Monday, December 17, 2007

Progress at Bushehr

December 17, 2007: Russia has made its first shipment of nuclear fuel to the Iranian nuclear power plant in the southern city of Bushehr.

Iran contends its plant is strictly for civilian purposes, but the project concerns the United States and contend that the plant could be used to build nuclear weapons.

The American position was weakened earlier this month with the release of a new U.S. intelligence report that concluded Iran had halted its nuclear weapons development program in 2003 and had not resumed it through at least the middle of this year.

Even though Russia has opposed the imposition of further sanctions on Iran, it also repeatedly has urged Tehran to cooperate with efforts to resolve concerns over the nuclear program.

Last week, officials at Atomstroyexport, the Russian contractor for Bushehr, raised the prospect of creating a Russian-Iranian joint venture that would provide greater security at the facility.
This could be an indication that Russia wants to ensure that enriched uranium at the plant is not stolen or diverted. Depleted fuel rods also could be reprocessed into plutonium.

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