|Russia finishes Iran nuke plant
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's top nuclear authority has finished construction of an atomic power plant in Iran -- a project the United States fears Tehran could use to make nuclear arms.
"We're done. All we need to do now is work out (with the Iranians) the agreement on sending spent fuel back to Russia," said a spokesman for Russia's Atomic Energy Agency (RosAtom) on Thursday.
To allay U.S. concerns, Russia has promised not to start up the Bushehr plant in southern Iran until Tehran guarantees to return to Russia all spent nuclear fuel, which can be used in making weapons.
The signing of the document has been delayed repeatedly in past years, raising speculation that Moscow, under severe U.S. pressure to ditch the project, could shelve it until the U.N. nuclear agency declares Iran's nuclear programme peaceful.
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of the Iranian Parliament's Foreign Affairs and National Security Commission, was in Moscow on Thursday for talks with Russian nuclear and foreign affairs officials.
RosAtom head Alexander Rumyantsev is due to visit Iran in late November, but industry sources have said signing of the key document could be delayed again.
The 1,000-megawatt, $800 million (445 million pounds) Bushehr plant is due to be launched in the next year or so and reach full capacity in 2006.
The RosAtom spokesman said work still remained to be done on assembling some security and control equipment.
Russia has been building the Bushehr plant since the early 1990s. Both Moscow and Tehran maintain Iran's nuclear programme is peaceful.
Russia finishes Iran nuke plant
Thursday October 14, 12:23 PM