IAEA approves Russian nuclear fuel for Iran

Other News Materials 30 November 2007 17:07 (UTC +04:00)

( RIA Novosti ) - The UN nuclear watchdog has approved the quality of Russian nuclear fuel due to be delivered to an Iranian nuclear power plant, a Russian nuclear fuel supplier said on Friday.

The Bushehr plant, currently being built by Russia in the south of Iran, will be the Islamic Republic's sole nuclear power plant upon its eventual completion.

During a November 26-30 inspection at a Siberian chemical plant, experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Russian nuclear specialists checked and sealed nuclear fuel containers set for delivery to Iran.

"Inspection of fuel rod arrays confirmed the enrichment of uranium-235 to lower than 5%, and there have been no complaints about the quality of nuclear fuel and its storage conditions by IAEA inspectors," said Konstantin Grabelnikov, deputy general director of the Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant.

He said the fuel would be dispatched once it was required and the relevant instructions were received.

During his visit to Tehran in October, Russian President Vladimir Putin assured Tehran that Russia would complete the construction of the Bushehr plant. The statement came after repeated delays in the $1 billion project, which Moscow attributed to payment arrears, but Iran blamed on Western pressure.

Western nations suspect Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons. Tehran has insisted it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity, as is its right under the international non-proliferation treaty.

The Islamic Republic is currently subject to two sets of UN Security Council sanctions over its defiance to halt uranium enrichment, needed in both weapons and electricity production. A further round of tougher sanctions has been blocked by Russia and China.

IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said in a report earlier this month that Iran had been truthful, in general, about key aspects of its "nuclear dossier," but noted that Tehran was continuing to work on uranium enrichment, despite persistent international demands to fold the program.