehr and has given Moscow an ultimatum on the final timetable, ISNA news agency reported on Friday.

Mohammad Saeidi, the deputy of Iran's atomic energy organisation, on Thursday met Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of Russia's nuclear power agency Rosatom, and conveyed Iran's annoyance over the delay.

"Iran has complained to the Russian side for not supplying the nuclear fuel for Bushehr in time and we believe that the Russian side must respect its legal commitments and not only supply the fuel at the earliest but also compensate for the delay," said Saeidi.

"It was agreed that Russia should present the final timetable for starting the Bushehr plant within the next 20 days," he added. READ MORE

Despite the Iranian criticism, no date has yet been fixed, but Saeidi called on Russia "to accelerate the work and even use three shifts per day to compensate for the delay".

Russia had initially promised Iran to start the first 1,000 MW unit of the plant by the beginning of the new millennium, but it has been delayed several times.

Last year, Russia said that all safety measures should be met before starting a testing period of at least three months, which has not yet been effected.

Iran had so far downplayed the differences with Russia over the Bushehr plant, mainly because no other country - with the exception of China - would work with Iran on a nuclear power plant.

The first reactor of the station is almost 90 percent ready, according to the Russian Atomstroieksport company that is carrying out the work. Construction is to be completed by this year.

Kiriyenko said deliveries of Russian fuel to the plant would take place six months before the unit is powered up.