Iran expects Russia to supply fuel to Bushehr NPP by late March
13/ 03/ 2007
TEHRAN, March 13 (RIA Novosti) - Iran expects Russia to fulfill its obligations and to supply fuel to the Bushehr nuclear power plant by late March as scheduled, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said Tuesday.
The Russian Nuclear Power Agency said Monday the $1 billion Bushehr facility that Russia is building in southern Iran would not go into service in September as planned and nuclear fuel would not be supplied to the NPP in March because the Iranian side had delayed financing by two months.
The AEOI said there are "no existing material or financial difficulties that could affect nuclear fuel supplies."
Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani also said his country had not created any financial difficulties, adding that Tehran was not responsible for the failure of talks with Russia on the NPP construction.
"We disagree with statements that Iran is responsible for the failure of talks on the Bushehr NPP building. The construction is going according to schedule. If the Russian side has any comments regarding the construction it should formulate them clearly. However, Russia has made no official statements to this effect," Ali Larijani said.
He said Russia expected more construction payments than currently envisaged in the contract.
Russian company Atomstroyexport, the project's contractor, said earlier it will continue the partial construction of the Bushehr NPP despite financing difficulties.
Atomstroyexport said the situation that had developed following the two-month delay in payment was critical for the project. There are delays in construction, and experts have begun to leave the site, with suppliers refusing to deliver equipment.
Atomstroyexport said that under these conditions, the company had authorized the project management to take measures going beyond agreements with the Iranian client to secure the financing of work necessary for the project's sustained implementation.
Vladimir Pavlov, the head of Atomstroyexport's department for the construction of Bushehr NPP, told RIA Novosti, "The lack of clear measures in the current conditions may lead to project delays. We cannot wait for Iran's decision any longer. The postponement of financing will have irreversible consequences."
The Bushehr facility has been a cause for international concern, with the United States and other Western countries suspecting that the Islamic Republic is using the project as part of a covert weapons program. Iran has consistently denied that its nuclear program has military goals.
The UN Security Council adopted a resolution in December imposing sanctions against Iran.
Russia, a key economic partner of Iran, has consistently supported the Islamic Republic's right to nuclear power under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and has resisted the imposition of harsh sanctions.