Azerbaijan, Baku, May 5 /Trend, T.Konyayeva/
Safety of the Bushehr nuclear power plant causes concern in the context of global nuclear security as Iran is not willing to be party to important conventions regulating nuclear activities, said permanent French ambassador to the IAEA Florence Mangin.
"Our concern in Iran and with Bushehr, is not a question of the reactor design, said Mangin. It is a matter of global safety environment, regulatory infrastructure and safety culture. Iran is the only country in the world ready to start a NPP without being a contracting party to the CNS."
Bushehr is the first nuclear power plant in Iran and throughout the Middle East. Bushehr nuclear power plant began to be built by the German Kraftwerk Union concern in 1974, but in 1980 it terminated the contract because of Western German government's accession to the U.S. embargo on supplying equipment to Iran.
Aug.25, 1992 Russia and Iran signed an agreement to continue constructing nuclear power plant. In January 1995, a contract to complete the works on the first power unit was signed, and in 1998 construction management was transferred to AtomStroyExport.
The Bushehr plant was originally scheduled to be completed in 1999 but the work has repeatedly been postponed in connection with financial and technological difficulties, and also because of several suspensions of construction under U.S. pressure.
To include the Bushehr NPP in Iran's power grid had been planned by the end of 2010. In late February 2011, because of a technical problem with one of the cooling pumps, Russia demanded to unload fuel from the reactor in Bushehr, and the Iranian side agreed with this requirement for security reasons.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the problem of Russian-built nuclear reactor in Bushehr is only technological. On Friday, April 8, AtomStroyExport announced loading nuclear fuel into the reactor in NPP.
Mangin said the terrible accident that occurred in Japan at Fukushima Daiichi power plant will of course have implications on the safety of NPP and the entire community will have to benefit from the lessons learnt.
"We have to strengthen the safety regime, by continuing to improve safety worldwide, but this does not mean that we need to reinvent the wheel, she said. The safety Convention for example, and the assistance and notification conventions will have to be reviewed in light of what occurred in Japan."
Mangin believes it is all the more difficult to understand why Iran is not willing to be party to these important Conventions. On a regular basis, parties to the CSN provide reports and undergo peer reviews of their safety performance.
"At a time when sharing best practices on nuclear safety is of utmost importance, this does not seem to be a good situation, she said. - And Iran contradicts itself, by stating that safety is a priority and that it should access any information on this topic without discrimination, and not joining the most important instruments to do so."
Mangin said that the IAEA provides recommendations based on good practices in this area and hope that Member state take due benefits from them.
"If security at these facilities was not reliable and was not taking into account IAEA recommendations, this would be another matter of concern," she said.