Iran’s nuclear body mulling enlargement

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) may undergo a restructuring and development plan following its decision to launch nuclear cooperation with other countries in addition to Russia, Iran’s nuclear chief said.

“The AEOI has stepped into a new phase; with the contract endorsed with Russia whose implementation is due to start in the near future, the AEOI is facing a large volume of work,” AEOI Chief Ali Akbar Salehi said, addressing a ceremony in Tehran on Saturday.

“We hope to ink cooperation contracts with other countries too,” Salehi said, adding that “if so the AEOI should enlarge”.

Salehi revealed in December that that Iran has received proposals from several Asian and European states for nuclear partnership in power plant construction.

“Some European countries have contacted us and demanded us not to be in a rush for signing contracts on the construction of new power plants, saying that they are interested to cooperate with us in building new nuclear power plants,” Salehi said in an interview with Iran-based Arabic-language al-Alam news channel on December 14.

He also mentioned similar proposals by a number of Asian states, and added, “We have welcomed the proposal, but we will not wait for them to see the conditions ripe for taking action in this regard since we act based on our national interests.”

Salehi reminded that Iran now has the Bushehr nuclear power plant and has inked two contracts with Russia for building new power plants.

The AEOI announced in December that the country has started building two new nuclear power plants in the Southern province of Bushehr.

“We have entered the executive phase of the construction of these two nuclear power plants based on the contract signed between Tehran and Moscow in March to construct the plants,” AEOI Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said.

He noted that his recent visit to Russia was also aimed at finalizing the legal, trade and technical aspects of the same agreements with Rosatom.

“We believe that we can sign a relevant protocol and memos as well as its various side contracts in the next few months, and start the construction phase during this (Iranian) year,” he said.

In March, Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation and the AEOI reached an agreement to construct at least two more nuclear power plants in Bushehr.

According to Kamalvandi, the agreement is part of a 1992 deal between the two countries on further nuclear cooperation.

Under the agreement, the new facilities will be built next to the first unit of the Bushehr nuclear power plant and each will have the capacity to produce at least 1,000 megawatts of electricity, Kamalvandi said, adding that the deal also includes the construction of two desalination units.

The Islamic Republic signed the Bushehr contract with Russia in 1995 and the nuclear power plant reached its full capacity by August 2012. It is located about 18 kilometers South of the provincial capital.

By Fars News Agency


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