Russia delivers Iran 30 tonnes of nuclear fuel: Report

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Tehran, May 11: Russia has delivered 30 tonnes of fuel for Iran's first nuclear power plant in the Gulf port city of Bushehr, Tehran-based Arabic-language Al-Alam television reported today (May 12).

"Thirty tonnes of nuclear fuel has been delivered to Bushehr plant from Russia" on May 4, 8, and 11," Hamid Qaemi, the spokesman for the Iranian atomic energy organisation, told Al-Alam.

No additional information was given. In 2008, Moscow delivered "82 tonnes of fuel enriched by 1.6 to 3.6 percent along with supplementary equipment for the Bushehr nuclear plant."

News of the delivery of a new batch of fuel comes a day after Russia's nuclear export agency, Atomstroyexport, said it had successfully completed a vital pre-launch test at Bushehr.

The Russian statement confirms Iranian media reports that the plant had been reloaded with nuclear fuel and was being prepared for a start-up in July.

Atomstroyexport said on Sunday it had launched "a self-supporting chain reaction" in the "active zone" of the plant's first reactor.

The test brought "the nuclear steam-generating plant to the minimal controlled power level," the Russian agency said.

The plant's connection to Iran's electricity grid was initially scheduled for the end of 2010 but this has been postponed several times due to technical problems.

Russian nuclear fuel rods had to be removed from Bushehr in February because of internal wear and tear that Russia blamed on the Iranian engineers' insistence on working with outdated parts.

The plant's construction started in the 1970s with the help of German company Siemens. However, Siemens left after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

In the early 1990s, Iran sought help for the project after being turned away by Siemens over concerns about nuclear proliferation.

In 1994, Russia agreed to complete the plant and provide the fuel, with the supply deal committing Iran to returning the spent fuel. A deal was finally signed in 1995. 

AFP

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