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The nuclear power station in Bushehr will be put into operation early in 2008
The nuclear power station in Bushehr, being built in Iran by Russian specialists, will be put into operation early in 2008, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak said in an interview with Itar-Tass in Baku on Thursday after consultations with his Azerbaijan counterpart Araz Azimov. “Russia is fully determined to bring the construction in Bushehr to its logical end by putting into operation the nuclear power station,” Kislyak said. According to the Russian diplomat, “the question which delayed the commissioning of the Bushehr station is of economic and technical rather than of political nature”. The deputy minister had difficulty with replying to the question on a sum of Iran’s debt to the Russian side for the station in Bushehr, since, according to the deputy minister, this is the jurisdiction of economic rather than diplomatic organisations. “The problem is that our Iranian colleagues had shouldered an obligation to pay for services of Russian specialists by definite portions in definite periods. There were some hitches in this respect. Therefore, it turned out that our company had to credit the construction of the station, which was not in its plans,” Kislyak explained. The diplomat expressed conviction that economic bodies will manage to settle the present situation during the ongoing consultations. “In any case, the time of putting the power station into operation, planned for the end of this year, will be shifted to 2008.” The press service of the Russian Atomstroiexport Company explained Itar-Tass that the shift in implementing the project is attributed, above all, to insufficient funding of construction work by the Iranian side. Representatives of the Russian company now continue the negotiations on overcoming the crisis, caused by insufficient funding of the Bushehr station project. The Moscow office of the Atomstroiexport Company stated that “under the present situation, a time for delivering fuel was not fixed so far in connection with the delay with adopting specific decisions on sufficient financing of construction work”. The contract on construction of the first power unit of the Bushehr nuclear power station was signed in Tehran on January 8, 1995. Under this document, Russia shouldered a pledge to supply one reactor of the VVER-1000 type, to train Iranian specialists and to deliver fuel for the reactor. Last December, Russia and Iran agreed that in September 2007, physical commissioning of the Bushehr power station would take place. The Iranian side agreed to finance monthly the station’s construction to the amount of 25 million US dollars, which guaranteed the completion of work at the nuclear plant and a physical commissioning of the first power set in September 2007. However, financing was made with serious hitches which necessitated tense negotiations of the sides, in progress up to this time. Head of the Russian Federal Service for Nuclear Production (Rosatom) Sergei Kirienko reiterated many times that the set periods for commissioning the station would be inevitably shifted to 2008 over insufficient funding.
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