Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

Read more

WEB NEWS

Chile: Online mobilization to help Valparaiso fire victims

Read more

ENCORE!

Art, sex, money, memory and manga

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Spat over Iran's UN ambassador hampers thawing relations with US

Read more

FOCUS

China trade deal: Is Taiwan's identity under threat?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Call it a caretaker government'

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Pornography without borders is key benefit of EU, says French MEP

Read more

  • US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism

    Read more

  • Pro-Russia separatists ‘seize’ Ukrainian armoured vehicles

    Read more

  • Acclaimed Belgian conservationist shot in eastern Congo

    Read more

  • France's new PM targets welfare in drive to cut spending

    Read more

  • Rescue effort under way as ferry sinks off S. Korean coast

    Read more

  • Brazil club Mineiro cancel Anelka signing after no-show

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

  • More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria

    Read more

  • New York police disband unit targeting Muslims

    Read more

  • 'Miracle girl' healthy after seven-organ transplant in Paris

    Read more

  • Paris police memo calling for Roma eviction ‘rectified’

    Read more

  • Burgundy digs into France's bureaucratic 'mille-feuille'

    Read more

  • French court drops ‘hate speech’ case against Bob Dylan

    Read more

  • Algeria rights crackdown slammed ahead of election

    Read more

  • Iraq closes notorious Abu Ghraib jail over security fears

    Read more

  • Berlusconi sentenced to community service for tax fraud

    Read more

  • In ‘Tom at the Farm’, Xavier Dolan blends Hitchcock and homoeroticism

    Read more

  • US to mark one year since Boston Marathon bombing

    Read more

  • India's Supreme Court establishes third gender category

    Read more

  • Paris hotel that hosted Holocaust survivors shuts for renovation

    Read more

Asia-pacific

First nuclear power plant set to launch next week, says Russia

©

Video by Luke SHRAGO

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-13

Russia will load fuel into a reactor on August 21 at Iran's first nuclear power plant, according to a spokesman for the Russian atomic agency that is building the plant near the southern Iranian city of Bushehr.

 

REUTERS - Russia said on Friday it will begin loading nuclear fuel into the reactor of Iran's first atomic power station on Aug. 21, an irreversible step marking the start-up of the Bushehr plant after nearly 40 years of delays.
 
Russia agreed in 1995 to build the Bushehr plant on the site of a project begun in the 1970s by German company Siemens, but delays have haunted the $1 billion project and diplomats say Moscow has used it as a lever in relations with Tehran.
 
The United States has criticised Moscow for pushing ahead with the Bushehr project at a time when major powers including Russia are pressing Tehran to allay fears that its nuclear energy programme may be geared to develop weapons.
 
But Western fears that the Bushehr project could help Iran develop a nuclear weapon were lessened when Moscow reached an agreement with Tehran obliging it to return spent fuel to Russia. Weapons-grade plutonium can be derived from spent fuel rods.
 
The U.S. State Department said it did not regard Bushehr as a proliferation risk, but emphasized that broader concerns remained about the direction of Iran's nuclear programme.
 
"Russia's support for Bushehr underscores that Iran does not need an indigenous enrichment capability if its intentions are purely peaceful," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement in Washington, noting the Russian fuel deal for Bushehr mirrored a broader fuel swap proposal that Western powers have offered Iran in hopes of halting its domestic enrichment program.
 
Russian and Iranian specialists are to begin loading uranium-packed fuel rods into the reactor on Aug. 21, a process that will take about 2-3 weeks.
 
'Irreversible step'
 
"This will be an irreversible step," Sergei Novikov, a spokesman for Russia's state nuclear corporation, Rosatom, said by telephone. "At that moment, the Bushehr nuclear power plant will be certified as a nuclear energy installation," he said.
 
"That means the period of testing is over and the period of the physical start-up has begun, but this period takes about two and a half months," he said, adding that the first fissile reaction would take place in early October.
 
The head of Iran's nuclear energy agency, Ali Akbar Salehi, said a ceremony inaugurating the plant would be held in late September or early October, when the fuel is moved "to the heart of the reactor."
 
The reactor will be linked to Iran's electricity grid about six weeks later when it is powered up to a level of 50 percent, Salehi told the semi-official Mehr news agency.
 
Diplomats say the Bushehr plant, monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear watchdog, poses little proliferation risk and has no link with Iran's secretive uranium enrichment programme, seen as the main "weaponization" threat, at other installations.
 
The State Department, noting "the world's fundamental concerns with Iran's overall nuclear intentions," said it was important to remember that Iran remained in serious violation of its broader obligations to the IAEA.
 
Russia started the delivery of nuclear fuel to the Bushehr plant in late 2007 and deliveries were completed in 2008.
 
Moscow and Washington agree that importing fuel makes unnecessary Iran's own enrichment project -- the main focus of Western concerns that Tehran is trying to make a nuclear bomb.
 
Iran, the world's fourth-largest crude oil producer, rejects such allegations and says its nuclear programme is aimed only at generating electricity or producing isotopes for medical care.
 
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had said on March 18 that Russia planned to start up the reactor at the Bushehr plant in the summer of 2010.

 

Date created : 2010-08-13

  • NUCLEAR IRAN

    Russia slams fresh EU sanctions against Iran

    Read more

  • NUCLEAR IRAN

    Tehran 'willing' to revive atomic talks with EU after Ramadan

    Read more

  • IRAN

    Ahmadinejad slams US 'cowboy' logic over nuclear talks

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)