IAEA to inspect Russian fuel storage at Bushehr on regular basis

By RIA Novosti

Bushehr (Iran) : The UN nuclear watchdog will inspect the facilities and conditions under which Russian nuclear fuel is being stored at Bushehr, southern Iran, on a permanent basis, a nuclear safety official said Thursday.

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“International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors have twice visited to check the conditions of fuel storage since deliveries started to the Bushehr nuclear power plant,” Sergei Titov told journalists.

He said IAEA representatives would inspect Iran’s NPP once every few months.

Russia delivered the final fuel shipment to Bushehr on January 28. With the eighth delivery of five metric tons, Russia has supplied a total of 82 metric tons of low-enriched uranium to the light-water nuclear power plant, which has been the focus of international attention over fears Iran is developing nuclear weapons.

The first delivery to the plant, being built by Russian contractor Atomstroyexport, arrived on December 16, 2007 following months of delays that Moscow attributed to payment arrears, but which Iran blamed on pressure from Western nations.

Western nations fear Iran seeks to produce nuclear weapons, but Tehran insists it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity.

Two sets of UN Security Council sanctions are currently in place against Tehran over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.

The five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany have agreed a draft for new measures against the Islamic Republic, strengthening two previous rounds of sanctions but falling short of the punitive steps proposed by Washington.

Tehran plans to hold tenders for the construction of 19 new nuclear reactors and to generate 20,000 megawatts of electricity at its NPPs in the next two decades.