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    » 02/25/2009, 00.00

    IRAN

    Iran starts tests at its Bushehr nuclear plant



    The 1000-megawatt power plant has a billion dollar price tag. Tehran insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes, but the United States and the West fear it might have military spin-offs.
    Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Iran has launched a test run of its first nuclear power plant in the south-western port city of Bushehr. Mohsen Shirazi, a spokesman for Iran's atomic energy agency, said that the test includes injecting "virtual" fuel, made of lead, instead of nuclear fuel, into rods at the plant.

    Sergei Kiriyenko, head of Russia's state nuclear agency Rosatom, visited the plant today, along with his Iranian counterpart, Gholam Reza Aghazadeh.

    Building on the 1000-megawatt power plant started in 1974 by a German company but was not completed because of the Islamic revolution in 1979.

    A Russian Company named "Atomstroyexport" signed a contract to complete the project in 1995, which it did last year for at a cost of about US$ 1 billion

    Kiriyenko said the construction of the plant was now complete and that it was in its pre-commissioning stage.

    Iranian media said Wednesday's event would include testing of all of Bushehr's activities with special computer software.

    Shirazi said that if the tests were successful fuel rods with enriched uranium would be used instead of lead.

    The United States and other Western countries accuse Iran of building nuclear weapons and have called for new sanctions because of Iran’s refusal to allow inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

    Iran, which is the world’s fourth largest oil producer, has insisted all along that its nuclear programme is designed to generate electrical power. 

    Russia has resisted attempts by the West to impose sanctions on Iran, but has also repeatedly urged Tehran to co-operate with the IAEA.

    Iran’s nuclear programme still seems central to its relations with Russia after US President Barack Obama said the United States was prepared to talk to Tehran.

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    See also

    15/04/2010 RUSSIA – IRAN – CHINA
    Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor to start up in August
    The Russian-built plant is right on schedule. For the United States, plans to start up the facility are “premature”. More sanctions against Tehran are on the table.

    27/12/2007 RUSSIA – IRAN
    Tehran need not enriched nuclear fuel, Moscow will supply it
    Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov claims that Russian nuclear fuel supplies for Iran’s nuclear plants would make the latter’s uranium enrichment programme both unnecessary and uneconomical.

    13/03/2009 RUSSIA – IRAN
    Iran “one or two years” from A-bomb, says Russian experts
    The head of a strategic arms research centre at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow says that once Iran gets a nuclear weapon it would be “untouchable” and could broaden its support for groups and movements like Hamas and Hizbollah. His statement contradicts his own government’s official position.

    22/04/2010 IRAN – UNITED STATES – CHINA
    Beijing trying to “water down” sanctions against Tehran
    China has proposed amendments to US-drafted sanctions. The mainland is Iran’s biggest trading partner, and depends on its energy supplies. The United States does not exclude the military option. Turkey offers to mediate.

    16/03/2007 UN - IRAN
    For Teheran, Security Council agreement on new sanctions nothing but "Waste Paper”
    The draft, drawn up in agreement by the “5+1”, will be discussed next week; predicts block on all arms exports from Iran and freeze on financial assistance. Tehran wants to participate in the session.



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