An Iranian lawmaker says the country's first nuclear power plant in southern port of Bushehr faces more delays because of money demands from Russia.
The reformist Aftab daily on Monday quotes Asgar Jalalian, a member of the parliament's special committee on the plant, as saying that Iran has already paid at least twice the expected costs for the 1,000 megawatt plant. Russia's Rosatom is building the facility.
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Jalialian says the committee doubts the plant will come on line by August, as promised.
Moscow and Tehran signed a US$1 billion contract to start building Bushehr in 1995. Its 1999 completion date has been repeatedly pushed back.
In June, Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the plant was finished and could begin generating electricity in August.
"The project is complete, everything is tuned, and now it is a question for the engineers, when they can realistically turn on the switch," RIA quoted Ryabkov as saying.
The Bushehr Nuclear Plant (Photo: Reuters)
"If this happens in the first days of August it will fully correspond with the prognoses and expectations of the Russian and Iranian sides." he said.
The Bushehr plant has faced repeated delays, angering Tehran and fuelling speculation that Moscow has used it as a lever in diplomacy over Iran's nuclear program, which the United States and others say they fear is a front for weapons development.
The 1,000-mw plant had been due to start producing electricity early this year, but those plans were thwarted by what Russia said was a pump problem requiring the removal of nuclear fuel that had just been loaded.
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