Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Russia begins fuel deliveries for Iran's nuclear power plant

Russia’s AtomStroyExport Corporation started the fuel delivery for the first reactor of Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran. Russian specialists are building it in Iran under the control of the IAEA. It is worthy of note that Iran and Russia agreed to complete the construction of the plant on December 13.

First fuel delivery would include 163 major and 17 reserve assemblies with U-235 isotope enrichment up to 3,62 percent, Interfax reports.

IAEA inspectors sealed fuel assemblies meant for the Bushehr nuclear power plant at the end of November. Thus, the agency practically gave the green light to fuel deliveries to the destination. Until recently, Russia formally could not dispatch fuel because IAEA’s approval was required for it.

The delivery is supposed to be held in several stages, which would take two months. The fist stage is to be completed on December 16: fuel containers sealed by IAEA inspectors had been delivered to the destination and placed into a special storage (insured by the IAEA beforehand).

The fuel was produced by the Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrate Plant (NZKHK), a part of TVEL state public corporation. The power or the first Iranian nuclear power plant would total one thousand megawatt. It would use water-moderated power reactor.

“The uranium levels of the fuel would not exceed the achieved standards,” Mikhail Solonin, a spokesman for TVEL said. Iranian specialists managed to produce the uranium with U-235 isotope enrichment on 3,62 percent level using rotary cascades. These enrichment levels prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons.

All fuel delivered to Iran would be controlled by the IAEA during its stay on the country’s territory. Besides, Iran attested in written form that the delivered fuel would be used only at the Bushehr nuclear power plant.

Spent nuclear fuel from Bushehr would be returned to Russia according to the agreement between Russia and Iran. “The Russian-Iranian partnership clearly demonstrates the effective and secure possibility to realize national projects in the nuclear energy sector in perfect accordance with rights and obligations of the states,” a statement from Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Thus, Iran can be quite sure that Bushehr nuclear power plant would be provided with nuclear fuel enough for normal operation of the plant, Russian officials say.

Originally, the plant should have been launched in September 2007 with fuel deliveries slated for March of that year.

However, the plans were frustrated because of Iran’s underfunding of the project and equipment delivery delays.

Translated by Ksenia Sedyakina