Iran, Russia stress launch of Bushehr N-plant in set time
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in a phone call pointed to the significance and importance of expansion of mutual ties and operation of Bushehr power plant in a predetermined time, ISNA reported.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran hails expansion of bilateral ties in all domains. There are many fields to be worked on mutually. Launch of Bushehr plant in set time serves interests of the two countries." Ahmadinejad said.
Medvedev on his part highlighted mutual relations and said his country is firm to run the nuclear facility in the predetermined time.
Iran had to unload fuel from the reactor at the Bushehr power plant in late February, the latest delay to hit the project. The giant plant was meant to start feeding electricity into the national grid in the same month.
Russia said a breakdown in one the reactor's cooling pumps necessitated the removal of 163 fuel rods from its core.
Observers say the Stuxnet computer virus which Iran previously admitted had infected the reactor in September may be responsible.
In October 2010, Iran began loading uranium fuel rods into the core of its first nuclear power plant, a process considered as the last major step to start up the long-delayed Russia-built reactor.
Russia signed an agreement worth 1 billion U.S. dollars in 1995 to take over the project. Its completion, first scheduled for 1999, was postponed several times by mounting technological and financial challenges and interruptions under pressures from the United States.
Under a deal between Moscow and Tehran in 2005, Russia will provide nuclear fuel for Iran and take back all spent reactor fuel, and the IAEA, the UN nuclear watchdog, will be able to verify that no fuel or waste is diverted elsewhere.