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Iran, Russia say Bushehr nuclear power plant no threat

08-21-2010 07:50 BJT

TEHRAN, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- Chief of Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant Mahmoud Jafari said Friday that the country's first nuclear power plant is highly safe, the official IRNA news agency reported.

"The power plant has been built based on the latest safety standards and is self-controlled in nature," Jafari told IRNA.

The method used in the power plant's construction will minimize the chance of any incident there, Jafari was quoted as saying.

"The possibility of any incident in the power plant, whose life span is about 40 years, is very low," said the nuclear official.

"No incident, like the one took place in Chernobyl in April, 1986, will happen there (in Bushehr)," he said, adding "even if the incidents break out, it (the power plant) will be capable of bringing them under its control."

Earlier in August, Jafari said the main tests and inspections of the power plant have been successfully carried out during the last six months.

Double-checks, "installations are completed and we are about to launch the power plant," Jafari was quoted as saying by IRNA.

Meanwhile, Russia's Foreign Ministry said Friday that strict controls on the operation of Iran's new Bushehr nuclear plant would ensure that no fuel was siphoned off for other uses.

Russian-supported Bushehr nuclear plant was close to completion, and the physical launch of the plant was planned for Saturday with fuel being loaded into the tank, said a statement.

"The Bushehr project is unique in terms of providing a strict abidance of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Fuel for the plant will be supplied by Russia on condition of its return," the statement said.

All the plant's operation, including fuel supply and return, would be under the full control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it said.

"The Bushehr project has been a visible example of how Iran could benefit from cooperation with the international community if it would undertake the practical steps to prove its nuclear program is fully peaceful," the statement said.

On Friday, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali-Akbar Salehi said Iran will continue enrichment to produce fuel for both Bushehr nuclear power plant and other power plants to be built in Iran in future, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Speaking to IRNA, Salehi turned down the U.S. call on Iran to suspend enrichment once Russia supplies fuel to Bushehr facility.

Last Friday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said "Russia is providing the fuel (for Bushehr plant) and taking the fuel back out," which means that Iran does not need its own enrichment program.

"That is a wrong logic," said Salehi, quoting Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's recent remarks that fuel cycle is natural right of Iranian nation, said IRNA.

Besides, Iran's IAEA envoy Ali-Asghar Soltanieh said Friday in Vienna that with the operation of Bushehr nuclear power plant, Iran's fuel cycle will practically be completed.

Soltanieh told IRNA that since all nuclear fuel cycle phases, including uranium exploration and extraction, purification, transfer and uranium enrichment, and construction of fuel rods for reactors and for the research reactor took place in Iran, the operation of Bushehr nuclear power plant will place Iran among few countries worldwide to be skilled in full fuel cycle.

He said Bushehr nuclear power plant is totally exceptional in Iran's nuclear history because it goes on after almost three decades of delay, according to IRNA.

Construction of the plant started in 1975 by several German companies. However, work halted when the United States imposed an embargo on hi-tech supplies to Iran after the 1979 revolution. Russia signed a contract with Iran to complete the construction in 1998.

The Russian Atomic Energy Corporation said that the launch of the Bushehr plant in Iran has been set for Aug. 21.

Western powers suspect Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons despite Tehran's claims that its nuclear program is intended only for generation of civilian energy.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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